Dermot Desmond seeks representation on One51 board

Financier approached firm about board representation before postponed flotation

Dermot Desmond:  having a representative on the One51 board would bring him closer to the decision-making processes, it would also place greater responsibilities on him.  Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Dermot Desmond: having a representative on the One51 board would bring him closer to the decision-making processes, it would also place greater responsibilities on him. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

 

Financier Dermot Desmond has sought board representation at One51, the plastics and environmental services company in which he owns more than 20 per cent.

One51 pulled a stock market flotation last month following opposition from certain shareholders, including Mr Desmond. The Irish Times has learned that Mr Desmond approached the company about securing board representation in advance of One51’s announcement on April 15th that it would not proceed with its flotation.

However, Mr Desmond has not insisted on such an appointment and it is not certain that he will follow through on the request.

While having a representative on the board would bring Mr Desmond closer to the decision-making processes at One51, it would also place greater responsibilities on him given that the company adheres to the listing rules of the Irish Stock Exchange, even though it is an unlisted plc.

Six-person board

Denis CreganAlan Walsh

Sources have indicated that the board of One51 is not opposed to the appointment of a representative for Mr Desmond. However, a company spokesman yesterday denied that any approach had been made by the businessman.

On March 29th, One51 formally announced plans for a flotation in Dublin and London “with a view to enhancing liquidity in the shares and facilitating the raising . . . of new capital for investment in line with its strategy”.

Mr Cregan explained the decision to postpone the flotation indefinitely at One51’s annual general meeting last month. He said that based on the discussions the company had with shareholders, around 35 per cent of the votes would have been cast against the resolution to approve the flotation, with 75 per cent approval needed for it to pass.

“It’s a postponement indefinitely, but indefinite doesn’t mean interminable and doesn’t mean ad infinitum,” he said. “We could well be back, if the ether changes in the financial markets . . . equity might still be the flavour of the month in terms of funding.”

Diluted interest

These included the transfer of up to 20 per cent in One51 to the minority shareholders in IPL, a Canadian plastics company in which the Irish group took a majority stake last year.

Attempts to contact Mr Desmond yesterday at the offices of his Dublin-based private equity group, International and Investment Underwriting, were not successful.

IIU Nominees Ltd was One51’s largest shareholder at the end of last year with a 20.8 per cent stake in the business. It paid €1.85 a share in 2015 to purchase Pageant Holdings’s 12 per cent stake in the group.

The stock price has since declined, with some 10,000 shares trading last Friday at €1.70 each.

One51 made a profit of €18.4 million in 2015, down from €20.6 million in the previous year. Its revenue rose by 32.4 per cent to €366 million. No dividend was paid to shareholders.