Monday 16 September 2019

Liquidator in for insolvent unit of Life Style Sports

Subsidiary is 100pc owned by the Life Style Sports retail chain
Subsidiary is 100pc owned by the Life Style Sports retail chain
Donal O'Donovan

Donal O'Donovan

A 100pc owned subsidiary of retail chain Life Style Sports has collapsed into insolvency, leaving creditors substantially out of pocket.

Accountant Myles Kirby of Kirby Healy Chartered Accountants was appointed as liquidator of Ebise Patrick Street Limited following a creditors meeting on September 11, papers filed with the Companies Office show.

His role is to recover any assets available to discharge liabilities, and in addition to assess the conduct of directors prior to insolvency.

Accounts for 2016 show the now insolvent firm had been owed more than €600,000 by parent company Life Style Sports Ireland Ltd prior to the 2017 financial year.

That company in turn is owned by the Stafford family, one of the country's best-known business families, through Stafford Holdings Limited.

It is understood the main external creditor in the Ebise Patrick Street insolvency, River Island, is owed around €600,000.

It is understood the liquidator was appointed with backing from main creditor River Island, which had sublet a high-profile retail unit on Patrick Street in Cork City to Life Style Sports through the Ebise subsidiary.

A liquidator nominated by the directors failed to win backing to take on the role.

Financial accounts for the period to September 24, 2016, show that at that time, Ebise Patrick Street Limited was owed €643,869, including €611,670 in amounts due from its parent company.

That had increased from the €418,220 that the accounts show was owed by the parent company a year earlier. The same accounts show Ebise Patrick Street in turn owed €643,867, a figure that had increased from €437,689 the previous year.

Those accounts suggest that Ebise's then debts and assets were closely matched at the end of the 2016 financial year.

However, the subsidiary was placed into an insolvent liquidation in September 2017 by its directors, including Mark Stafford, Mark Carter and Nigel Cowman, and unable to pay creditors.

Official company filings show that Ebise Patrick Street Limited is a property lease management company, it is one of dozens of property companies listed as Irish subsidiaries in separate financial accounts filed for Life Style Sports Ireland Ltd.

Accounts for both companies from the group show Ebise Patrick Street Ltd is wholly owned subsidiary of Life Style Sports Ireland Ltd.

The ultimate parent is Taghmon Investments, an unlimited company that is not obliged to file financial accounts in Ireland.

The Stafford Group established in 1891 is into everything from retail to oil and shipping. The Wexford family owns Campus Oil, Stafford Fuels and property, as well as Life Style Sports. The group has sales of almost €330m and profits of €5.7m.

Victor Stafford (72) owns most of the shares in parent company Taghmon, but the group is largely run by son Mark Stafford. Life Style Sports could not be reached for comment.

River Island declined to comment.

Irish Independent

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