CHAIRMAN OF GLASS MAKER ARDAGH SET FOR €24m WINDFALL - Dublin financier Paul Coulson, the head of glass maker Ardagh, is set for a €24m summer windfall as the company plans to return €73m to shareholders. The company is raising $1 billion of payment-in-kind notes and will use part of the proceeds to pay the dividend, reports the Irish Independent. Mr Coulson and his family own over 33% of Ardagh, both directly and also through his Yeoman investment vehicle. It's the second time in three years that Mr Coulson and other senior Ardagh executives have reaped millions from a refinancing at the group. Back in 2011, another bond refinancing saw them split €183m, with over €60m of that going to Mr Coulson. Niall Wall, the chief executive of the group, owns nearly 10% of Ardagh and got over €18m from that refinancing and will reap another €7.3m from the latest move. The latest dividend payment for Paris-based Mr Coulson, who's executive chairman of Ardagh, comes as the company plots fresh plans for a stock market listing. A previous effort to hit the New York Stock Exchange in 2011 was thwarted amid global economic turbulence. The company confirmed last week that it hopes to complete an initial public offering in the second half of 2015. The decision to pay the latest dividend to Ardagh shareholders comes just weeks after it completed a drawn out purchase of glass maker Verallia North America, following initial objections from the US competition watchdog.
KILKENNY'S MOUNT JULIET RESORT SOLD FOR €15 MILLION - Kilkenny’s Mount Juliet Resort has been sold, with Brehon Capital Partners and businessman Emmet O’Neill taking ownership of the property from Killeen Group Holdings. It is understood that the 86-bedroom resort, which was sold as a going concern, came with a price tag of around €15 million, writes the Irish Times. The property includes Mount Juliet House, the Hunters Yard Club House, the Rose Garden Lodges, the Jack Nicklaus designed Golf Course and golfing academy and an equestrian centre. Killeen Group Holdings will retain ownership of Ballylinch Stud. There was strong interest in the property, according to Killeen, with both Irish and overseas investors potentially acquiring the property. There are also plans for major new investment in the coming months that will see between 30 and 40 bedrooms added to the property. It is understood that about €4 million will be spent on the work, which will also see the spa and swimming pool facilities upgraded later this year. There are currently 143 staff employed at Mount Juliet, and it is understood that no jobs are at risk from the sale, with the prospect of further recruitment once the expansion is complete. It marks Brehon’s third venture in Irish hotels, following its investment in Dublin’s Marker Hotel and Powerscourt Hotel in Wicklow.
DOONBEG'S 'UNSECURED CREDITORS TO GET NOTHING' - A lawyer representing the liquidator of Doonbeg golf club has told a court there are no funds available for unsecured creditors in the liquidation, says the Irish Examiner. At Ennis Circuit Court, representing liquidator, Tom Kavanagh, Ciaran Carroll told the court there are no funds available for unsecured creditors. Mr Carroll was speaking during a case involving west Clare man, James McNulty and Doonbeg Golf Ltd where Mr McNulty is seeking to have terms of settlement in relation to a right of way at the golf course executed. Mr Kavanagh was appointed liquidator in March by a resolution of creditors - a month after receivers to Doonbeg Golf Club Ltd, EY completed the sale of the golf club to US billionaire, Donald Trump for €15m. On his first visit to Ireland last month since the purchase, Mr Trump promised that he would be spending three times that amount or €45m in further investment at the resort. However, the confirmation by Mr Carroll that there is no money for unsecured creditors in the liquidation will disappoint an unknown number of investors who purchased properties with rental guarantees from Doonbeg Golf Club ranging in price from €1.2m to €1.8m. The most recent accounts filed by Doonbeg Golf Club Ltd for 2012 show that the company’s largest creditors were connected companies owed €77m.
ICELANDIC COURT CLEARS CORPORATE RAIDER - Iceland’s most high-profile corporate raider and two former bank chief executives have been acquitted in separate cases that deal a big blow to the Nordic island’s attempts to seek convictions over its spectacular financial collapse in 2008. Jón Ásgeir Jóhannesson - who used to own large parts of the UK high street, including Hamley’s, House of Fraser and supermarket chain Iceland - was cleared by a court in Reykjavik on Thursday, reports the Financial Times. Larus Welding, former chief executive of one of Iceland’s three big banks, Glitnir, where Mr Jóhannesson was the biggest shareholder, was also acquitted, as were two other former employees of the lender. The charges related to alleged breach of fiduciary duty. In a separate case, Sigurjon Arnason, the former chief executive of another collapsed lender, Landsbanki, was found not guilty of market manipulation. The Icelandic special prosecutor is now likely to appeal against the acquittals to the country’s supreme court. But the verdicts in the two cases are a setback for one of the few prosecutors in the world to have won convictions against the chief executives of big banks. A year earlier, Mr Welding was sentenced to nine months in jail for fraud in a separate case.