Business Irish

Friday 20 July 2018

Eircom emerges from historic bankruptcy

Eircom. Photo: PA
Eircom. Photo: PA
Donal O'Donovan

Donal O'Donovan

EIRCOM has emerged from the biggest bankruptcy in the history of the State, with shareholders stripped of their ownership and 40pc of its debts wiped out.

A 200-strong lender group led by US investment giant Blackstone has taken ownership of the company.

Previous owner Singapore Technologies Telemedia and an investment trust owned by Eircom employees lost their stakes in the company after it ran up more debt than the company could repay.

Yesterday's news ends two years of talks between the company and its lenders.

The talks finally came to a head when the country's largest telecoms' provider collapsed into insolvency on March 29.

Eircom was forced to go to the Commercial Court seeking protection from creditors owed €4bn, after lenders called in loans following breaches of debt covenants.

Accountant Michael McAteer of Grant Thornton was appointed examiner and given 70 days to oversee a rescue of the business.

That process ended yesterday with a formal exit from examinership.

Judge Peter Kelly at the Commercial Court signed off on a restructuring plan that hands ownership of the company to a group of secured lenders.

Now 40pc of Eircom's debts have been written off in order to return the company to viability.

The new shareholders have indicated that they will seek a buyer for Eircom in the near to medium term. In the meantime they have backed a five-year management plan in which 1,000 jobs are expected to be lost through voluntary redundancies and natural wastage.

Irish Independent

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