Wednesday 13 November 2019

Ex-Eir chief executive Moat lands lead role at France's Technicolor

New role: Richard Moat, who formerly headed Eir, is to become CEO of Technicolor
New role: Richard Moat, who formerly headed Eir, is to become CEO of Technicolor
John Mulligan

John Mulligan

Former Eir CEO Richard Moat - who split €100m with other senior managers at the telco after a majority stake was sold to French billionaire Xavier Niel and his NJJ firm - has been appointed chief executive of French movie technology group Technicolor.

Mr Moat has been tasked with "accelerating Technicolor's path towards growth, value creation and financial sustainability". Technicolor's chairperson, Anne Bouverot, said he had a "significant track record in turnarounds".

Last month, Moody's downgraded stock market-listed Technicolor's rating, citing the group's operating, performance and cashflow in the first half of the year.

Ms Bouverot said Mr Moat had the "unanimous support of the board" and he would apply "strong financial discipline" to Technicolor.

"During his most recent leadership role at Eir, Richard demonstrated clear capability to drive change, invest in growth and improve performance, creating value for all stakeholders," she added.

Technicolor generated revenue of €4bn in its 2018 financial year and adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation of €266m.

It has a market capitialisation of €333m, with its shares having climbed yesterday on the back of Mr Moat's appointment as CEO.

Technicolor has been synonymous with the movie industry ever since the advent of colour films, with the process having been used in iconic pictures such as 'The Wizard of Oz' and 'Gone with the Wind'.

The business was founded in the United States and became part of the France-based Thomson multinational in 2000, when it was acquired from the UK's Carlton Communications.

Thomson was rebranded as Technicolor in 2010.

Last month, Technicolor issued a statement disagreeing with Moody's decision to downgrade the French firm's investment rating.

Moody's had also cited a deteriorating macro-economic climate for production services for its decision.

"The group's profitability and cashflow generation in the second half will improve significantly, supported by recurring positive second-half seasonality and by a catch-up effect in both production services and connected home," Technicolor said.

Mr Moat was chief executive of Eir between 2014 and 2018, having been its chief financial officer from 2012, as the group emerged from what had been Ireland's biggest examinership.

That saw lenders to the group seize control of the business.

Its shareholders initially plotted another return to the stock market for the telco, but that plan was shelved in 2014 amid market turmoil.

Last year Iliad, which is controlled by Mr Niel, acquired a 31.6pc stake in Eir. An investment vehicle also controlled by Mr Niel, NJJ, acquired an additional 32.9pc holding.

The deal placed a €3.5bn enterprise value on Eir, which is now headed by Carolan Lennon.

Mr Moat said last year that he had bought a home in Ireland, and had applied for Irish citizenship.

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