Business Irish

Sunday 26 January 2020

Surprise move as NTR to sell majority of its Green Plains share for €52m

John Mulligan

John Mulligan

IRISH utilities group NTR is poised to sell virtually all its remaining holding in US-based bioethanol producer Green Plains Renewable Energy for as much as $70m (€52m).

It's thought that NTR will also issue a significant statement this morning regarding its wider investment strategy.

Green Plains said yesterday that it has agreed to buy back 3.7 million shares in the company from NTR and that a further three million shares held by the Irish company will be offered for sale to investors for $10.41 each.

The surprise move comes just five months after NTR sold 3.5 million of its shares in Green Plains back to the US company for $8 each, for a total of $28m (€21m). That move left NTR with 7.7 million shares in Green Plains, representing a 21pc stake in the fourth-largest bioethanol producer in North America.

NTR will be left owning just 3.5pc of Green Plains following the latest planned disposal.

Position

An NTR spokesman said yesterday that the company wasn't in a position to comment due to SEC constraints and would issue a market update today.

Green Plains said it will buy the 3.7 million shares from NTR at a price equal to that purchase price paid by the underwriter when the other three million shares are offered for sale to investors. That public offering will close next Thursday. NTR chief executive Michael McNicholas will also resign from the Green Plains board once the deal has been completed.

NTR, which once owned the West Link toll bridge in Dublin and which also owns the Greenstar recycling business, posted a €381m loss in the financial year to the end of last March. That was one of the largest losses in Irish corporate history outside the banking sector.

Irish Independent

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