Irish

Tuesday 22 July 2014

Advisers shared in €54m fee windfall as part of Quinn deal

Colm Kelpie and Donal O'Donovan

Published 05/12/2012|05:00

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Law firms, bankers and accountants were among those who shared a total of €54m in fees for advising on the restructuring deal that saw the Quinn family lose control of the Quinn Group.

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The hefty figure was paid to a plethora of advisers who were involved in the restructuring of the company. The process took two years.

UK restructuring firms FTI, which advised lenders to the Quinn Group, Talbot Hughes McKillop, which advised the company itself, and US law firm Bingham McCutchen, which advised bondholders, were among those who shared in the fees.

The process was completed last December, when the Quinns lost control of the bulk of their global businesses. Lenders set up a new parent company for the group's manufacturing business – Quinn Group Holdco Ltd.

Anglo Irish Bank took a 24.9pc stake in the Quinn company. The bank claims it is owed €2.9bn.

The scale of the payout to advisers is revealed for the first time in financial accounts just filed with the Companies Office, for the year to the end of 2011.

The Irish Independent requested a breakdown of who received the fees. However, a spokesman for the group said it would not be commenting.

It emerged in September last year that internal Quinn Group documents showed professional fees totalling €30m had been paid by the beginning of the previous January.

The documents revealed that former chief executive Liam McCaffrey told colleagues that the costs were a "runaway train" and payments should be halted until the group's finances improved.

The group spokesman said current chief executive Paul O'Brien had nothing further to add beyond comments made when the company released its financial statements for 2011 earlier in the year.

Strengthening

At the time, Mr O'Brien said the restructuring had resulted in a substantial strengthening of the group's balance sheet.

"The group now has a sustainable level of debt for the scale of its operations and lending facilities for the next five years to enable and underpin the growth of our businesses," Mr O'Brien said.

The group pointed out that a reduction in debt of €913m had been achieved through the restructuring, resulting in net debt at the end of last year of €469m. The most up-to-date accounts filed with the Companies Office last month reveal turnover stood at €639m while operating profit was €25.8m.

The Quinn Group began making efforts to restructure its debt pile in late 2009 ahead of the 2010 maturity of a five-year €1.27bn bond.

Activity intensified from late March 2010 after the courts appointed an administrator to prime asset Quinn Insurance, and the outlook for the Quinn Group's refinancing worsened.

The principal activities of subsidiaries were manufacturing, namely container glass, plastics and packaging, radiators and construction products.

The accounts stated that trading conditions were challenging in the construction and radiator divisions, but that this was partially offset by strong performances from the glass and plastics division.

Net debt at December 31 was €501m, down from €1,307m in 2010.

Irish Independent

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