Monday 18 February 2019

It has been a tough year for Paul 'The Cooler' Coulson (66), who built up the €2.35bn US-listed bottling and food container firm Ardagh, whose customers include Heineken, Coca-Cola, John West and L'Oreal.

The shares have tanked by 45pc over the past year, from $20 to $11, leaving him nursing a paper loss of about €635m, and with a stake now worth €775m. It's believed he has received about €295m from distributions after share buybacks, about €200m more than was originally estimated.

The firm, which has a €6.9bn debt pile - but where he has grown sales from €51m in 1998 to €7.9bn today - has been under pressure over the last year due to labour shortages, prompting it to look into using more robots in its manufacturing operations, in the US in particular, and market changes, requiring it to make more wine and spirit bottles.

He managed not to get caught up in the meltdown of the 2008 financial crash, unlike many of his peers. He owns properties on Dublin's Shrewsbury Road, a home in Paris and others in Portugal. He also owns a 164ft yacht, and is a donor to the private Jesuit school, Gonzaga.

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