One51’s ICG stake in spotlight

ANALYSTS are awaiting the next installment at investment group One51.

In the aftermath of the sacking of chief executive Philip Lynch, analysts are particularly focused on the future of the company’s stake in shipping group Irish Continental (ICG).

One51 — which comprises an environmental services division called ClearCircle and shareholdings in ICG and renewable energy group NTR — terminated Mr Lynch’s contract on Friday, saying it had been considering succession planning for some time.

The board appointed financial officer Alan Walsh as interim chief executive, pending recruitment of a permanent replacement.

Until recently, One51 had owned half of a near 25% stake in ICG through an investment consortium with Cork-based Doyle Shipping Group. While Doyle has sold its stake, One51 retains its 12.5%.

Last year, several leading independent shareholders in One51 raised questions about the group’s management, investment strategy, direction and corporate governance issues. While seemingly pleased with Mr Lynch’s removal, that group has remained tight-lipped over the company’s investments.

Analysts were yesterday suggesting that the shareholding in ICG is where all the attention will be on in the run-up to One51’s agm, which is expected to be held next month.

Bloxham Stockbrokers said: “ICG is trading at levels where its dividend produces a 6.4% dividend yield. A disposal of the One51 stake, via a placing, would add to the liquidity provided by the Doyle disposal two months ago.”

Colm Foley of Goodbody Stockbrokers said: “In 2009, One51 made a failed takeover attempt for ICG and has been at odds with management ever since.

“At last year’s agm, ICG had an ordinary resolution blocked by One51 and the Doyle Shipping Group for the right to issue capital which they believed could lead to a dilution of their holdings.

“While it is unclear what is to become of the 12% stake post the ousting of the One51 CEO, it is worth keeping an eye on the situation.”

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