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Sunday Business Post Online: Shell and Statoil owners offer share buy-in to staff

18 November 2007 
By Gavin Daly

The founders of Ion Equity, the Dublin finance house that owns a range of businesses including Shell and Statoil, have sold shares in the business to their staff for the first time.

The firm has issued stakes to some of its investment staff in Dublin and London, including directors Patrick Hogan, David Fewer and Alex Noton.

Ion’s founders, Neil O’Leary, Ulric Kenny and Joe Devine, still own about 80 per cent of the business.

It is understood that the firm was keen to reward and keep its investment staff. The staff have previously shared equity in some deals completed by Ion, whose interests include travel firm Usit, Shell and Statoil in Ireland and alternative energy and outsourcing firm SWS.

Ion recently sold Ocean Media, a British firm involved in exhibitions, conferencing and magazine publishing, for £100 million, just 15 months after it bought the business for £41 million. As well as Ion, private clients of Anglo Irish Bank were among the beneficiaries of that deal.

Accounts for Ion Equity Limited show that the firm had an accumulated profit of almost €1.1 million at the end of last year, up from €402,000 a year earlier. It had almost €3.5 million in cash on its balance sheet, up from €766,000 at the end of 2005. However, the abridged accounts do not cover the full extent of Ion’s business interests.

Ion is in the running to buy Breeo, whose brands include Galtee, Dairygold and Calvita. Breeo is the consumer foods division of Reox Holdings, a Dairygold Co-op spin-off. Ion made an unsolicited approach during the summer, sparking a formal sale process. and its sister websites,,,,, and are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article.

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