Wednesday 21 March 2018

IFG now top SIPP provider in UK after €50m share placing

Joe Brennan

IFG Group has completed a €50m share placing, which sees a vehicle led by City financier Edmund Truell acquire a 17.5pc stake in the financial services giant as it looks to complete the acquisition of a UK pensions business.

The group announced early last month it was acquiring James Hay, a provider of self-invested personal pensions (SIPP) in Britain, from Spain's Santander for £35m (€39m).

UK activist shareholder Promethean Investments, which rattled IFG management almost two years ago by signalling its intention to push for the group to be split up to unlock shareholder value, did not participate in the fundraising.

Promethean, headed by Peter Burt, former Bank of Scotland chief and ex-chairman of ITV, is currently in the process of winding itself up and selling off investments in an orderly fashion. Its stake is diluted from 5.9pc to 3.5pc as a result of the share placement.

One51, the Philip Lynch-led investment firm, which owns 7.4pc of IFG, is believed to have followed its money.


IFG directors, who own a combined 13pc, and the family of chairman Joe Moran, which holds 7pc of the stock, also agreed to forego their rights to participate in the fundraising. This was in order to allow Mr Truell's specially-formed Fiordland vehicle, which is also backed by other investors, to come on board.

The combined 20pc stake held by management and the Moran family will be diluted by 39pc to about 12pc.

Fiordland is entitled to appoint a director to IFG. The hope is Mr Truell's expertise in the areas of pensions and trustee and corporate services will help the group further develop its UK and international business.

Industry observers believe that Mr Truell should be able to bring other deals to the table for IFG.

IFG chief executive Mark Bourke said: "We are very pleased with the strong support from our shareholders in the (share placement) which, together with the funds being provided by a new investor, allows IFG to complete the James Hay acquisition and puts the company in a strong financial position."

The deal catapults IFG into the position of number one SIPP provider in the UK.

Irish Independent

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