Tuesday 21 November 2017

Smurfit backs old friend Buckley in energy products firm

Michael Smurfit Snr invests €250,000 in Irish firm involved in energy products. Photo: Collins
Michael Smurfit Snr invests €250,000 in Irish firm involved in energy products. Photo: Collins
John Mulligan

John Mulligan

Businessman Michael Smurfit Snr has invested close to €250,000 in an Irish firm that imports and distributes energy products to Europe, the Irish Independent has learned.

Hytech Energy Europe's directors include Maurice Buckley, a long-time friend of Mr Smurfit, who is resident in Monaco.

Mr Buckley became a director of the company last November.

Mr Buckley hails from the north of England, and became heavily involved in the Irish commercial scene back in the 1970s.

He ultimately ran a stock market-listed group called TMG that owned a number of companies in the metal fabrication sector, and which even had a stake in what was then the Datsun franchise in Ireland.

But TMG eventually succumbed to a heavy debt load. It was delisted in 1986.

Michael Smurfit - the onetime kingpin of the Smurfit packaging dynasty - ended up owning 40pc of TMG.

Maurice Buckley resigned from the group and later moved to the United States. TMG is now a limited company and continues in existence as part of the Smurfit Kappa Group.

Mr Buckley was subsequently involved in the packaging industry in the United States, and also acted as chief executive of the Ireland Chamber of Commerce there.

Mr Smurfit is the founder and international chairman of the chamber.

New company filings for Hytech show that Mr Smurfit's Isle of Man-based investment vehicle, Bachanntes, invested €233,000 in the business late last year, just as Mr Buckley was appointed a director of Hytech.

Bachanntes now has a charge over Hytech, and documents indicate it issued a loan to Hytech last November.

Hytech's website lists a number of energy and emission-saving devices for sale, for residential and commercial users. But Energy Europe has recently been designated as strike-off listed for failing to lodge its company filings on time.

That designation can be rectified when up to date paper work is submitted to the Companies Office.

Mr Smurfit has used the Bachanntes firm to invest in Dublin-based biotech firm Inflection Biosciences. Mr Smurfit invested €300,000 in the company last year.

He is also an investor in Moocall, having injected about €1m in the company that developed a device that alerts farmers when a cow is about to calve.

Irish Independent

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