Sunday 18 February 2018

Court backs protection for G Hotel-linked firms owing bank €690m

The G Hotel in Galway
The G Hotel in Galway

Aodhan O'Faolain

The Court of Appeal has confirmed the appointment of an examiner to seven companies controlled by Galway-based businessman Gerry Barrett.

Last month the High Court dismissed an application to grant the protection of the courts from their creditors to four firms connected to businesses including the Galway City based five-star G Hotel and the Eye Cinema.

The High Court did confirm the appointment of insolvency practitioner Mr Neil Hughes as examiner to three other related companies, involved in the operation and ownership of the four-star Meyrick Hotel, located in Eyre Square in Galway.

Mr Hughes of Baker Tily Hughes Blake was appointed interim examiner to all seven companies, which are part of Mr Barrett's Edward Capital Group, in August.

His appointment was sought by the companies after Deutsche Bank appointed a receiver over the firms, which employ more than 330 full-time and part-time staff.

DB, which is owed more than €690m by the group, had opposed the examinership claiming it was an abuse of process and an attempt by the companies to renege on a 2016 debt settlement agreement which would have resulted in the sale of the group's assets to reduce its debt to the bank.

That was denied by the companies, who argued that DB had breached the settlement agreement.

The companies appealed the High Court's decision not to confirm an examiner to the four companies. In a cross-appeal DB sought to have the decision to confirm Mr Hughes to the other three firms set aside.

On Wednesday morning a three-judge appeal court said it was allowing the companies' appeal, confirming Mr Hughes as examiner to all seven firms.

In September the High Court confirmed Mr Hughes as examiner to KH Kitty Hall Holdings Ltd, Ml Meyrick Ltd and Mono Trading Ltd, but not four other firms, whose assets include the G Hotel, the Eye Cinema and apartments and sites in the Galway area.

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