81 positions saved across River Media after deal with creditors
MORE than 80 jobs have been saved after a media group based mainly in the northwest secured a deal with its creditors to come out of receivership.
River Media Group, which controls six regional titles including the 'Derry News' and 'Donegal Post', went into receivership on Friday, putting 81 jobs at risk.
After a feverish weekend of negotiations, First Trust bank has accepted a restructuring of the company and River Media Newspapers Ltd (RMN) has now acquired all six titles from the RSM Farrell Grant Sparks joint receiver managers and PwC.
Under terms of the deal, all employees have been transferred to the RMN and their terms and conditions remain unchanged.
The company had been struggling for a number of years under a debt burden that was built up when the group was expanding during the boom.
In 2009, the company made a loss of just under €1.7m after a €3.3m loss in 2008.
Company chief executive Padraig O'Dwyer said: "While conditions in the advertising market remain challenging, the group is highly centralised and operating off a very low cost base.
"The group is now on a sustainable footing and the board is confident that all six titles have a bright future."
Tim Collins, a co-founder and director of the group, said the company's future had now been secured.
"We're very pleased with the deal. While the company overall had a severe debt burden, the individual papers were all profitable and were sustainable."
"The four titles in the Republic [the 'Inish Times', 'Donegal Post', 'Letterkenny Post' and 'Kildare Post'] and the two in the North ['Derry News' and 'County Derry Post'] can now move forward and we are optimistic for the future," he said.
Northern Media Group, which runs a number of local radio stations and is part-controlled by Mr O'Dwyer and Mr Collins, as well as Donegal station Ocean FM, were not effected by River Media's problems and are trading as normal, Mr Collins added.