One51 says IPO best for shareholders even as suitors ‘occasionally’ circle

UK group Cap Vest reported to have made second bid to buy plastics manufacturer

One51 chief executive Alan Walsh. Photograph: Dave Meehan

One51 chief executive Alan Walsh. Photograph: Dave Meehan

 

One51, the Dublin-based rigid plastics manufacturer, said on Monday that its planned restructuring and flotation were the best way to “secure” value for shareholders, even as the company occasionally receives “speculative and highly conditional” bid interest.

The comments come after the Sunday Business Post reported over the weekend that UK private equity firm CapVest, led by Cavan man Seamus Fitzpatrick, has made a second approach in a little more than two years to buy One51.

The Irish company, which is led by chief executive Alan Walsh and has about 2,000 shareholders, said on Friday that it plans to reorganise its structure and that of its North American plastics unit NPL, which makes everything from yoghurt pots to refuse bins, ahead of a planned stock market flotation within the next 12 to 18 months.

Sources said the plan was centred on two Canadian firms, Quebec-based Caisse de Dépôt et Placement du Québec (CDPQ) and Fonds de Solidarité, swapping their 33 per cent stake in NPL for a direct stake in One51.

This would see CDPQ, which bought an initial 25 per cent stake in One51 in May from businessman Dermot Desmond, increase its interest in the Dublin-based group to about 33 per cent.

“The One51 board considers that the corporate restructuring, by positioning the company for an IPO, best positions the company to secure and allow realisation of value by shareholders,” a spokesman for One51 said on Monday.

“The board, on occasion, receives expressions of interest from third parties indicating a desire to acquire ownership and/or control of One51. These proposals are often speculative and highly conditional.”

The spokesman added that One51 “values all such proposals and would put any such proposal to the shareholders for acceptance or rejection, as the case may be, once the board believes that the proposal is supportable, capable of implementation and at an appropriate valuation”.

One51 was set up in 2005 as an investment business spun out of food and agri group IAWS and initially held assets including a 26 per cent stake in infrastructure company NTR and Irish Pride Bakers. IAWS was subsequently renamed as Aryzta.

Mr Walsh has spent his seven years in charge of One51 unravelling the firm’s collection of disparate investments, including a major stake in ferries operator Irish Continental Group.