Business Irish

Friday 19 September 2014

Embittered sides in cinema dispute agree to mediation

Tim Healy

Published 23/01/2013 | 05:00

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A DISPUTE affecting the operator of the capital's Savoy and Screen cinemas, the Dublin Cinema Group (DCG), is to go to mediation.

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The dispute allegedly arises out of a bid by one of the owners of DCG to get involved in opening a multiplex in the St Stephen's Green Centre which it is claimed could damage business at the Savoy and Screen.

Paul Ward, of Mount Merrion Avenue, Dublin, has brought a derivative action – an action by a shareholder on behalf of a company – against Paul Anderson, of Shrewsbury Rd, Dublin, and Omniplex Holdings.

Mr Anderson and members of his family, including his son Mark, own Omniplex Holdings, with registered offices at Fitzwilliam Square, Dublin. Mr Anderson is also the chairman of the DCG board, while Paul Ward is the company secretary.

Yesterday, as a hearing over the dispute was about to start, Mr Justice Peter Charleton urged both sides to consider mediation rather than have the matter fully fought out in public. Following a short adjournment, lawyers representing the respective parties said their clients were agreeable to the judge's proposal.

It is understood that barrister Anthony Barr is to act as mediator. The judge said that if mediation did not work out, he was prepared to start hearing the case today.

In his action, Mr Ward alleges that Mr Anderson was approached in 2009 with an opportunity to open a multiplex cinema in St Stephen's Green Centre and had, through Omniplex Holdings, entered into an agreement to operate such a cinema.

In doing so, Mr Ward alleges Mr Anderson acted contrary to the best interests of DCG, and had created a conflict of interest between his interests and those of DCG.

The operation of a multiplex cinema at St Stephen's Green Centre would cause considerable damage to the Savoy and Screen cinemas, says Mr Ward.

Mr Ward wants a number of orders including one restraining Mr Anderson participating in the management, operation, or ownership of the multiplex cinema, and also wants judgment against the defendants over alleged unjust enrichment.

In the second action, Mr Anderson has petitioned for an order winding up DCG, with registered offices at Stillorgan, Dublin.

While he and Mr Ward have been involved in the business of DCG since about 1984, the relationship between the Ward and Anderson families has irretrievably broken down and a situation of deadlock exists to such an extent the company should be wound up, he claims.

Mr Anderson alleged Mr Ward has, in the derivative action, made "untrue" and "unfounded" allegations, including that Mr Anderson had "leveraged" his position as chairman of DCG to obtain increased discounts and rebates from suppliers to companies controlled by Mr Anderson's family, and of diverting payments due to DCG to such companies.

Irish Independent

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