Tuesday 12 December 2017

Management buy-out at Moritz saves 170 jobs

DANIEL McCONNELL Chief Reporter

UP to 170 jobs have been saved this weekend following a management buy-out of the Moritz Group, some of whose loans had been taken into Nama back in 2010.

The management buyout of the trading arm of the company, which is a major provider of building supplies and has stores across Ireland, was allowed to proceed with the consent of Nama.

The management team of Moritz Trading Ltd, the operator of eight Builder Provider/DIY stores, has successfully acquired the business and certain assets of the group.

"Agreement was reached late this week following detailed negotiations with Moritz and Nama," a statement said last night.

"The transaction will secure the future of the group's eight Builder Provider/DIY stores, which employ 170 people, mainly in Leinster," the statement added.

The management team -- which is headed by managing director Sean Moran, together with operations director Denis O'Connor and finance director John Joyce -- will take full ownership of the business.

"This announcement is a significant one for the DIY sector as it secures the future of eight stores and 170 jobs.

"It will also help establish the group as a major competitor in the sector as we will strive to grow this new independent Irish DIY chain.

"This is welcome news considering the spate of recent closures and job losses in the sector," Mr Moran said.

The new company, will now be known as Home Project Centre Limited but the eight-store retail chain, with a combined annual turnover of €40m, will continue to operate as normal under their existing trading names.

The stores in question are PH Ross, Dublin 7; Commons Hardware, Navan; TJ O'Mahony & Sons, Ballymount Dublin; TJ O'Mahony & Sons, Kilshane Cross, Dublin; C&D Providers, Larkins Cross, Wexford; C&D Providers, Trinity St, Wexford; Arklow Home & Hardware and Wickes Limerick (Operated under franchise from Travis Perkins Plc).

The acquisition and subsequent recapitalisation of the business was financed by a combination of investment by the management team and funding provided by Close Brothers Commercial Finance.

This deal provides the business with the working capital necessary to develop and grow and safeguards 170 jobs throughout the group.

Nama last night declined to make any comment on the matter.

In March, the Moritz Group companies won a stay on €172m worth of Nama debt.

The agency had opposed the stay application, but the companies claimed that the move would help save jobs within the group and allow them to realise and maximise the value of assets for their own benefit and for that of Nama.

Sunday Independent

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