Saturday 18 November 2017

One51 stake in ICG under review as Lynch ousted

SACKED: Philip Lynch
SACKED: Philip Lynch
Nick Webb

Nick Webb

Maverick deal maker and One51 boss Philip Lynch was ousted on Friday, after a titanic boardroom battle which threatens to split the investment company he founded.

It is thought that One51's 12.5 per cent stake in Eamonn Rothwell's listed ferry company ICG may now be reviewed by management. Market sources believe that buyers may be circling for the €50m stake.

The move to oust the One51 boss is almost unprecedented in Irish corporate history. Mr Lynch was one of the most highly thought of executives in the country, having transformed the Irish Agricultural Wholesale Society (IAWS) from a sleepy agribusiness company into a global player in the food industry.

After leaving IAWS, he set about bulking up One51 into a key mover in the recycling food and investment business, attracting the likes of Larry Goodman and former Bank of Ireland chief Mike Soden as investors.

Mr Lynch will receive his "full contractual obligations" following the sudden termination of his employment on Friday evening.

The 65-year-old businessman's contract was due to end in 2014 and it is likely that he will receive close to €1.5m in lieu of two years pay.

Mr Lynch has 3.31 million shares in the company, worth around €2.98m. One51 shares have slumped to 90¢ each, valuing the business at €110m.

Mr Lynch is thought to feel that the company is considerably undervalued, with some brokers pegging its worth at more than €300m.

While One51's share price slide was pivotal to his ousting, Mr Lynch's position cannot have been helped by a number of issues that he faced outside of the company.

In April it emerged that the Financial Regulator was probing his purchase of 600,000 shares in C&C in October 2008, weeks before the appointment of John Dunsmore and his executive team to the company. Mr Lynch is a non-executive director at the cider company.

He was also involved in a high-profile law suit with AIB and his legal advisers over a €25m loan for a property deal that went bad.

Sunday Indo Business

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