McInerney pleads for further court protection
PROPERTY owned by the McInerney construction group is now worth less than €30m -- far below the €194m valuation placed on it at the end of last year, the High Court heard yesterday.
Mr Justice Frank Clarke will give his decision on Monday as to whether McInerney should continue to have High Court protection against its creditors.
Information supplied to the court yesterday by examiner William O'Riordan showed that property owned by the group was now estimated to be worth between €25m and €30m.
The property is security on a number of debts, including €115m owed to a syndicate of three banks -- KBC, Bank of Ireland and Anglo Irish -- who are opposing the continuation of examinership.
Yesterday, Eoin McCullough, senior counsel for the examiner, urged the judge to continue the examinership, so that a survival scheme, involving an investment by US private equity house Oaktree Capital, could be put in place by the end of next week.
Earlier, barrister Rossa Fanning, for the three banks, said the court was being treated to a "salami strategy" of examinership, so that Oaktree could buy the McInerney companies at the cheapest price.
The scheme of survival now before the court was materially different from the one first presented and it should not be allowed to continue, he said.
The court also heard that another creditor, Ulster Bank, which is owed €15m, was supporting the survival scheme, as was the group of five McInerney companies. They have been under High Court protection from creditors since late August, when Mr O'Riordan was appointed examiner.
Oaktree has been in negotiations with the examiner to take a stake for €40m in the group, which has businesses in the Republic and in England and is willing to invest €10m in the Irish operation as part of a rescue plan.