Friday 24 November 2017

'Irish Times'-controlled Gazette group seeks protection from creditors

Donal O'Donovan and Tim Healy

A newspaper publishing business majority-owned by the 'Irish Times' has asked the High Court for protection from creditors including the Revenue Commissioners while it seeks the appointment of an examiner.

Dublin-based Gazette Group Newspapers publishes eight free newspapers in neighbourhoods across the capital.

The company is majority owned by the 'Irish Times' but has its own board of directors and publishes separate financial accounts.

Gazette Group Newspapers' bank account has been subject to an attachment order by the Revenue Commissioners over unpaid tax debt of €135,000, the court was told.

Yesterday, the directors of the company secured High Court protection from creditors ahead of a petition next week when the company will seek to be placed into examinership.

Lawyer Gareth Byrne, for the directors of the company – Michael McGovern, Mary Leane and Thomas Kelly – had applied to Mr Justice Brian McGovern for directions concerning the issuing of the examinership petition.

The judge said the company should return to court next Thursday to make its petition. In the meantime the directors have been told to notify the company's main creditors, including Ulster Bank, MRT Cargo, and the Revenue Commissioners, of the situation.

The 'Irish Times' is the biggest shareholder in the Gazette Group but is also a significant creditor because it is owed €92,000 as the printer for the eight Gazette titles.

In the petition, the directors outlined how the company's difficulties arose from factors including the general economic downturn and the cost of rent. The 'Irish Times' paid around €5m for its stake in the business which was built up from 2007.

Irish Independent

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