Carroll winding down property giant Orthanc
But embattled developer still committed to salvaging Dunloe
Published 05/01/2010 | 05:00
EMBATTLED developer Liam Carroll has begun the orderly wind-down of the Orthanc Group, the property development giant behind his substantial Tallaght portfolio.
Notices placed in yesterday's papers show the 'shycoon' is planning on Thursday to appoint a liquidator to Orthanc, which has debts of close to €400m.
Seven related companies have also been earmarked for winding up and will hold creditors' meetings on the same day.
The move comes three months after the High Court appointed a liquidator to Mr Carroll's Zoe Group, a move the developer's legal team argued would lead to the collapse of all 51 companies within Zoe.
Zoe, Orthanc, and a third group called Dunloe together make up the three planks of Mr Carroll's once-massive property empire. The three groups were all owned by one parent, the Showlay Group.
Despite being outside the collapsed Zoe, Orthanc was drawn into the limelight before Christmas when both Ulster Bank and AIB installed receivers to Orthanc companies.
Sources close to the process confirmed yesterday that Mr Carroll was planning to formally wind up Orthanc at the creditors' meeting on Thursday, with BDO's Jim Hamilton understood to have been teed up to become liquidator.
Describing the move as a "tidying up procedure", one source stressed that the creditors' meetings were being called in the name of "good corporate governance", which mandates directors to bring an orderly close to insolvent companies.
Sources stressed, however, that while Mr Carroll had begun to wind up Orthanc, he remained committed to salvaging Dunloe.
Orthanc is best known for a number of Tallaght developments, including the Tallaght Cross and the Glashaus hotels.
Orthanc subsidiary Keenbury Properties is already in the hands of receiver Paul McCann, who is acting on behalf of Ulster Bank, while fellow Orthanc company Dez Developments is in the hands of receiver Ken Fennell, representing AIB.
The appointment of a liquidator to the Orthanc group will have no impact on the receiverships, since the banks have first call on the assets.
Sources close to the process said it was "extremely unlikely" that there would be any assets left to be divided between the creditors of Orthanc, or any of the other companies.
The prospect of the notoriously private Mr Carroll attending Thursday's meetings was also described as "very unlikely"; while one director must attend, sources said it would most likely be one of Mr Carroll's lieutenants.
The first creditors' meeting is for a subsidiary called Wasatech and begins at 10am in the Gresham Hotel, while the last is for Orthanc Holdings itself, at 6pm.
The meetings will be open to creditors of the eight named companies: Orthanc Holdings, Orthanc Hotel & Leisure, Lozeto, Gerdando, Alvalmara Trading, Astranna, Bayletta and Delvino.