Business Irish

Friday 24 November 2017

Meteor sued over lease-break option at Citywest premises

John Mulligan

John Mulligan

A company controlled by well-known businessman Brendan Hickey and Switzerland-based Irish stockbroker David Shubotham has sued Eircom's Meteor arm for at least €400,000, claiming the telecoms firm didn't validly exercise a lease-break option in July 2009 for a premises at the Citywest business park in Dublin.

Dali Properties has told the High Court that Meteor signed a 25-year lease in March 2006 for premises at Citywest with an annual rent of €400,000.

However, in July last year Meteor exercised a break option.

Mr Hickey and Mr Shubotham, who is a former director of Davy Stockbrokers, are also the shareholders of Davy Hickey Properties (DHP), which was backed by a large number of private investors in order to develop the 400-acre Citywest park. Other shareholders of DHP include Kyran McLaughlin, deputy chairman of Davy Stockbrokers and outgoing chairman of pharmaceutical group Elan.

High Court

Dali Properties is seeking a declaration from the High Court that would force Meteor to remain the named tenant of Dali Properties under the terms of the original lease.

It is also seeking arrears of rent and service charges to the tune of €400,000 and wants damages for breach of contract and costs. There is a further break clause in the existing lease agreement, but it doesn't arise until 2021.

Dali Properties failed in June to have the case transferred to the Commercial Court.

Replies to particulars in the case are expected to be exchanged between the two sides' legal teams early this month.

Eircom said it believes the group has a "strong defence" to the proceedings and intends to "defend them vigorously".

Eircom has been rationalising its operations in an effort to cut costs. The moves included bringing some Meteor staff into Eircom's new head office near Heuston Station in Dublin.

The firm reported on Tuesday that revenue for the year to the end of June fell 8.5pc to €1.83bn while earnings declined 3.3pc to €669m.

Irish Independent

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