Eason seeks court’s okay in deal to pay investors €60m

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Eason seeks court’s okay in deal to pay investors €60m


Eason’s flagship store on Dublin’s O’Connell Street
Eason’s flagship store on Dublin’s O’Connell Street

BOOK and newspaper retailer Eason is seeking court approval for a demerger of companies within the group which could lead to some €60m being available for distribution to shareholders from sales from its property portfolio.

Eason Holdings wants the Commercial Court to confirm a decision, following an extraordinary general meeting last September, to reduce the company’s share premium account by €47.2m and reduce its capital by the cancellation of 20 million ordinary shares valued at €15m in total.

It is part of a reorganisation of the company which has a property portfolio valued at between €88m and €96m

Eason Holdings director Liam Hanly says in an affidavit that the capital share reductions were unanimously passed at last September’s meeting.

He says in 2013 the Eason Group started a process of separating the property and retail trading arms of Eason and Son Ltd.

This followed a decision that existing group structures were no longer optimal.

It was decided to streamline the group with a view to facilitating property and/or trade disposals in the future.

The board is currently of the view that the company is over capitalised with the majority of realisable shareholder value reflected in the value of its property portfolio, Mr Hanly says.

It has therefore developed a decision framework whereby it is to realise as much value as possible by selling freehold properties within the group and deliver the majority of capital proceeds back to shareholders.

At the same time, it wants to create a viable, appropriately capitalised and commercially independent trading company.

Following disposal of the property element, there is expected to be €60m in 2020 for distribution to shareholders, Mr Hanly says.

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The share capital reduction application came before Mr Justice Robert Haughton yesterday, when he adjourned the matter for hearing on March 1.

Irish Independent

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