Business Irish

Wednesday 18 July 2018

Creditors of bankrupt O'Reilly to get dividend

Mr O'Reilly was declared bankrupt in the Bahamas in 2015.
Mr O'Reilly was declared bankrupt in the Bahamas in 2015.
John Mulligan

John Mulligan

Tony O'Reilly's bankruptcy trustee plans to declare an interim dividend to the businessman's creditors by the end of September, marking what is thought to be the first time proceeds secured from the sale of a swathe of assets that once belonged to the ex-billionaire will be distributed.

Mr O'Reilly was declared bankrupt in the Bahamas in 2015. Luxury homes and even furniture are among the assets that have been sold since then by the bankruptcy trustee.

In a notice published this week in the official State gazette, 'Iris Oifigiúil', bankruptcy trustee Alastair Beveridge of AlixPartners has told creditors he intends to declare the interim dividend within two months of the last date for proving claims, which is July 31.

"Any creditor wishing to participate in the interim dividend must lodge his proof of debt with the trustee no later than July 31," the notice states.

Although any creditor who does not lodge proof of debt at that stage will be excluded from the interim distribution, they will not be excluded from any subsequent distribution, or the final distribution that will be paid by the trustee. Mr O'Reilly, once a pillar of Ireland's business world and the country's first ever billionaire, was declared bankrupt in 2015 in the Bahamas, where he was resident for about 20 years.

He had amassed crippling debts, at one stage amounting to as much as €200m.

Under pressure from creditors before being declared bankrupt, Mr O'Reilly, a former chief executive of Heinz and one-time majority shareholder in Independent News & Media and its ex-CEO, had already been offloading assets. He sold his beloved Castlemartin estate in Co Kildare in 2015 to US media billionaire John Malone for €28m.

Among Mr O'Reilly's creditors is AIB, which had opposed his efforts to be declared bankrupt in the Bahamas.

Last month, the commercial court here appointed receivers to take control and sell shares in Dromoland Castle that are owned by Mr O'Reilly. The 6.8pc stake in the hotel is valued at about €1.9m.

The appointment arose out of AIB's continued efforts to recover money on foot of a €22m High Court judgment secured against Mr O'Reilly and two of his investment vehicles in 2014.

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