Calls to refocus One 51 as ‘clean tech’ company

LEADING backers of the Philip Lynch-led investment vehicle, One 51, are calling for senior management to dispose of non-core shareholdings and re-focus the company as a dedicated clean technology (‘clean tech’) business.

A group of shareholders — led by former divisional head Gerry Killen — have begun lobbying smaller shareholders for support in their plan.

They wrote to shareholders at the weekend and are in the midst of also advertising, via the national press, their intention to use the company’s annual general meeting — in a fortnight’s time — as a springboard to try and force management into a change of focus.

The body of independent shareholders is unhappy about One 51’s management, strategy and leadership and is concerned about a lack of financial transparency and investment returns, poor strategy and focus, failure to “adequately” communicate with shareholders and a failure to disclose full details of individual executive remuneration in its annual reports.

They are also calling for management to dispose — over an orderly time period — of its non-core investments such as those in financial services company, IFG and Irish Continental Group (ICG), which owns Irish Ferries. Their preference is for funds to go towards re-focusing One 51 into a green tech/clean tech group to bolster its existing environmental division.

Although this operation has been boosted with the acquisition of two British hazardous waste companies — Alchema and Future Industrial Services — for a combined €18 million, shareholders are not content with the fact that there is no anchor waste management business to focus the division, which they say is too disparate in its collection of subsidiaries. One 51 saw its pre-tax losses reduce by €46m — from €56.9m to €10.9m — last year, according to its latest annual report. The group’s turnover also fell by 24% to €328.4m. A failure to develop a core business strategy has, according to the shareholder group, hampered One 51’s growth.

They feel that the investment community cannot easily identify in what business sector the company trades.


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