Saturday 21 October 2017

Doyle Group and UK bank settle debt sale dispute

Tim Healy

A DISPUTE over a bank's sale to a hedge fund of loans for some €67m owed to it by a shipping firm has been settled.

The Doyle Group, which acts as a holding company for several firms providing shipping and warehousing services at all major Irish ports, wanted to refinance its Bank of Scotland (BoS) loan and claimed BoS's sale to the Blue Bay fund would be damaging for it and its workers.

In its action, the group claimed the BoS's attempt to sell the debt to a third party amounts to breach of a May 2012 agreement between the parties. BoS had denied any wrongdoing.

Yesterday at the Commercial Court, following talks between the parties, Michael Howard, a barrister for the group, told Judge Brian McGovern the matter had been settled, and could be struck out.

The group had previously failed to secure an injunction restraining BoS transferring to any third party any right, interest or obligation under that May 2012 agreement pending the full hearing of the dispute.

In seeking the injunction, the group, who had brought an action for damages against BoS, claimed it was in the process of refinancing its BoS loans with Ulster Bank when it learned, much to its surprise, BoS had entered into a second process concerning selling the group's debt to third parties.

The company feared if the debt is sold to the hedge fund, its assets could be stripped down and sold off, ultimately destroying the companies and affecting several hundred jobs.

BoS denied it acted in breach of its agreement with the Doyle Group.

It also claimed Blue Bay will act no differently than the bank in dealing with the Doyle Group.

Irish Independent

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