Wednesday 18 September 2019

Honohan's wife takes €400k hit as CRH slides

Breifne O'Brien, Stokes Bros hit by profits warning

Central Bank governor
Patrick Honohan. Photo: Tom Burke
Central Bank governor Patrick Honohan. Photo: Tom Burke

Nick Webb and  Shane Ross

Central Bank governor Patrick Honohan's family wealth took a savage hit as cement titan CRH saw its share price collapse last week after a catastrophic profits warning.

Honohan's wife Iseult is listed as owning 17,320 shares. At the peak of the market, these shares would have been worth up to €606,000 but were last week worth just €208,000.

CRH has seen its share price crumble from €35 to just over €12 as it struggled with the economic slowdown. But the falls have been most dramatic in the last two months, with billions wiped off the value of shares in frightful US trading conditions.

Former bankers have suffered, with Fintan Drury -- ex-Anglo Irish director and pal of Taoiseach Brian Cowen -- losing thousands on his stake which is now worth €6,300. Former Irish nationwide chairman Michael Walsh also owns a small stake in CRH.

Rogue financier Breifne O'Brien, who lost €26m of investors' money on the markets, holds a small number of CRH shares. Earlier this year the county sheriff sold close to €200,000 worth of O'Brien's shares in various companies including CRH.

The ghost of Charlie Haughey's bagman Des Traynor -- who ran the private Ansbacher bank out of CRH's offices -- continues to haunt the cement company. Traynor's widow Mary is listed as holding a massive 232,371 shares worth €2.8m. The shares were valued at nearly €8.1m three years ago.

The Stokes brothers, who saw their Bang restaurant and Residence club implode last year, are also listed as small shareholders. Aer Arann boss Padraig O'Ceidigh's family have shares worth just under €7,000. Aer Arann went into examinership last week.

Few politicians seem to have shown confidence in the construction giant with only Richard Bruton (1,279) and Senator Paul Coghlan (824 shares) surfacing as having bought into the CRH story. Former Green Party TD Roger Garland holds 47 shares.

Paddy Power boss Patrick Kennedy -- a director of Elan and Bank of Ireland -- and his family holds about 16,300 shares, worth nearly €197,000. Former C&C chairman Tony O'Brien has shares worth €34,000 in his name.

Michael O'Leary's deputy at Ryanair, Michael Cawley, made one of his rare errors when he and his wife -- Greystones town councillor and environmentalist Evelyn -- bought 2207 CRH shares.

Other prominent businessmen to buy stock included Dr Morgan Crowe of DCC and the McCann family of Fyffes fame whose Balkan investments vehicle holds 62,000 shares, a loss from peak to trough of €1.4m. K Club owner Michael Smurfit is also on the share register.

Former Ireland outhalf and current Connacht coach Eric Elwood has failed to escape the fallout, with his shares worth €2,700. Outgoing Magners League chairman John Hussey has almost €23,000 in CRH shares.

Joe Moran, the former IWP boss who paid €181m to buy DCC's stake in building firm Manor Park in December 2007, owns almost €204,000 in CRH shares. Other developers have also been hit. Michael Cotter of Park Developments has €39,000 worth of shares (once valued at over €110,000) and, intriguingly, Bovale boss Michael Bailey and his wife Caroline both hold a mere three shares each.

Former Iseq chairman David Kingston and his family have a stake of €386,000 in the cement company. Peter Lynch of listed private equity group Prime Active owns 6,084 shares, worth €73,000.

Jury's Hotel and NTR zillionaire Ann Roche is listed as owning shares worth €1.2m three years ago, which now have a value of just €420,000. The Sisk family are also major shareholders, with a stake worth €128,000.

Legendary restaurateur Roly Saul owns 3,750 shares worth about €45,000. Gemma and Michael Maughan, who own the Citroen franchise in Ireland, have about €620,000 worth of shares, which would have been worth as much as €1.8m three years ago. Hotelier Jim McGettigan is a small shareholder.

Among the academics who took a pounding were two of Ireland's top historians -- Yeats biographer Prof Roy Foster (2,703 shares held jointly with his wife Aisling), and Prof Tom Garvin (9,784 shares), whose recent book on Sean Lemass was a bestseller, both suffered five-figure losses.

Sunday Independent

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