Sunday 8 December 2019

Naas to hear first circuit court examinership

Carl Scarpa on Grafton Street, Dublin.
Carl Scarpa on Grafton Street, Dublin.

Sarah McCabe

NAAS courthouse is preparing to hear the country's first ever circuit court examinership, as small businesses finally get access to a low-cost version of the historically expensive procedure.

Celbridge Playzone, which has 27 employees, will be the first to make use of new laws introduced on Christmas Eve that make the restructuring process less costly.

Examinership, the legal mechanism which allows a company to restructure with court approval while enjoying protection from creditors, was until recently confined to the High Court – meaning heavy legal fees and little attractiveness for small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

"This will be an historic occasion and should lead the way for others to follow – giving SMEs an accessible and cost-effective route to restructuring," said Neil Hughes, managing partner at restructuring specialists Hughes Blake.

Mr Hughes now expects a surge in applications. One of the biggest advantages of examinership is that companies can use it to renege on costly rent agreements.

Data for the January to April 2014 period also 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 – including Dublin stalwart Flannery's Pub – are SMEs. The seven examinerships, which also include shoe chain Carl Scarpa, windowframe company Star Elm Frames, convenience store Tomlo and an operator of a United Colours of Benetton outlet, saved a total of 191 jobs.

The only big company to go through the process during the period was building firm SIAC Construction, where 219 jobs were saved.

Irish Independent

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