Six charities gain €1m via sale of Vodafone shares

Small scale Telecom Éireann investors donate through Sharegift system

  Telecom Éireann share   price allocation: Most of the donations to Sharegift were made by investors who lost money in the long run over the 1999 flotation and found themselves holding Vodafone shares. Photograph: Eric Luke

Telecom Éireann share price allocation: Most of the donations to Sharegift were made by investors who lost money in the long run over the 1999 flotation and found themselves holding Vodafone shares. Photograph: Eric Luke

 
Irish shareholders in Vodafone and Verizon have contributed €1 million to local charities recently through Computershare.

The money has gone to six Irish charities – Barretstown, the Community Foundation for Ireland, Focus Ireland, the Irish Cancer Society, the Irish Society for the Protection of Cruelty to Animals and Youth Work Ireland.

The shareholders who made the donations are small scale Irish retail investors who would have invested initially in the flotation of the company then known as Telecom Éireann – now Eir – back in 1999.

Most had lost money in the intervening period and found themselves holding shares in Vodafone – as a result of it buying the original Telecom mobile business Eircell – and Verizon, which issued shares and cash when it bought Vodafone out of their US joint venture.

In many cases, the shareholdings in each company were very small.

Over the past 12 months, both Verizon and Vodafone offered low cost trading options for Irish shareholders looking to sell out of the companies.

Alongside the sell option, both companies offered the option of shareholders simply donating their shares to charity through Sharegift, which sells the shares and disburses the proceeds.

Windfall

Jackie Harrison, head of development at the Community Foundation for Ireland, welcomed the windfall.

“In a year when funding has become more difficult to secure, it is very encouraging to see such a large scale donation to Irish charities.”

The share sales, and charity option, were both organised through Computershare, which arranged that the shares coming from Irish investors would benefit Irish charities.

“We’re delighted to work with Sharegift, allowing our clients and their shareholders to join together to donate such large sums to these great charities,” said Kevin Firth, managing director of Computershare Registry Services, which manages the share registers for two-thirds of the companies listed on the Irish Stock Exchange.