Thursday 17 January 2019

Coulson in line for cool €100m as Ardagh plans $350m debt raise

Chairman of Ardagh Paul Coulson
Chairman of Ardagh Paul Coulson
John Mulligan

John Mulligan

Paul Coulson, the chairman of packaging giant Ardagh, could be in line for a €100m bonanza as the company raises $350m (€292m) of debt, with almost all of the proceeds set aside "to provide liquidity to shareholders".

Mr Coulson - nicknamed 'The Cooler' - owns about 36pc of Ardagh along with his family. That stake is worth about €1.48bn based on the $4.93bn (€4.11bn) market capitalisation of Ardagh on the New York Stock Exchange.

The businessman, who's also chief executive of Ardagh, has received tens of millions of euro as a result of bond refinancings in recent years.

The company - one of the world's biggest packaging groups for consumer goods from beer to beauty products - floated on the New York stock market last year. But just 8pc of the business was sold to investors.

The company used the proceeds to help cut its huge debt pile, amassed after years of acquisitions that have transformed Ardagh into a global player.

Its net debt at the end of last September was €6.7bn. That compared to €7.2bn a year earlier.

The latest figure brought its debt metrics to 4.9 times the previous 12 months' adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (ebitda). That compared to 5.5 times at the end of September 2016.

In the 12 months to the end of September last year, Ardagh generated revenue of €7.68bn and adjusted ebitda of €1.36bn.

In 2016, Ardagh paid €3.2bn to buy assets from rivals Ball Corporation and Rexam.

Ardagh, which has its roots in Irish Glass, manufactures more than 84 billion packaging units every year. Its clients include Heineken, L'Oreal and John West.

Ardagh Holdings, which is headquartered in Luxembourg, said yesterday that its subsidiary, ARD Securities Finance, intends to raise $350m of debt through an offering of unsecured PIK (payment-in-kind notes) that will fall due in 2023.

"The net proceeds from this offering, estimated at $344m, will be used by ARD Holdings to provide liquidity to its shareholders," it added.

It added that the issuance does not affect the leverage of the operating group.

Last month, Ardagh secured a five-year, asset-based revolving credit facility of $850m from a consortium of banks.

The new facility, secured by trade receivables and inventories, replaced existing facilities of €50m and $200m. Ardagh said the move reflected the group's increased scale following the Ball-Rexam asset buy.

"Closing of this committed five-year facility further diversifies Ardagh's funding sources and enhances its capital structure, following significant refinancing activity earlier this year to materially extend debt maturities and reduce financing costs," said Ardagh at the time.

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