Business Irish

Sunday 17 December 2017

Anglo & BoSI have €100m exposure to Whelan Group

Quarrying giant is already seeking court protection from creditors, triggering fears for future of 150 staff

Laura Noonan

ANGLO Irish Bank and Bank of Scotland (Ireland) have a combined exposure of about €100m to quarrying giant the Whelan Group (Ennis), which is seeking court protection from its creditors.

Whelan's last week confirmed it would formally apply for the court-led examinership process on December 1, triggering fears for the firm's 150 staff.

The Irish Independent has learned that Whelan's lenders are also facing significant losses as a result of the proposed examinership.

The most recent figures published by the group show its bank debt stood at about €60m at the end of 2007, with the bankers listed as Anglo and BOSI.

It is understood that the debt pile has since risen to about €100m. The debts were secured on the assets of the company, as well as personal guarantees and guarantees on the life insurance policies of some of Whelan's directors.

Anglo registered a fresh charge against Whelan's property, goodwill and licences on March 10, 2010, and holds three other charges. None are registered as satisfied.

The only BOSI charge is dated July, 2004 and covers plant and machinery. It is not listed as satisfied.

The 2007 filings also show that Whelan's was suffering even before the economic collapse, racking up losses of more than €18m that year as it re-valued its quarries down by almost €12.5m and took an exceptional hit of €6.4m.

In a note signed off in April 2010, Whelan's directors said trading for 2007 was "strong" and had held up in 2008.

"The recent downturn in the economy and in particular the construction sector has led to a reduction in demand in 2009 and 2010," they added in the note.

The company responded by cutting overheads in line with its projected turnover fall, and the directors were "confident" that Whelan's would "maintain profitable trading results".

Irish Independent

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