The Irish Times reports that the “Ulster Bank has moved to block any sale by property developer Liam Carroll of over half his 29.5 per cent stake in food group Greencore.” The Irish High Court had been told that Ulster Bank had adopted a “neutral” stance in relation to the second attempt by the Carroll-controlled Zoe Group, with debts of 1.2 billion, to seek court protection for its survival plan. From the IT report
Solicitors Matheson Ormsby Prentice said in a stock market filing yesterday that Ulster acquired rights over a 15.9 per cent shareholding in Greencore. The filing, which said the rights were acquired last Friday, prompted a drop of almost 6 per cent in Greencore shares. The beneficial holder of the shares shall not be entitled to exercise the voting rights in respect of the shares otherwise than in accordance with the written instructions of Ulster Bank Ireland Ltd, the filing said.
Although the filing did not name Mr Carroll or any of his companies as the ultimate owner of the 15.9 per cent Greencore stake, it was immediately interpreted in high-level banking and stockbroking circles as a reference to him.
No other Greencore shareholder has a stake exceeding 11.7 per cent and a series of Companies Office filings in 2006 and 2007 show that Ulster financed Mr Carrolls acquisition of shares in the company. Greencore declined to comment and Ulster Bank declined to comment.