Saturday 21 April 2018

NTR to lay off one-fifth of head office staff in 'isolated' move

Peter Flanagan

NTR is to lay off about a fifth of its head office staff, the Irish Independent has learnt. The move follows a strategic review carried out last month.

The number of staff to go could be as high as 10 and will be a mixture of voluntary and compulsory redundancies. About 45 people are thought to be employed at its head office in Sandyford, Dublin.

Discussions with staff have not yet been completed, but the process was described as a "small realignment in line with reviews carried out by other businesses in the industry".

Details of what redundancy package would be offered were not released.

The Dublin-based company said the redundancies were an isolated move and were not part of a wider restructuring of its business.

The reduction in headcount comes three months after the company reported a 10-fold increase in losses to some €210.6m in the 12 months to the end of March 2010.

The company blamed impairment charges from its US-based solar business and Greenstar waste management operations for that loss.

At that time, the company, controlled by its founder and chairman Tom Roche, took a writedown of €147m in goodwill on the waste and solar businesses. It retains goodwill of €167m on its balance sheet.

NTR, which trades on the grey market, has seen its share price fall by more than two-thirds since the end of September amid continuing struggles.

The company is trading at about 63c compared with €1.95 on September 29.

The company, which was founded in 1978 to manage Ireland's toll roads, has long diversified into an energy and waste management as well.

Those businesses have been hit by the economic downturn, however, particularly in North America, where NTR has substantial operations.


When announcing its last annual results, Mr Roche admitted his company's diversification had been done "in the context of unprecedented macroeconomic and capital markets dislocation in our principal markets, most notably the United States".

"These conditions have, to varying degrees, had significant implications for certain parts of our businesses," he added.

"Market conditions for our renewable energy development businesses remain challenging. While our view on the medium-term outlook for these businesses remains positive, the combination of current capital market conditions, uncertainty in the US utility sector with respect to near-term power demand and the short-term loss of momentum on sectoral policy initiatives, means these businesses face difficult yet different near-term challenges."

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