GIC eyes large minority stake in Irish telecoms group Eir: Reports

GIC is poised to buy a large minority stake in Irish telecoms group Eir, the Financial Times reported on Thursday (June 9).
GIC is poised to buy a large minority stake in Irish telecoms group Eir, the Financial Times reported on Thursday (June 9). PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

SINGAPORE - Singapore's sovereign wealth fund GIC is poised to buy a large minority stake in Irish telecoms group Eir, the Financial Times reported on Thursday (June 9).

The Irish Times added in its report on Thursday that the Qatar Investment Authority is in talks to acquire a major stake in Eir as some of its main hedge fund shareholders seek an exit.

Eir was bought in 2010 by Singapore Technologies Telemedia (STT), a unit of Temasek Holdings. But STT exited its investment in 2012 after Eir's senior lenders rejected its restructuring plan at the height of the euro debt crisis that would have ranked an investment by the company above other creditors in the event Ireland dropped out of the euro zone, said the Irish Times.

Eir's biggest shareholders are three US hedge funds: Anchorage Capital, which owns 38 per cent, York Capital with 15 per cent, and Davidson Kempner with 12 per cent.

Eir incurred €4.1 billion of gross debt through five ownership changes before filing the country's biggest ever bankruptcy protection petition in 2012, said the Irish Times. This resulted in its most senior lenders, led by Blackstone, seizing control of the company as €1.8 billion of debt was written off, the paper added.

EIR's revenue for the year ended June 30, 2015, was €1.3 billion and adjusted earnings were €481 million.

Last year, GIC and partners announced a £1.1 billion bid to acquire a third of the combined businesses of UK telecoms groups Three and O2. However, that deal was blocked last month by the European Commission.