Olhausen receivers hopeful of buyers
THE RECEIVERS appointed to failed meat producer Olhausen are hopeful of attracting buyers for parts of the business, which has been in existence since 1896.
Jim Hamilton and David O’Connor of BDO yesterday became joint receivers and managers of Dublin-based Olhausen, following a request from its board to Ulster Bank.
The bank is understood to be owed more than €10 million. Some 160 jobs have been lost across three processing plants.
Directors and shareholders at the company include prominent accountants Pearse Farrell and Greg Sparks of RSM Farrell Grant Sparks, who invested when the families that then owned the business sold in the mid-1990s.
In a statement, the receivers expressed regret about the closure, adding that they would now seek a buyer for the assets that remain at the business.
The company had lately been in negotiations with two potential buyers, thought to be Larry Goodman’s Irish Food Processors and Mallon Foods, but was unable to agree a deal on time for it to continue as a going concern.
Ulster Bank in recent days received an offer of €1 million for the company from Monaco-based financier Michael Flacks, but that was rejected. Mr Flacks, who earlier this year led a takeover of clothing chain A-Wear, yesterday said “it was another sad day for Ireland”. He had, he added, planned to expand the business but declined to comment on whether or not he remained interested in it.
It is highly improbable that Olhausen will be purchased outright, but existing contracts and the company’s name are likely to be particularly attractive to potential buyers. As well as Olhausen, the company owns brands such as Kearns and Byrnes. It made own-brand sausages for Aldi, Lidl and Dunnes, as well as operating a food service business.
The receivership means the closure of the company and the immediate loss of about 100 jobs at Olhausen’s headquarters in Dublin’s Blanchardstown, some 30 in nearby Coolock and another 30 in Lough Egish, Co Monaghan.
Siptu, which represents 100 of the employees, has negotiated with the receivers for the payment of wages due and, along with the receivers, is assisting with statutory redundancy applications.
The workers officially learned of the closure at 7am, but Olhausen’s difficulties had been recognised in the industry for some time as commodity prices rose and margins became ever-tighter.
The company received a short-term lifeline a few months ago when additional funding was provided by Ulster Bank and by some of its shareholders, while NCB was appointed to find a buyer around the same time. For a period, the business was cashflow-positive but further commodity price rises in September hit hard.