Cantillon: Will DCC look further afield?
Michael Buckley pictured during the DCC agm at the Four Seasons Hotel on Friday.
One could hardly blame the DCC chairman Michael Buckley for constantly wearing just the faintest hint of a smile at the company’s AGM yesterday. Like an old maestro on closing night, he lapped up the adulation of the crowd before him. “One of the most dazzling and sparkling companies on the stock exchange,” cooed one shareholder. “The most popular annual meeting on the circuit, because shareholders are always happy,” said another. It certainly beats the egg-throwing AGMs of his alma mater, AIB.
A year ago, the meeting was a rather more traumatic affair for DCC. After 17 years of consecutive growth, it had experienced a slump after a mild winter floored its UK fuels business. Thankfully for the board, the growth has returned. But what about future growth?
One shareholder raised the prospect of a break-up of the conglomerate, and asked whether its booming energy business should break free from its European bailiwick and go global. Buckley responded that the company was “not cloistered in Europe”, and pointed out that its Sercom IT division was also cultivating relationships in Asia that could bear fruit in future.
They don’t much like change down at DCC, not the unexpected sort anyway. But CRH-like assault on lucrative far-afield markets? Now that’s the sort of change that DCC’s shareholders could probably swallow.