Monday 18 December 2017

Play centre is first business to exit Circuit Court examinership

Naas courthouse
Naas courthouse
Sarah Stack

Sarah Stack

MORE than 30 jobs have been saved at a children's play centre which is the first company to exit examinership through the Circuit Court system.

Celbridge Playzone in Kildare made history by being at the centre of the first case dealt with outside the capital's High Court.

The scheme of arrangement, which has placed the firm on a sound financial footing for the future, was proposed by the company's examiner, Joe Walsh of Hughes Blake, and approved by Judge Gerard Griffin in Naas Circuit Court.

"This judgment highlights the lifeline that is there for viable companies to save their enterprise and employee base without incurring excessive costs," said Mr Walsh.

Up until now, all previous examinerships have taken place in the High Court, which has involved high legal costs and travel to Dublin.

The Circuit Court system is more accessible to companies outside the capital and the process is less complex and cheaper.

"Celbridge Playzone is an important local employer and a fundamentally viable business," Mr Walsh continued.

"The company accessed the examinership recovery mechanism outside the High Court in a historic legal first and today emerges from the process with a secure financial structure that will enable it to trade into the future," he said. "The ability to access the process within a Naas court meant that the examinership process became a viable option for this local business."

One of the biggest advantages of examinership is that companies can use it to renege on costly rent agreements.

Data for the first quarter of this year indicates that the process, once the sole preserve of big business, is increasingly being used as a recovery tool for family-owned and indigenous companies. Seven of the eight businesses which have exited the process since the start of the year were SMEs.

"For the many Irish companies that have yet to address their legacy debt issues, the availability of formal restructuring in the circuit court serves as a potential route to ensure long-term survival for 
viable companies," Mr Walsh added.

"A large number of SMEs around the country otherwise destined for insolvency can now look to the process for help."

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