ICG set to be publicly quoted entity

THE re-emergence of Irish Continental Group (ICG) as an enlarged publicly quoted entity is being seen as a real possibility, once the long-running takeover saga surrounding the ferry and freight services group is complete.

The group is likely to be finally taken private next week, with the takeover by the One-51/Doyle Shipping-led Moonduster consortium and the group’s chief executive Eamonn Rothwell finally set to follow a formal bid being lodged by the offer deadline of Monday afternoon.

A spokesperson for the Moonduster consortium said yesterday: “Moonduster and Eamonn Rothwell are working hard to bring forward a bid for ICG next week.”

While Monday is only the deadline for a bid — recently imposed by the Irish Takeover Panel on the request of the independent board of directors at ICG — a successful bid is expected by analysts in most circles.

A failure by Moonduster to lodge a formal bid on Monday would result in the consortium not being able to return to the table with a further offer for at least another 12 months.

“The optimal outcome here, in our view, is a successful bid that allows ICG merge into a larger business. Investors fretting about valuations could be offered a partial share alternative if they believe the capital upside is significant,” said Joe Gill of Bloxham Stockbrokers.

“For the business itself, a resolution will give management the clarity needed to develop the company without wasting resources on ownership issues. It also offers the prospect of combining One-51 and ICG to form a larger and potentially more liquid ISEQ-listed entity. We suspect bankers will play a crucial role in next week’s events,” Mr Gill added.

In another solid day for the ISEQ, as a whole yesterday, ICG gained 50c — or 3.57% — to close at €14.50.


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