News Courts

Tuesday 24 April 2018

Petition to wind up Cork building contracting firm which owes NAMA €71m has been adjourned

Judge heard “not all of the facts” had been presented to the High Court

By Ray Managh

A petition to wind up the Cork building contracting firm O’Brien and O’Flynn Limited, which owes NAMA €71million, was today adjourned for a fortnight after a judge heard that “not all of the facts” had been presented to the High Court.

Provisional liquidators and insolvency practitioners John McStay and Tom Rogers were appointed to the Vicars Road company last month and Andrew Sexton SC, counsel for O’Flynn brothers Dan and Denis, told the court he would require time to reply to matters raised in an affidavit by Mr McStay.

Mr Justice Paul McDermott said it was unsatisfactory that, as stated by Mr Sexton, not all of the facts available to the court had as yet been put before in evidence.

Mr Sexton said the company had been interacting for several years with NALM, a company associated with NAMA, until the agency had decided to withhold funding and suddenly petition the court for the appointment of provisional liquidators.

Judge McDermott said it was unsatisfactory that a major bank of the company’s and directors’ response to the petition should have been  omitted from an affidavit whether for tactical reasons or while the respondents were awaiting legal advice.

“I am told there are further facts relevant to the proceedings which are not before the court and I will therefore accede to the application to adjourn the matter,” the judge said. The company is owned by Dan and Denis O’Flynn who are members of the greater O’Flynn family dynasty, including Michael and John, whose separate nstruction companies were recently granted a High Court order removing an interim examiner and receivers appointed by Blackstone subsidiary, Carbon Finance, from them.

Barrister Robert Fitzpatrick, for NAMA, told the court the company owed NAMA €71million and had assets worth less than half that amount.  The debt had arisen after NAMA had taken over loans advanced to the company by Bank of Ireland and AIB between 2008 and 2010.

The court had already heard O’Brien and O’Flynn Limited was insolvent on both a balance sheet and on a cash flow basis.  A demand for repayment of the loans had been made in July but had not been satisfied.

O’Flynn Construction and O’Brien and O’Flynn are entirely separate but their principal directors are from the same large family from Ovens, west of Cork City.  They have consistently been in the top five Cork builders since the 1980s.

While O’Flynn Construction diversified across a range of developments and investments in Ireland, the UK and Europe, O’Brien and O’Flynn had stayed closer to its house-building roots primarily in Cork.

O’Brien and O’Flynn have assets of property, land and sites yet to be developed in locations in Douglas, Monkstown, Maryborough and Airport Hill, Cork.

The matter comes up again on September 2.

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