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Examiner for debt-ridden TV firm Chorus

CABLE company Chorus was yesterday put into voluntary examinership. The High Court appointed John McStay as an interim examiner to the company which owes 20 banks and shareholders a total of ?385m.

CABLE company Chorus was yesterday put into voluntary examinership.

The High Court appointed John McStay as an interim examiner to the company which owes 20 banks and shareholders a total of ?385m.

The company, which is now owned by US group Liberty Media, said in a petition that despite approaches to its banking consortium and shareholders, it had not proved possible at this stage to agree further funding.

Chorus, and its related company Princes Holdings Limited (PHL), are currently unable to pay their debts.

The appointment of an examiner would give the companies time to secure further investment required to facilitate the business in future.

Chorus and PHL were convinced, that with fresh investment, it would be possible to curb existing debts and upgrade networks to facilitate an expansion of the digital television service, and the high speed internet service.

Mr Justice Peter Kelly appointed Mr McStay and fixed February 11 next for dealing with the examinership application. The judge said that from the evidence before the court it was clear that in the event of liquidation proceedings, the consequences for the creditors would be extremely serious.

There were about 550 employees and liquidation would have disastrous consequences for them, to say nothing of the customers, he said.

Independent accountants PricewaterhouseCoopers expressed in a report the opinion that, subject to certain conditions, Chorus had a reasonable prospect of survival as a going concern.

One entity was prepared to make a substantial investment in the event of the examinership being successful, and of the scheme being approved by the court.

There were a number of matters which gave rise to the formation of the opinion that the companies did have a reasonable prospect of survival, subject to a number of conditions.

The companies ought to have the opportunity of attempting to get a rescue plan underway.

Chorus said much of the debt incurred related to initial capital investment or acquisition of other businesses and was non-recurring.

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