Friday 17 November 2017

Former Irish Examiner printers wound up

Thomas Crosbie Holdings
Thomas Crosbie Holdings

THE High Court has ordered the winding up Thomas Crosbie Printers (TCP) Ltd which was formerly involved in the contract to print the Irish Examiner titles.

The court however refused to nominate the company's nominee as official liquidator and has instead appointed the nominee of two large creditors of the company.

TCP is a subsidiary of the Thomas Crosbie Holdings (TCH) media group which was restructured and involved the printing contract being taken over by the Irish Times.

Mr Justice Peter Kelly said he was satisfied to appoint as official liquidator Tom Kavanagh, of Kavanagh Fennell, the nominee of Webprint Concepts Ltd, owed some €2.3m by TCP, which has sued TCP and others over the loss of its printing contract for TCH titles.

Ulster Bank, owed some €7m, had supported either Mr Kavanagh or any nominee of the court but not the company's nominee.

In his decision, the judge stressed there were no issues concerning the competence or integrity of either nominee for official liquidator - Mr Kavanagh or Michael Cotter, of Ernst & Young, City Quarter, Lapps Quay, Cork.

He found TCP had made out no reasons why the court should depart from the normal practice that, when there are two opposing nominees for liquidator, the nominee of creditors would be appointed.

While Webprint was engaged in litigation against TCP, it was a creditor in this application as was Ulster Bank, he said.

There was no opposition to the making of a winding up order for TCP, which is insolvent with some €7m liabilities over assets, but the issue was who would be appointed official liquidator.

Webprint and TCP had also drafted what the judge referred to as a "shopping list" of tasks for the liquidator including, in Webprint's case, asking him to investigate whether TCP had traded while insolvent.

TCP had asked that its directors - Thomas P. Crosbie and G. Alan Crosbie - should be notified of any applications by the liquidator.

The judge said he would not make any such directions as the liquidator was an officer of the court with statutory duties who had to report to the court and decide for himself what issues had to be addressed.

It remained open to the parties to make application to the court when the liquidation was actually underway, he added.

TCH was placed into receivership last March by its largest lender, AIB. On the same day, TCH was acquired by Landmark Media Investments, owned by Thomas and Ted Crosbie. As part of the restructuring, an examiner was appointed to Post Publications Ltd, publishers of the Sunday Business Post.

The net value of the 15-year printing agreement to Webprint was some €22.2m or around 70 per cent of its income, the company has claimed.

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