ICG in €52.7m capital reserve deal
SHAREHOLDERS IN ferry operator Irish Continental Group yesterday gave their approval to a restructuring of its capital reserves that will give it an additional €52.7 million headroom for a possible special dividend to investors, an acquisition or a share buyback.
At a brief extraordinary general meeting in Dublin yesterday, ICG’s shareholders backed the proposal that will see the company seek the approval of the High Court to cancel up to €52.7 million in non-distributable reserves.
This in turn will create a “distributable reserve” that ICG could use to pay a dividend to shareholders, acquire some assets or buy back up to 15 per cent of its own stock.
ICG intends to seek court approval by the end of this year.
The egm followed on from ICG’s brief annual meeting at the Gibson Hotel in Dublin’s Docklands.
The most contentious issue from the agm was the number of votes cast against chairman John McGuckian’s re-election.
Of the votes cast, 16.8 per cent were against Mr McGuckian’s reappointment as chairman.
The businessman has served on ICG’s board of directors since 2004 and has been chairman since 2000. This longevity of tenure has raised questions over his independence under corporate governance rules and led to some institutional shareholders voting against his re-election.
After the meeting, ICG chief executive Eamonn Rothwell said the company had no immediate plans in relation to the funds that would be freed up by the capital restructuring.
“We have no particular intention to do anything,” he said, adding that the company would continue with its “progressive dividend policy” rather than hording surplus cash on its balance sheet.
On trading, he said the outlook for British tourists coming to this country “looked okay”, helped by sterling’s recent strengthening against the euro.
He said a softening in oil prices recently meant an anticipated rise this year in its fuel costs (of €8 million) might turn out to be lower.