ICG to implement €111.5m tender offer to shareholders
SHAREHOLDERS IN Irish Continental Group yesterday voted in favour of resolutions required to implement the company’s recently announced tender offer which may see the company return up to €111.5 million in cash to shareholders.
Under the tender offer, the company will purchase up to 25 per cent of its issued share capital by buying back ICG units, which will then be cancelled.
ICG shareholders have until 1pm tomorrow to take up the offer. While they can offer all shares for tender, only 24.73 per cent of their shareholding can be sold if the tender is fully subscribed. ICG is offering a price of €18.50 a share, which represents a premium of 15.6 per cent on its closing share price on Wednesday, August 29th.
However, the recent performance of ICG’s shareprice suggests that not every shareholder may take up the offer.
Asked by a shareholder at yesterday’s EGM whether ICG directors are planning to take up the offer, chairman John McGuckian declined to comment, though he confirmed that the directors’ ownership of the company would increase from 16 per cent to 23 per cent in the event that the directors did not take up the offer and the full offer is taken up.
Mr Guckian also said that the company had examined a range of options before deciding on the tender offer. He disputed an argument from the floor that paying a special dividend would have had better tax implications for shareholders, pointing out that ICG had a “very wide range of shareholders with different tax positions”, including shareholders from different jurisdictions.
Irish Continental also updated the market yesterday on its performance to the year to date, reporting a slight fall-off in revenue in July and August to €56.7 million, down from €57.2 million the previous year.
This brought revenue for the full year to the end of August to €183.8 million, in line with the previous year, with operating profit down slightly to €19.7 million for the eight-month period, compared to €20.5 million the previous year.
ICG chief executive Eamon Rothwell yesterday described the performance as “resilient”, particularly in light of the increase in fuel costs.
The ferry company’s fuel bill was €38.7 million during the period, compared to €33.2 million the previous year.
In the nine months to the end of September, passenger numbers were 1.2 per cent up on the previous year at 1.26 million, while RoRo freight volumes in the same period were down 4.7 per cent.