Mar­ket tur­moil hits Ir­ish IPO plans

The Irish Times - Business - - BUSINESS REVIEW OF THE YEAR -

Tur­moil across fi­nan­cial mar­kets served to put the span­ner in the works for a num­ber of Ir­ish com­pa­nies that had am­bi­tions of float­ing on the stock mar­ket in 2018.

In early March, Core In­dus­trial Reit, a fledg­ling lo­gis­tics and in­dus­trial real-es­tate trust, de­cided to pull its planned €225 mil­lion ini­tial pub­lic of­fer­ing (IPO), cit­ing “mar­ket con­di­tions”. It was be­ing lined up as the sixth prop­erty-re­lated com­pany to join the Ir­ish Stock Ex­change in five years, ini­tially hold­ing al­most €83 mil­lion of in­dus­trial units that US hedge fund York Cap­i­tal had ac­quired on the cheap in Ire­land in re­cent times.

In early Oc­to­ber, it emerged that Paddy McKillen jnr’s Press-Up En­ter­tain­ment, the State’s largest and fastest-grow­ing pub and restau­rant group, had de­cided to moth­ball its plans for a flota­tion and had de­cided to fund its near-term growth am­bi­tions from its own re­sources.

The com­pany sub­se­quently joined up with a unit of the Rockefeller Group and Dublin-based Core Cap­i­tal to buy and re­de­velop the for­mer Clerys depart­ment store in Dublin in a deal worth about €63 mil­lion.

As eq­uity mar­ket volatil­ity con­tin­ued un­abated in Oc­to­ber, Cal­i­for­nia-based pri­vate eq­uity group Oak­tree and Dublin-based Sigma Re­tail Part­ners de­cided to push out a de­ci­sion on whether to pro­ceed with a re­tail Reit un­til 2019.

Oak­tree af­fil­i­ate Tar­geted In­vest­ment Op­por­tu­ni­ties’ (TIO) pur­chase of a con­trol­ling stake in the Square shop­ping cen­tre in Tal­laght in Dublin from the Na­tional As­set Man­age­ment Agency in Fe­bru­ary had pro­vided the po­ten­tial Reit with a “cor­ner­stone” as­set. Early Novem­ber saw prop­erty in­vest­ment and hos­pi­tal­ity group Te­trarch, whose as­sets in­clude the 764-bed­room Ci­ty­west Ho­tel in Sag­gart, Co Dublin and stakes in the Mount Juliet ho­tel and golf re­sort in Co Kilkenny, Pow­er­scourt ho­tel in Co Wick­low, and Ki­lashee ho­tel in Co Kil­dare, shelve plans for a 2018 IPO, which had been ex­pected to raise be­tween €200 mil­lion and €300 mil­lion. Days later, it be­came clear that US pri­vate eq­uity group Lone Star had put its plans for a €300 mil­lion-plus IPO of an Ir­ish house­builder on hold. The com­pany, called DRes, set up in part­ner­ship with Durkan Res­i­den­tial’s manag­ing di­rec­tor, Pa­trick Durkan, is un­der­stood to con­trol a land bank ca­pa­ble of de­liv­er­ing 6,400 houses and apart­ments.

T5 Oil & Gas, an African-fo­cused ex­plo­ration com­pany set up by a group of Tul­low Oil vet­er­ans, also de­cided last month to post­pone a Lon­don flota­tion as oil prices dived. It is un­der­stood that the com­pany, led by ex­ec­u­tive chair­man Pat Plun­kett, who chaired Tul­low Oil be­tween 2000 and 2011, is con­sid­er­ing a back-up plan of sell­ing a stake in it­self to a strate­gic in­vestor.

Mean­while, for­mer Ryanair fi­nance chief (above) Howard Mil­lar’s new air­craft leas­ing busi­ness, Sir­ius Air­craft Leas­ing Fund, de­cided at the start of this month to hold off on its Lon­don IPO un­til early in 2019, say­ing that some of the “sig­nif­i­cant in­vestors” that it has lined up were un­able to pay up on time for a planned trans­ac­tion in early De­cem­ber. Sir­ius aims to raise $250 mil­lion (€220mil­lion) be­fore float­ing to go about buy­ing sec­ond-hand plans and lease them on to air­lines. How­ever, some Ir­ish-re­lated flota­tions did man­age to get over the line. IPL Plas­tics, for­merly One51, raised 178 mil­lion Cana­dian dol­lars in an IPO and flota­tion on the Toronto Stock Ex­change in June. How­ever, its mar­ket value has sub­se­quently fallen by about a third. The same month, a new Ir­ish real-es­tate in­vest­ment trust, Yew Grove Reit, raised €75 mil­lion be­fore list­ing on the Dublin ex­change.Its shares are cur­rently trad­ing in line with their €1 IPO price.

PHO­TO­GRAPH: DAVE MEE­HAN

Alan Walsh, chief ex­ec­u­tive of IPL Plas­tics.

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