Business Person of the Month

March 2017: Paul Coulson, executive chairman, Ardagh Group

By Business & Finance
21 March 2017
Paul Coulson Ardagh opening bell NYSE
Paul Coulson, executive chairman of Ardagh Group, rings the opening bell alongside John Sheehan, director of Investor Relations of Ardagh Group, David Matthews, CFO of Ardagh Group, and Ian Curley, CEO of Ardagh Group, at the Group’s listing day at NYSE

March has been an exceptionally successful one for the Ardagh Group boss as the organisation held an initial public offering (IPO) of its shares at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).

On Wednesday, March 15th, shares jumped to $22.74 quickly after the Group’s executive chairman Paul Coulson rang the opening bell of the New York Stock Exchange. Shares closed at 18.2% stronger at €22.465.

On March 20th, Ardagh Group announced the closing of IPO at $19 per share, as well as the sale of an additional 2.43 million Class A common shares pursuant to the exercise in full of the option granted to the underwriters to purchase additional Class A common shares.

Following completion of this offering, Ardagh has over 236 million shares in issue, comprising 18.63 million Class A common shares and over 217 million Class B common shares.

Net proceeds to the Group from the offering, and the exercise of the underwriters’ option to purchase additional Class A common shares, were approximately $319m after deducting underwriting discounts and commissions and other offering expenses.

Ardagh Group operates 109 facilities in 22 countries, employing approximately 23,500 people and has global sales of approximately €7.7bn. Its products include conical, rectangular, and oval shaped steel and aluminium cans for multi and single-serve use; glass bottles and jars; steel and aluminium aerosols; single-serve bowls; kegs; and custom products, including cigar boxes, rectangular steel boxes, peanut cans, and coffee cans.

The company serves personal care, household, food and industrial, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverage, pet food, seafood, and pharmaceutical sectors worldwide.


Ardagh Group also recently announced an important investment in its Rugby manufacturing plant in the UK for the purpose of converting its beverage can production capabilities from steel to aluminium.

This venture will serve to support committed partnership agreements with some of the most well-established beverage brands in the world. The timeline for the conversion involves project commencement in Q4 2017 and with an anticipated completion in Q1 2018.

The investment in the UK plant’s manufacturing capabilities signals intent from Ardagh Group in the continued development of its recently acquired beverage can business.

The Rugby UK plant was first established in 1989 as a two-line aluminium plant. In 1996, the plant was converted to steel to support customer needs at that time.

Processes within the plant are currently being optimised via Ardagh’s Wrexham plant and other locations across Europe to ensure that customer expectations continue to be met during the plant’s downtime.

Universally recognised for its protective qualities, versatility and environmental credentials, metal has the strongest recycling rates of all packaging materials in Europe, thus effectively contributing to the fundamental principles of a circular economy.

CV highlights 

  • A TCD graduate, Ardagh chairman Paul Coulson qualified as an accountant with PwC, founded Bates Coulson & Co, entered aviation leasing and set up Yeoman International Group in 1982.
  • He took over the former Irish Glass Bottle Company in 1998, setting off on a lengthy series of expansions and acquisitions that continues to the present day, and closed its landmark Ringsend plant in 2002.
  • In March 2017 Ardagh Group announced the closing of IPO at $19 per share.

Business & Finance, Business Person of the Month

Business Person the MonthBusiness & Finance, in association with KPMG, rewards excellence in business through the ‘Business Person of the Month’ award. This award seeks to recognise noteworthy achievements in business leadership, and, particularly, those that make a telling contribution to the wider business community in Ireland.