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Liquidator appointed to Eurprice discount store chain

THE High Court has appointed a provisional liquidator to a chain of discount stores that employs 69 people.

The directors of Eurprice, which has eight stores mainly in the South East, are seeking to have the company wound up because it is no longer able to compete with rivals operating a similar business model.

The court heard that the company is hopeful that the provisional liquidator will be able to sell the business and save the jobs.

Today at the High Court Ms Justice Mary Laffoy said she was satisfied to appoint Insolvency Practitioner and Chartered Accountant Kieran McCarthy of Hughes Blake as provisional liquidator.

The company, the Judge said, was insolvent and unable to pay its debts as they fall due.

Eurprice with a registered address at The Moyne Business Park, Enniscorthy, Co Wexford, specialises in selling goods ranging for cosmetics, confectionery and stationary at the cheapest end of the price spectrum.

It operated stores in Carlow Kilkenny, Tallaght, Waterford, Wexford, Enniscorthy and Gorey. It was set up in 2004 and its directors are John Hamill, Anna Hamill and Therese Hunt.

Moving the petition Bernard Dunleavy Bl for Eurprice said that in days gone by the type of stores operated by the company would be described as "pound-shops."

Counsel said in the current recessionary times the company should expect to do better. But as rivals with a with larger critical mass of stores than Eurprice have come into the market the companies profits have slumped, and it now found itself unable to complete.

Counsel said that the firm had been making a profit up to 2009, but since then its turnover had been reduced by 20 per cent from the previous year.

While the company had an excess of assets over liabilities of some €138,000, it had lost €191,000 in the first four months of 2012.

The company also owed a total of more than €180,000 in PAYE and VAT, which it was unable to meet. As a result Counsel said that the directors unanimously decided to wind up the company and seek the appointment of a provisional liquidator.

Counsel said the company was seeking the appointment of a provisional liquidator in order to secure Eurprice's stock. Counsel also asked the court to grant the provisional liquidator powers allowing him to keep the shops open so the stock could be sold in an orderly fashion in the best interests of the company's creditors.

In the event of a firesale counsel said it was estimated that nothing close to the true value of the stock could be realised. The court was further asked to grant Mr McCarthy the power to advertise the business for sale.

The Judge in agreeing to grant those powers to Mr McCarthy, adjourned the matter to a date next month.