Sunday 21 January 2018

Ryan buys up all of Merrion Pharma debt

Nick Webb

Nick Webb

AVIATION tycoon Declan Ryan's investment firm Irelandia has bought close to €5m in debt owed by Merrion Pharmaceuticals to US speciality lender Hercules.

Last December, Merrion -- which turns hard-to-absorb drugs into tablet form -- announced a strategic review of operations. Davy Stockbrokers was hired to examine options for the company.

Plans to raise money on the stock markets were announced as the company sought to give itself more headroom to develop projects. However, last week it emerged that Irelandia had stepped in to buy up to €5m in secured loans. These loans will be replaced by new loans but at a much lower interest rate.

Merrion had raised money from specialist financier Hercules in June of 2011 under a deal that could have seen the US company take a 4.8 per cent stake in the Irish firm.

The Irish company underwent huge change last year, with a major cost reduction scheme slashing cash-burn rates dramatically. CEO John Lynch and chairman Paddy O'Sullivan both left the company, with a new management team being appointed.

The strategic review into Merrion could see the company seek to sell an equity stake to a major drug company or to sign an extensive partnership agreement with another company to help fund the drug development pipeline. Merrion is already closely associated with Danish firm Novo Nordisk, the world's largest maker of insulin products.

Sunday Indo Business

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