No end in sight for DCC's legal battle
Published 20/06/2010 | 05:00
DCC's disposal this week of its mobility and rehabilitation business -- basically wheelchairs and scooters -- still leaves the company mired in a nine-year legal battle with Taiwanese company Pihsiang Machinery Manufacturing.
On Thursday, DCC announced that its healthcare division had sold the mobility and rehabilitation business to US healthcare group Patterson Companies for €37m. However, shareholders hoping that the disposal might signal the beginning of dismantling of the healthcare division, whose financial performance has been erratic in recent years, are likely to be disappointed with DCC chief executive Tommy Breen after he stated that "the disposal of DCC Mobility & Rehab is consistent with our strategy to concentrate the focus of DCC Healthcare on our larger healthcare businesses".
Even more disappointing is the fact that the disposal doesn't bring DCC's legal battle with Pihsiang to an end. This dates back to 2002 when Pihsiang declined to renew a contract with DCC's mobility and rehabilitation business to distribute its 'Shoprider' mobility scooter in Europe.
DCC sued and was awarded £10.2m in the High Court in London. It then took enforcement proceedings against Pihsiang in Taiwan. Eight years later the amount owed to DCC has grown to £22m (€27m) when costs and interest are added.
Breen ensured shareholders that, despite the disposal, DCC was "vigorously pursuing" the money. Don't hold your breath lads.