Thursday 21 November 2019

Rothwell share sales have netted almost €11m in just two years

ICG boss Eamonn Rothwell
ICG boss Eamonn Rothwell

Sarah McCabe

Irish Continental Group chief executive Eamonn Rothwell has earned nearly €2m from selling off more lucrative share options in the ferry group as its share price hit an all-time high. Rothwell has sold almost 11m worth of shares in just over two years.

The ICG chief took advantage of share options previously awarded to him, pulling off a deal that earned him a €1.6m profit.

He exercised the option to buy 500,000 shares in the Irish Ferries parent company at €1 each and then sold them for €4.18 each.

Rothwell made a similar killing by exercising share options in August 2012, when he bought 100,000 at €5.30 each and sold them for €17.75 each. The transaction netted him €1.25m. He also completed several straightforward share sales last year, raising at least €8m in total.

Former chartered accountant Rothwell owns 27.5 million shares in Irish Continental, or 14.7pc. At Thursday's closing price of €4.13 per share, his stake is valued at €113.5m.

He owns the stake personally and through his own company, Rokeby Investments. Rothwell, who last year said he was considering moving Irish Continental from the Irish to London stock exchange, has been one of the biggest beneficiaries of big gains in the group's share price of late.

It has almost doubled since April of last year.

The company navigated the choppy waters of the recession with relative ease, managing to complete share buy-backs and pay big dividends.

Revenue climbed 10pc in 2014 to €290m, while its dividend grew an average of 5pc during the year.

Strong growth in revenue and earnings is expected this year provided oil prices stay low, chairman John McGuckian said.

Revenue climbed 10pc in 2014 to €290m, while its dividend grew an average of 5pc during the year.

Rothwell will turn 60 this year, the age at which many ICG executives resign and which ICG has identified as retirement age for some.

But no succession plans have been outlined for the chief executive job. Chief financial officer Garry O'Dea and marketing director Tony Kelly also turn 60 this year as well.

Both announced their resignations recently.

Irish Ferries finance director and former Deloitte accountant David Ledwidge will take over O'Dea's role.

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