Ardagh earnings jump 38% following biggest ever deal

Containers group that floated in New York last month sees revenue surge to €1.84bn

L-R: Paul Coulson, Ardagh chairman, ringing the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange alongside John Tuttle, global head of listings at the exchange,  Ian Curley, chief executive of Ardagh, and John Sheehan, Ardagh director of investor relations, as the group celebrated its IPO last month

L-R: Paul Coulson, Ardagh chairman, ringing the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange alongside John Tuttle, global head of listings at the exchange, Ian Curley, chief executive of Ardagh, and John Sheehan, Ardagh director of investor relations, as the group celebrated its IPO last month

 

Ardagh Group, the glass and metal containers group led by financier Paul Coulson that floated in New York last month, reported a 38 per cent increase in earnings in the first quarter of the year, following on from its biggest ever acquisition in mid-2016.

Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (Ebitda) rose to €299 million from €217 million for the year-earlier period, the company said in a statement on Thursday. Revenues for the period rose by more than 50 per cent to €1.84 billion.

IPO

Ardagh raised more than $350 million (€321 million) through an initial public offering last month by selling less than an 8 per cent stake in the business to new investors.

The group is concentrating on lowering its debt burden following the $3.42 billion (€3.14 billion) acquisition of a beverage cans business which was sold by US peer Ball Corp and the UK’s Rexam to appease competition authorities under their own merger.

However, group chairman and 33 per cent shareholder Paul Coulson said on a call with analysts that Ardagh will continue to keep an “opportunistic” eye out for potential further acquisitions. He has previously said that having a stock market quotation gives the company another currency to carry out deals.

Ardagh’s total borrowings stood at €8.629 million at the end of last month, compared to €8.46 million in December.

Meanwhile, the company, which has spent much of the past year refinancing billions of euro of debt at lower rates in the bond markets to scrape out savings, may continue to redeem more expensive debt this year, executives indicated to analysts on the call.

Broken down by division, sales in the metal packaging business jumped 130 per cent to €1.09 billion, fuelled by the beverage cans deal. Glass packaging sales increased by 1 per cent to €751 million.

“Overall, it was a solid result from Ardagh’s first earnings report as a publicly-traded company, which should help build confidence from equity investors,” said Deutsche Bank analysts Debbie Jones and Kyle White in a note to clients.