Monday 19 February 2018

Teeling's mining firm opposes winding-up petition

Tim Healy

A SHAREHOLDER in a mining exploration company headed by entrepreneur John Teeling has asked the High Court to wind up the firm, alleging it is insolvent and unable to pay its debts.

Connemara Mining opposes the winding-up petition from UK mining finance company Trampus, claiming it has not failed to pay any debts and that Trampus cannot seek a winding up because it is not a creditor.

Judge Mary Laffoy yesterday said she would give her decision on the petition later.

Connemara was set up in 2006 to exploit zinc and other mineral mining opportunities in Ireland.

It has obtained licences for a number of locations in Ireland and one of its subsidiaries, Limerick Zinc, has attracted investment from Canadian company Teck to help exploit zinc reserves covered by the licences.

Trampus is the largest single shareholder in Connemara, holding 1.625 million shares or 6.32pc of the company, while Mr Teeling is also a substantial shareholder, the court heard.

Mr Teeling, who also has a number of other mining business interests, is the founder of whiskey producer Cooley Distillery.

Cooley was sold to an American spirits company over a year ago for €73m.

In its petition, Trampus claims Connemara's financial position has deteriorated and interim accounts for 2012 show it has liabilities of €363,000 compared to assets and cash of €283,000, leaving it with a current deficit of €80,000.

Its inability to pay its debts was shown by a notification to shareholders last November that it was immediately ceasing to make payments towards the funding of Limerick Zinc under the terms of its joint venture agreement with Teck.

In its opposition to the winding up application, Connemara's directors said Trampus has relied on a distortion of a note in the company financial statements relating to preparing financial accounts on "a going concern basis".

Trampus' assertions were unsupported by any evidence and the company had a right from time to time to contribute to exploration budges, such as for Limerick Zinc, but had no obligation to do so.

As Trampus was not a creditor to Connemara, but a member of a class of fully paid- up contributories to the company, it can have no financial interest in bringing a winding-up petition on the grounds of inabilty to pay debts, it was argued.

Irish Independent

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