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GE Capital bank 'forgave' €17m so Titan Outdoor could exit market

Business bank GE Capital "forgave" €17m of debt to allow Titan Outdoor Advertising to exit the Irish market, according to company documents seen by the Irish Independent.

US-owned Titan Outdoor held the advertising rights for the CIE network -- including posters at train stations and ads on the sides of buses -- but was loss-making.

News of the debt write-off emerged as a final creditors' meeting to dissolve the company was held in Dublin by liquidator Niall Byrne of Niall Byrne & Co yesterday.

Titan Outdoor opted to have itself wound up in 2010 after its parent company took the decision to exit the Irish market.

The company pulled out of Ireland, including terminating a €100m, 10-year deal with CIE early, after suffering a 40pc market decline as the recession bit.

The decision had surprised many as the 10-year CIE rights were for the entire CIE network.


Turnover in 2008 had been €22m, mainly from the CIE rights -- but the business had suffered a €12m loss the same year.

Accounts filed for the 2009 financial year reveal that the business, which went through the final stages of a voluntary liquidation yesterday, was able to exit the market without paying off its corporate loans.

In December 2009 lender General Electric Capital agreed to "forgive" €17.7m of indebtedness, resulting in an exceptional gain being recorded in accounts filed with the Companies' Registration Office.

The head of Titan Outdoor in Ireland James Barry was then able to buy the remains of the business -- since renamed Bravo Outdoor Advertising free from the legacy debts.

A year later the company won back the CIE advertising rights with a new €40m three-year contract.

Accounts filed for Bravo Outdoor show it had 51 staff at the end of 2010, compared to 56 at Titan Outdoor the previous year.

Irish Independent