ICG bid deadline extended again

THE ongoing saga regarding the future ownership of ferry and freight services business, Irish Continental Group (ICG) is set to continue, with yesterday’s deadline for a bid to be tabled from the main interested party extended yet again.

It had been mooted that the Moonduster consortium — led by the One 51 investment vehicle and the Cork-based Doyle Shipping Group — and ICG chief executive, Eamonn Rothwell would be seeking a two-week extension from the Irish Takeover Panel (ITP). This was after they failed to reach full financing from lenders in time for yesterday’s bid deadline.

In the end, the ITP announced yesterday afternoon that the bid deadline would, indeed, now be further extended, but only by nine days — to Wednesday April 29.

“Following discussions with the advisors to both Moonduster and the independent directors of ICG, the panel has consented to an extension of this deadline until 9am on April 29,” the Takeover Panel said yesterday evening.

A spokesperson for Moonduster said, just a couple of weeks ago, that the bid was “at an advanced stage” and “moving along quite satisfactorily”.

At the end of last week, they added that the consortium was working hard at finalising a bid. Talks are continuing on funding from a number of banks including AIB, Bank of Ireland and Bank of Scotland (Ireland).

One market analyst said, last week, that the best outcome for ICG — whose shares were unmoved at €14.50 yesterday — was for “a successful bid that allows ICG merge into a larger business”.

The idea that the enlarged entity could — at some stage in the future — be put back on the Irish Stock Exchange by its prospective new owners, has also been mooted.


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