Doyle shipping sells ferry shares for €47m

The Cork-based Doyle shipping group has sold its share holding in the Irish Continental Group (ICG), which operates Irish Ferries, for €47m.

The Cork-based Doyle shipping group has sold its share holding in the Irish Continental Group (ICG), which operates Irish Ferries, for €47m.

The sale was due to be confirmed by the Irish Stock Exchange today.

It is believed that the value of the Cork company’s investment has dropped by €19m over the last four years due to the downturn in the economy.

However, it’s believed that the Doyle group, headed by cousins Frank and Conor Doyle, realised €9m in dividends from ICG this year.

The ICG shares were held in an investment company, Moonduster, set up by Doyles and the One51 Group.

The three million shares sold yesterday were disposed of at a price of around €15.75.

The sale was handled by NCB Stockbrokers.

The share offering, placed with between 10 and 15 institutions, was over subscribed. It is thought the buyers were existing investors from the US and UK.

At the height of the boom when Moonduster bought its shareholding the shares were valued at €22.

One51 holds a 12% stake in the ferry group and it is believed it will retain this.

The Doyle group made its initial 12,5% share purchase in ICG in early 2007.

In all the partners in Moonduster paid a total of €134m to buy just over 24% of ICG. Later they wrote off €44m of that investment.

The Doyle group’s principal operating subsidiary is the Burke Shipping Group, which has offices in ports including Cork, Limerick, Dublin, Belfast and Shanghai.

Following the announced ICG’s shares rose by just under 1% to €16.395.

Last week the company said that it made a loss of €1.2 million in the first 18 weeks of the year due to rising oil prices and a 6.5 % fall in passenger numbers.

It made a profit of 200,000 for the same period of 2010. Most of this was made in the busier second half of the year.

Article courtesy of The Evening Echo

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