Saturday 24 March 2018

End of the road for Treasury as liquidators to seize control

A file on the collapse of Treasury Holdings will be sent to the Director of Corporate Enforcement following the expected appointment of liquidators early next week.

At the High Court yesterday, Judge Brian McGovern said he expected to appoint joint liquidators Michael McAteer and Paul McCann of Grant Thornton to take control of the Johnny Ronan and Richard Barrett-owned group on Tuesday.

Treasury was once valued at billions but liquidation became inevitable after the company said yesterday that it would no longer try to block lender KBC Bank's bid to have it liquidated over €70m of overdue debt.

The debt is just a fraction of Treasury's total €2.7bn of debt but it has been overdue since 2009.

Treasury's biggest lender is the State-controlled NAMA. NAMA is owed €1.7bn by Treasury and yesterday backed KBC's action to have it shut down.

On Tuesday, Judge McGovern is set to examine Treasury's controversial sale of two Asian subsidiaries to Richard Barrett in August.

The €2m deal was announced after KBC had gone to court to have Treasury shut down for not paying its debt.

Treasury was ordered to provide a written explanation of the deal at an earlier court hearing in August.

Yesterday, lawyers for KBC said the bank said papers filed by Treasury failed to explain the deal to the bank's satisfaction.


Barrister Ross Gorman, acting for Treasury, said the company had complied with the court order to provide an affidavit explaining the transaction.

The judge said Treasury Holdings was continuing with its undertaking not to sell any more assets before next Tuesday's hearing.

The appointment of liquidators will mark the end of Mr Ronan and Mr Barrett's control of the property firm they set up in 1989.

Unlike a receivership, the appointment of a liquidator means a report into the collapse of the business must be prepared and sent to the Director of Corporate Enforcement, who will then determine whether company directors have any questions to answer in relation to the collapse.

Liquidators must also examine any sale of assets to a related party in the two years before the collapse, to determine whether such disposals were fraudulent. That means the August sale of Asian assets to Mr Barrett will be examined in detail by the team from Grant Thornton.

Liquidation of the Treasury Holdings parent company means its 45 employees will automatically be made redundant.

With dozens of subsidiaries managing hundreds of millions of assets for the liquidators, many employees may be re-hired to help handle the winding-up.

Hundreds more workers at associated companies including the National Convention Centre in Dublin and Ritz Carlton Hotel in Co Wicklow will not be directly affected by the liquidation.

Irish Independent

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