Inside Project Evergreen: Topaz
LOANS owed by Topaz, the country's biggest fuel retailer, are seen as some of the plummest assets in the whole "Project Evergreen" sale process. They are believed to have been one of IBRC's better-performing loans before the government took the shock decision to liquidate the bank earlier this year.
The company's debts stem from its takeover of Statoil and Shell in Ireland in 2005 and 2006, which was led by Denis O'Brien and Dublin finance house Ion Equity and heavily funded with Anglo borrowings.
Despite its borrowings, Topaz is expanding. It achieved a restructuring deal on its debts this year, reducing its short-term financial commitments by €48m and securing an extra €9m for investment purposes, mainly to fund three or four new filling stations.
As well as a network of more than 300 garages, Topaz is also Ireland's biggest home heating oil distributor.