Plastics group One 51 eyeing Europe deals

Plastics group One 51, which was renamed IPL Plastics, is to pursue acquisitions in mainland Europe in a bid to rebalance its spread but won’t carry out any deals until after a likely flotation next summer, writes Geoff Percival.

Speaking after an EGM at which shareholders approved the restructuring of the group’s capital structure — which would allow for a flotation — and its name change, chief executive Alan Walsh said while there are opportunities in north America, upping the group’s presence in mainland Europe is “on the radar”, in order to rebalance its operations. Currently, 75% of One51/IPL’s revenues are generated in north America.

However, Mr Walsh said any further acquisition activity would be unlikely before a potential flotation, which is still management’s preferred avenue to growth despite it still being open to considering alternative proposals. The prospects of a trade sale to private equity firm CapVest ended last month after talks came to nothing.

Mr Walsh said any flotation would likely happen around May or June next year, with a primary share listing likely in Toronto, with Dublin the probable location for a secondary listing. He declined to estimate how much IPL could raise via its float. The group, however, will keep its headquarters in Dublin.

Canadian fund manager Caisse de dépot et placement du Québec is the Dublin group’s largest shareholder with a 25% stake, while Canadian development capital fund FSTQ also has an interest. Both are behind the flotation plan, which initially arose last year before being shelved in the face of opposition by One51’s then investor base.

In a separate trading update, One 51 said it expects full-year earnings to be broadly in line with market expectations. It said its UK business continues to perform strongly despite economic and political uncertainties brought about by Brexit. Its north American operations — in Canada and the US — have performed strongly this year.

However, the group’s Irish business has been hit by reduced demand from its largest customer and delays in embedding new customers into its new food grade facility in Cork, which was commissioned for full production this year.

However, Mr Walsh said this is a temporary situation, which will not hamper long-term growth in Cork.

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