NTR investors in €275m share windfall

INVESTORS in NTR, the renewable energy to waste management group, fully endorsed the €275m share buy-back of the group an extraordinary general meeting in Dublin yesterday.

The proposed redemption price of €6.65 was determined by the board on the advice of US investment bankers Morgan Stanley.

The decision results in a massive windfall of close to €100m to the family of the late Tom Roche Snr, founder of the company.

One51, set up by high profile businessman, Philip Lynch, with the backing of the Irish co-op movement pockets €70.1m and is the other major beneficiary from the scheme.

Details of the share buy-back had been well publicised in advance of yesterday’s vote.

The €275m is to be returned to shareholders, through the redemption of ordinary shares, at a price of €6.65 a share.

Shares in the group, dealt only in the grey market, were trading at €6.50 in late afternoon.

Before the EGM, shareholders were briefed on the strategy for the group and were also presented with the annual results for the year to March 31, 2008.

Attributable profits for the year totalled €830.8 million, comprising €344.2m from the sale of West-Link and €535m for the sale of Airtricity during the 12 months, while an €80m hit diluted those gains following the group’s decision to quit ethanol production at two plants in Germany.

At the trading level, NTR achieved sales of €421.4m, up by an impressive 67% on the prior year’s figure of €251.8m.

The group reported profits of €86.5m, up €2.4m on the year.

Greenstar’s waste management operations across Ireland, the US and Britain accounted for the bulk of the profits at €68.3m, while tolling and other operations chipped in earnings of €18.2m, a fall of €7m.

Looking at the balance sheet, borrowings at the end of last year of €1.5bn have been turned into cash of €597m.

Commenting on the results and the group’s future direction, chief executive, Jim Barry, said 2007-2008 has been a period of transition for the group with the sale of Airtricity and West-Link and the merger of its broadband interests with Imagine Communications, where it is now a minority stakeholder, significant milestones.

The group is now positioned to exploit huge opportunities in biofuels in the US and solar energy where it has gained a presence since the end of the year.


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