Monday 25 September 2017

Irish Pride executive to take job fight to court

The acquisition will seal Pat the Baker's position as one of the country's biggest bakers.
The acquisition will seal Pat the Baker's position as one of the country's biggest bakers.
John Mulligan

John Mulligan

A senior executive at Irish Pride Bakeries is fighting a decision by receivers to terminate his role in the business, the Irish Independent understands.

Conor Brennan is the business development director at Irish Pride, which is being sold to Pat the Baker.

However, it's believed receivers moved to make him redundant during the summer and Mr Brennan took legal action to prevent that.

He secured an interim injunction in August preventing his termination and his case will be heard today.

Court records show that Mr Brennan secured the injunction on August 24, just over two weeks after the sale to Pat the Baker was confirmed, and he continues to be employed at Irish Pride.

Irish Pride went into receivership in June. It had been sold for a reported €6m by investment group One51 in 2014 to WHW Bakeries, controlled by Dublin-based investors Garret and William Lloyd.

KPMG receivers Kieran Wallace and Shane McCarthy put the business up for sale in the summer and received a number of bids.

Kieran Wallace declined to comment on the case being taken by Mr Brennan, while solicitors for Mr Brennan weren't contactable yesterday before going to print. Longford-based firm Pat the Baker emerged as the eventual buyer of the troubled firm. It acquired an Irish Pride plant in Taghmon, Co Wexford, that employs about 250 people. That plant will remain open.

However, Pat the Baker has acquired the equipment, and not the site, of the Irish Pride plant in Ballinrobe, Co Mayo, which is closing.

That meant about 80 people are likely to lose their jobs.

Irish Pride makes 15,500 deliveries of wrapped bread and soft rolls to retailers across Ireland every week.

The planned acquisition has been referred to the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, which has extended its phase one investigation of the deal.

The acquisition will seal Pat the Baker's position as one of the country's biggest bakers.

Pat the Baker already employs 400 people, directly and indirectly. It has distribution centres in Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Kilkenny, Letterkenny, Castleisland, Galway and Armagh.

Declan Taite and Pearse Farrell of Duff & Phelps were initially appointed receivers by original Irish Pride lender Close Brothers in June.

Just a week later, US private equity group Gores bought loans attached to Irish Pride and replaced the receivers with Mr Wallace and Mr McCarthy. Gores used a Luxembourg vehicle to buy the loans.

Irish Independent

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