Malin will not hire new CEO to replace Howd

State-backed life sciences investor Malin will not hire a new CEO, and will instead look for a chief investment officer.

The new hire will report to Malin’s board, alongside chief financial officer Darragh Lyons. Malin chairman Ian Curley said the new hire will focus on the detail of Malin’s portfolio companies and identify potential new assets.

The hunt comes after former CEO Adrian Howd departed the company last month.

Yesterday Malin hosted its first ever capital markets day, presenting on the outcome of a strategic review that will see it focus in the main on four core assets. The shares soared in Dublin yesterday, up more than 12.5pc in late afternoon trading. But they were still less than half their IPO price – leaving the State sitting on a loss of more than 50pc on its initial €50m investment.

Ultimately, they closed up 5pc at €4.50 last night.

Malin went on a spending spree after a €330m IPO and a number of further share issuances. The company has around €30m in cash left, but is hoping to add to that once its investee companies generate realisable returns.

Mr Lyons said a large proportion of capital realised from investee companies would be returned to shareholders.

He said he didn’t anticipate returning to the market to raise more money, with the plan being to fund any new assets from capital generated from investees. The company has a number of investment targets following on from its backing from the State, which came via the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund.

It undertook to invest €150m in Irish life sciences companies, or firms with significant operations in Ireland. It also pledged that 10 of the companies in which it invests will employ at least 200 people in Ireland on a full-time basis over the following five years after investment – ie by spring 2020.

As of June 30 last, it had invested €103m in nine Irish companies. There were 65 Irish-based employees.

Executives said yesterday the company still hopes to meet the targets.

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