HomeBussinessVision Capital nominees voted on to I-RES board

Vision Capital nominees voted on to I-RES board


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Shareholders of Ireland’s largest private residential landlord have backed the election to the board of two nominees of a dissatisfied shareholder which has been seeking change at the company for some time.

Richard Nesbitt was approved by 99.94% of those who voted at today’s annual general meeting (AGM) of I-RES REIT, while Amy Freedman was supported by 99.24%.

Their election was proposed as part of a co-operation agreement reached last month between I-RES’s board and Canadian shareholder, Vision Capital, which has long been unhappy with how the business is being run.

Speaking during the AGM, I-RES board chair Hugh Scott-Barrett said the agreement is important and in the interests of shareholders as it resolves a lengthy, damaging and costly dispute.

He said the two nominees had breadth and depth of experience working on company boards which made them the best candidates to complement the existing directors.

Mr Scott-Barrett also reiterated early findings from an ongoing strategic review that the medium term outlook for the company is positive.

Speaking to the media afterwards, Mr Scott-Barrett confirmed the company has not received any proposals to acquire the company’s assets, either in whole or in part, as a consequence of that review.

He said he hoped that by the time of the half year results in August the strategic review would be more significantly advanced.

But he wouldn’t speculate on what the outcome of the exercise was likely to be.

Asked further about a question from a shareholder during the AGM about whether the company has had conversations with Sinn Féin ahead of the next general election, CEO Eddie Byrne said it was much less about who is in Government than it is about having a stable Government.

“Residential development, and as we’ve said we need many more houses of all types, has a long term cycle in it,” he said.

“So Government lasting for five years that can make long term decisions is really really important.”

“Whatever the Government is will need to be able to address the housing crisis we have today.”

“So it is not the hue of the Government, it is the stability of the Government that is really really important.”

He added that having a rent regulation regime that is less blunt than the one in place today would be very useful in terms of increasing supply.

Earlier, in a trading update, I-RES said its occupancy levels remained strong during the first quarter at 99.5%, up slightly from 99.4% at the end of December.

It said it was seeing “exceptional demand” for rental accommodation in Ireland.

Total revenue in the quarter declined by 3.9%, which it said reflected the impact of strategic asset disposals completed in the second half of 2023.

It said the net effect of this was broadly neutral as the proceeds were used to repay higher cost debt and strengthen its balance sheet.

“Our business continues to be supported by highly recurring cashflows and strong rent collections, which remain in excess of 99% and in line with 2023,” it added.

I-RES REIT said it continues to maintain its focus on prudent balance sheet and capital management.

Eddie Byrne, CEO of I-RES, said the company has continued its momentum from 2023 into the first quarter of 2024, delivering another strong operational performance.

“Occupancy rates across our portfolio continue to be in excess of 99%, demonstrating the high-quality nature of our assets in attractive locations, and driven by our market leading digital operating platform,” Mr Byrne said.

“We continue to believe the medium-term outlook for both the PRS sector in Ireland and the I-RES portfolio remains positive, underpinned by strong levels of demand which far outstrip supply,” he added.

Mr Byrne also said that I-RES REIT is continuing to conduct a “thorough and comprehensive” strategic review at pace.

He said this is attempting to unlock the inherent value contained with the I-RES operating platform and maximise value for shareholders.

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