Wednesday 25 April 2018

Troubled One51 agrees €200m facility ahead of crucial AGM


John Mulligan

John Mulligan


Value of the previous facility One51 had in place, which was arranged in 2006

Investment group One51 has agreed a new €200m banking facility with its lenders and sought to re-assure shareholders as it faces into what could be another lively annual general meeting in coming weeks.

Headed by CEO Philip Lynch, One51 has had a turbulent past couple of years as the value of some of its investments has fallen substantially and its strategy came under the spotlight.

An attempted boardroom coup orchestrated last year by rebel investor Gerry Killen failed to rally other shareholders, who backed Mr Lynch.

In a statement issued yesterday, One51, which was spun out of agri-group IAWS, said that it has cut its debt by €66m over the past three years to €147m at the end of last December, and that its interest cover -- a key measure of its ability to repay debts -- is now seven times its earnings.

Many investors in One51 -- including co-ops and well-known individuals -- are shouldering significant paper losses, with the company's shares down over 50pc in the past year.

The new banking facility has been inked with One51's existing lenders, with BoI acting as the co-ordinating bank.

Other lenders include Allied Irish Banks, Bank of Scotland, KBC Bank, Rabobank and Ulster Bank.

The facility will be in place until the end of June 2013.

The previous facility One51 had in place was for €325m and had been arranged in 2006. The company said yesterday that while the terms of the new deal were "competitive", it would be paying more for it than for that previous facility.

Mr Lynch is understood to have come under pressure from some other One51 directors over the past couple of weeks regarding his position at the group and its future direction.

It's also likely that Mr Killen will put himself forward for election to the board again this year, having failed to get elected last year.

One51's other assets include just over a 12pc stake in ferry group ICG. A long-time investment partner of One51 in ICG, the Cork-based Doyle shipping group, sold its 12.5pc stake in ICG last month.

At One51's AGM last year, Mr Lynch said the group planned to float its ClearCircle environmental services unit in 2012. It's not known at this time whether that remains part of the group plans.

One51 intends to circulate results for 2010 to shareholders "shortly", it said yesterday.

Irish Independent

Business Newsletter

Read the leading stories from the world of Business.

Also in Business