Business Irish

Friday 23 March 2018

'Examiner' group demands €3m security from printers

TCH tells court it wants Webprint to put up legal costs

Tim Healy

A NUMBER of companies in the 'Irish Examiner' publishing group want the paper's former printer to put up an estimated €3.1m in legal costs before the Commercial Court hears an action over the removal of its printing contract.

Webprint Concepts is suing a number of companies in the Thomas Crosbie Holdings (TCH) group, along with Allied Irish Bank, the liquidator of TCH and the 'Irish Times' which took over the printing contract from Webprint.

TCH chairman Alan Crosbie and director Thomas Patrick Crosbie are also being sued.

Webprint claims the restructuring of TCH last March was done to enable one of the TCH companies, Thomas Crosbie Printers Ltd (TCP), evade their existing contractual obligations to Webprint. The claims are denied.

Yesterday, the defendant companies and directors asked Ms Justice Mary Finlay Geoghegan to rule on whether Webprint should first provide security for costs if it loses the case which will be heard in October.

Webprint opposed the application on the basis that the financial loss it encountered as a result of the restructuring of TCH exceeded the alleged legal costs of €3.1m.

The court heard Webprint claimed that had it known a restructuring was taking place, it would have been in a position to bid for assets or to negotiate a contract with potential purchasers.

Maurice Collins, a barrister for the Crosbie companies and directors, said the loss of contract had occurred because TCP (the printing company) had become insolvent and it was not due to an alleged "scheme" put in place to evade contractual obligations.

Michael Collins, a barrister for AIB, told the court the bank was entitled to a security for its costs because there was no evidence Webprint, which was in financial difficulty prior to the restructuring, would have been able to continue their printing contract.

He denied there had been any wrongdoing on the part of the bank.

TCH was placed into receivership last March by its largest lender, AIB. Kieran Wallace of KPMG was appointed receiver.

The court heard earlier that the net value of the 15-year printing agreement to Webprint was some €22.2m or around 70pc of its income.

The case continues.

Irish Independent

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