Eason's gets court approval for payout to shareholders

Irish retailer’s 220 shareholders are expected to share a windfall of €60m

Eason on O’Connell Street, Dublin. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Eason on O’Connell Street, Dublin. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

 

Irish retailer Eason has received High Court approval to proceed with a corporate restructuring of the business designed to free up about €60 million for the benefit of shareholders while also recapitalising its retail operation.

Eason Holdings had sough court approval to reduce the company’s share premium account by 47.2 million and reduce its capital by the cancellation of 20 million ordinary shares valued at 15 million in total.

It is part of a wider reorganisation of the company, involving the sale of 13 properties in the Republic to help generate the windfall for shareholders and €20 million in funding for its retail arm, which is being spun out into a separate entity.

Eason’s property portfolio was valued at between 88 million and 96 million. The company’s 220 shareholders approved the corporate reorganisation plan last year.

Earlier this year, Eason sold its St Margaret’s warehouse in north Dublin to Irish property fund Iput for 19 million. This was the first property sale under its restructuring plan.

Eason chairman David Dilger told shareholders that advanced discussions were taking place with a number of parties on the sale of a further 10 million of property assets across a number of sites.

The disposals will include the sale of its flagship property on O’Connell Street in Dublin, which would be leased back from the new owner and would continue to trade under the Eason brand. Eason has also outsourced all its warehousing functions to third parties.

Mr Dilger has previously told shareholders that the recapitalisation of the retail arm – Eason Operations Ltd – would be completed through a mix of cash and property assets in Northern Ireland.

“Our aim is that the de-merger will be completed by the end of Q1 [the first quarter of the year],” he said.