Business Irish

Sunday 21 January 2018

Watchdog facing €32,000 hit on McInerney

Nick Webb

Nick Webb

PAUL Appleby, the man charged with making sure that Irish companies keep their noses clean, faces a €32,000 loss on an investment in stock market building firm McInerney, which last week applied for court protection from its creditors.

Mr Appleby, the director of corporate enforcement, is listed as holding 10,000 shares in the troubled company. At its peak in 2007, the shares were worth more than €32,000, but last week the shares were suspended as an interim examiner was appointed to McInerney's Irish home building business. Mr Appleby has owned the shares since the end of 2000, according to the company's share register.

The Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement (ODCE) may become involved in examinerships if directed by a judge, as in the case of the Stokes Brothers and Irish Car Rentals. There is no suggestion of this happening at McInerney.

Mr Appleby would not face an insurmountable conflict of interest in the event of the court directing his involvement in a future examinership concerning a company in which he is a shareholder.

"If anyone has an interest, they would declare it and absent themselves from an investigation," according to the ODCE. "It is a strict policy."

The petition for examinership was brought by the listed McInerney Holdings, which wants to secure court protection for McInerney Homes while it negotiates a restructuring of its debts and new investment for the group.

The company is negotiating a €40m rescue plan with US private equity group Oaktree Partners.

McInerney has also been in discussions with Nama and its banks about the transfer of its loans to the state 'bad bank'.

The company has been creaking under a €236m debt mountain. Last Sunday, a McInerney spokeswoman described suggestions the firm was about to seek examinership as "speculative".

Sunday Independent

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