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Smurfits revolutionise Saudi post

AN AIM-listed company, backed by Michael Smurfit's family trust, has won the contract to modernise the Saudi Arabian postal system.

Escher Group, where debt crisis troubleshooter Bernard Somers is chairman and an investor along with the Smurfit family and Champion Sports MD Paul Quinn, is worth £27.34m (€32.56m). It will spearhead the automation of Saudi Post, working with a local Riyadh-based company, in a project running over several years.

Escher has also just renewed its licensing agreement with An Post. It has had contracts with the national postal carrier for 20 years.

The Smurfits' Isle of Man-based trust, Bacchantes, is a major shareholder in Escher and Michael Smurfit Jr is its representative on the board.

Bacchantes owns a 7 per cent stake, Somers and Quinn own 5.8 per cent each, CEO Liam Church and vice-president Fionnuala Higgins, both former An Post executives own 13.5 per cent each.

Shares are valued at £1.77 (€2.10) and have risen 10 per cent since the start of this month.

Sunday Indo Business