Belfast Telegraph

Irish Tayto chief resigns after 35 years following buyout deal

By John Mulligan

Businessman Ray Coyle has resigned as chairman and director of the company behind Tayto in the Republic of Ireland, ending his 35-year relationship with the snack maker.

His departure comes following the takeover of the business by German food group Intersnack in 2015.

Mr Coyle has resigned as a director of both Tayto Crisps and its parent company, Largo Foods, which he founded in 1982.

Largo also produces the Hunky Dory and King crisp brands. It bought the Tayto name from C&C in 2006.

Mr Coyle sold an initial 15% stake in Largo Foods to Intersnack in 2007 for €15m (£13m).

The businessman later sold a further stake in the company to the German firm, and in 2015 handed his final 25% holding in Largo to Intersnack.

Mr Coyle had an option to buy back an 11% stake in 2015, but did not exercise it.

When he sold his remaining cut, he agreed to remain as a director and chairman of the firms until at least this year.

Company filings show Mr Coyle, who could not be contacted yesterday, resigned as a director at the end of December.

But his other connections to Tayto continue. The businessman opened Tayto Park in 2010, putting millions of euro of his own money into the venture, which is situated beside the Tayto factory in Ashbourne, Co Meath.

The park has grown to become one of the country's biggest visitor attractions. It was ranked number six among paid attractions in 2015 by Failte Ireland, luring 750,000 visitors that year.

It is also home to Europe's largest wooden roller coaster, the Cu Chulainn, which opened in 2015.

This year, the park is opening a major water ride, dubbed the Viking Voyage.

It will also include a Viking village.

Mr Coyle, who started his working life as a potato farmer, raffled off 280 acres of land in 1982 in order to pay back money owed to banks as his business struggled.

The businessman has a number of other investments outside Tayto Park.

He is an investor in Cork-based firm Everseen, whose technology helps prevent fraud, theft and irregularities at points of sale in stores.

Intersnack has a other interests and owns a raft of other brands including Hula-Hoops, KP and Skips.

Belfast Telegraph