Ardagh moves to give legacy shareholders a boost

Irish-led group reports 20 per cent jump in revenue as 2017 earnings rise to €1.34 billion

Ardagh, which listed in New York last April, and which is led by Paul Coulson (left), recorded pretax earnings of €1.34 billion for the 12 months to the end of December.

Ardagh, which listed in New York last April, and which is led by Paul Coulson (left), recorded pretax earnings of €1.34 billion for the 12 months to the end of December.

 

Ardagh Group, the Irish-led glass and metal containers manufacturer, will see its number of shares that are tradable in the market rise “materially” as it gives investors in its unlisted parent company direct stock in the publicly-quoted business.

The group was floated on the New York Stock Exchange last April with the sale of an almost 8 per cent stake in the business to new investors. However, the remaining 92 per of the business is held by an holding company, whose investors include group chairman and chief executive Paul Coulson, managers and high-net-worth investors.

In a presentation to analysts on Thursday as Ardagh Group reported full-year results, the company said that “material part” of the holding company’s 92 per cent shareholding in the listed business would be handed over to shareholders.

Meanwhile, Ardagh Group recorded earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (ebitda) of €1.34 billion for the 12 months to the end of December, up from €1.16 billion a year earlier.

Revenues rose to €7.6 billion from €6.3 million over the same period.

Acquisition

Ardagh said the inclusion of its Beverage Can acquisition, which it bought from Ball and Rexam in April 2016 in a $3.42 billion deal, increased turnover by €1.3 billion versus the prior year.

Revenue growth also reflected higher selling prices driven by the pass through of higher input costs, which were partly offset by adverse currency translation effects of €102 million.

On a pro-forma constant-currency bases, adjusted ebitda rose 2 per cent while turnover was up 1 per cent.

The company reported fourth-quarter revenues of €1.8 billion, a decrease of 2 per cent at actual exchange rates and a 1 per cent rise compared with the same period a year earlier on a constant-currency basis.

Fourth-quarter adjusted ebitda of €285 million was down 7 per cent at actual exchange rates, compared with the same period last year. On a constant-currency basis, adjusted ebitda decreased by 3 per cent.

“Fourth-quarter results were in line with our expectations, with constant-currency revenue up 1 per cent and adjusted ebitda advancing in three of our four divisions. Profit improvement initiatives in Glass North America are under way and we remain focused on driving growth in adjusted ebitda and cash generation as we continue to de-lever,” said Mr Coulson.

The company, which adopted US dollar reporting from the start of the year, said it expected adjusted ebitda to be broadly unchanged in 2018 at about $1.6 billion (€1.3 billion). First-quarter earnings totalled $345 million, Ardagh added.

Ardagh reported earnings per share of €0.24 for 2017 as against a €0.33 loss per share a year earlier. Adjusted earnings per share growth of 44 per cent to €1.63 for the full year was also recorded.

In December, the group closed a committed five-year $850 million loan facility.