Tuesday 20 March 2018

Enright blow as Syncreon's $1bn sale is 'off the table'

Family firm sued by ex-US Hall of Fame footballer

PLAY BALL: Syncreon is rowing with NFL star Willie Lanier
PLAY BALL: Syncreon is rowing with NFL star Willie Lanier
Nick Webb

Nick Webb

The $1bn sale of Michael and Brian Enright's fast growing logistics group Syncreon has stalled.

Last May, it emerged that Syncreon was working with JPMorgan Chase and Morgan Stanley to sell the company. Deutsche Post was linked as a possible buyer. The rapid expansion of the company and its booming business saw a valuation north of $1bn place on the logistics group.

Syncreon is owned by father and son Michael and Brian Enright of Limerick, with US private equity group Gennx360 holding a majority stake. The Sunday Independent Rich list pegged the Enrights' wealth at close to €230m last March.

Details of the stalled process emerged in court documents obtained by the Sunday Independent. Syncreon is embroiled in a bitter legal row with former US chief executive Willie Lanier in a dispute over his options and his exit from the company. Mr Lanier is a famous American footballer, having been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1986. The ex-Kansas City chiefs player was the first black middle linebacker in pro football history. He was a Superbowl winner in 1969.

The documents suggest that the attempts to sell Syncreon have been unsuccessful.

"In any deposition of a representative from defendants, no witness will be required to disclose who the bidders were in the recent, unsuccessful attempt to sell Syncreon, or what the valuation of Syncreon was. The court makes this ruling based on defendants' representation that there was no successful bidder and that the plan to sell Syncreon is off the table," according to the court opinion released earlier this month.

Syncreon finance chief Carine Van Landschoot is to make a deposition to the Michigan court this month. The firm is to produce a series of documents related to the proposed sale. These include "under a protective order, defendants must supply the 'confidential information memo' issued in connection with its recent attempt to sell Syncreon", according to court documents.

The stalling of the $1bn sales process is a major speedbump in the extraordinary success of the Enrights. The creation and expansion of syncreon is one of the most impressive but least-known business successes of recent years. From humble beginnings in as a Galway haulage firm, Syncreon now has around 12,000 employees and operations in 25 countries.

The company was formed in 2007 after a blitzkrieg of mergers led by the Enrights' Walsh Western International. The firm, which specialised in logistics for technology companies, expanded into the automotive sector through a €310m buyout of TDS Logistics.

Syncreon has grown enormously over the past three years following a series of acquisitions. In February 2012, it bought Spanish hi-tech logistics group Compusar, which had revenues of around €41m. A year earlier, it spent close to €25m buying NAL Worldwide Holdings, which supplied the telecoms sector.

US private equity group GennX360 is the biggest shareholder in the firm having increased its stake to become a "majority shareholder" in January 2012. GennX360 had first bought a 33 per cent stake in the company in 2009.

Last year, Syncreon raised $100m (€75m) through a corporate bond. The proceeds of the bond were to "support a dividend to the company's owners and will fund general corporate purposes".

Syncreon and GennX360 did not comment.

Sunday Independent

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