Irish

Wednesday 20 August 2014

We have Quinn's moral support – businessmen attempting takeover

Sarah Stack

Published 09/07/2014 | 02:30

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Sean Quinn Snr. Picture: GERRY MOONEY
Sean Quinn Snr. Picture: GERRY MOONEY

SEAN Quinn has no involvement with a group of businessmen from the north-west who plan to takeover the former tycoon's manufacturing plants.

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The consortium, which includes former Quinn Group executives, hopes the deal to run two divisions of the Quinn's old business empire will be complete within two months.

The group are being backed by UK private equity house Endless, which has already started due diligence and examining its books.

The financial details of the buyout from Aventas Manufacturing Group, appointed when the Quinn Group was put in to receivership, has not been disclosed but the businessmen and Endless are expected to spend tens of millions of euros.

Businessman John McCartin insisted investors are getting nothing more than moral support from the Quinn family.

"The fact of the matter is the Quinns just aren't involved," said Mr McCartin, a local Fine Gael councillor and the chief executive of Newtowngore engineering in Leitrim.

"Endless know nothing about the Quinns and the Quinns know nothing about Endless. Endless is a very independent house."

It is understood the only reason the consortium has publically named Endless as the backer was to quash suggestions that the bankrupt-former billionaire was somehow involved.

But Mr McCartin admitted the plans could not be completed without the family's support.

"Almost all the funders we spoke to had the greatest respect for our reasons to do this and believed the management team were the right people to run it, but they just didn't want their names attached to the problems that were there," he added.

"Sean Quinn will be happy the legacy of his business will be protected. We have his moral support and that's all."

A member of the Quinn family said Mr Quinn would not be commenting on the proposed takeover.

Under the proposed deal private equity firm Endless will be the main owner of the business, which employs hundreds of people. The local investors plan to buy out their UK backers and take full control in about five years.

Mr McCartin and businessmen Ernie Fisher and John (Bosco) O'Hagan will each hold one share in the firm and will be directors. Other directors will include Mr Quinn's former number two Liam McCaffrey, the group's ex-chief financial officer Dara O'Reilly and development officer Kevin Lunny. Several former middle managers will also return.

Talks

Aventas is now in talks to sell its construction industry supplies and packaging businesses in Derrylin, Co Fermanagh and Ballyconnell, Co Cavan and Granard, Co Longford.

The companies for sale make cement, tarmac, roof tiles, blocks and packaging, but not the glass, plastics and radiator plants that are the jewels in the former Quinn empire.

Investors hope vandalism and attacks which have plagued sites in recent years will ease now a local management team will be put in place.

"We are excited with the prospect of returning to these businesses that we have previously worked in and managed," said Mr McCaffrey.

Irish Independent

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