Grant Thornton to wind up 17 companies
TREASURY HOLDINGS LIQUIDATION:JOINT LIQUIDATORS are expected to be appointed next week to insolvent developer Treasury Holdings by the High Court after the company said it was no longer resisting KBC Bank’s application to have it and related companies wound up. Treasury has debts of about €2.7 billion.
Given Treasury’s stance – outlined yesterday by Ross Gorman to Mr Justice Brian McGovern – KBC said it would seek to have Michael McAteer and Paul McCann of Grant Thornton appointed joint liquidators to Treasury and about 16 related companies.
This was required given the scope of Treasury’s interests across the globe, said Bernard Dunleavy, for KBC.
Mr Dunleavy also said the bank did not accept that Treasury had provided an adequate explanation for a transaction in which assets of a Treasury subsidiary in Singapore had been transferred to a company in the Channel Islands beneficially owned by one of its co-founders, Richard Barrett.
The transaction was a “serious” matter but an affidavit from Treasury provided no explanation for what had ocurred, he said.
When the judge asked Mr Dunleavy whether that matter would be for the Director of Corporate Enforcement to address, counsel repeated that his side had concerns about it.
Mr Gorman said that as far as Treasury was concerned, it had complied with a court order to provide an affidavit explaining that transaction.
Declan Murphy, for the National Asset Management Agency, which took over more than €1 billion loans of Treasury, suggested the winding up might be addressed yesterday as Nama would like “certainty”.
Mr Justice McGovern said the matter had been listed for next Tuesday and he would deal with it then and appoint joint liquidators. This would have the effect of winding up the Treasury group, the court heard.
The judge said he would also deal with the question of whether Treasury had adequately addressed the concerns about the Singapore transaction in its affidavit.
The judge also noted Treasury was continuing its undertaking that there would be no disposal by any companies in the group of their shares and assets before the matter was returned to court.
Treasury had claimed that some 400 jobs – 300 here and 100 abroad – were affected but KBC had argued that most of those were employees of the Ritz Carlton Hotel and not of Treasury.
With the winding up, Treasury is also expected not to proceed with any appeal against the Commercial Court’s rejection of its challenge to the calling in by Nama of some of its loans. The substantial costs of that case will be dealt with later this month.
KBC had previously argued that the Treasury action was pointless in circumstances where KBC had said it would not agree to any restructuring of the Treasury loans and as KBC had petitioned for an order winding up Treasury unless the bank was paid €20m arising from loans advanced for the development of the Spencer Dock project in Dublin.
Last July Nama also issued demands for repayment of €3 million each to the company’s founders, John Ronan and Richard Barrett, in their capacity as guarantor of a €13.5 million loan to Treasury. KBC initiated the winding up proceedings earlier this year. Nama initially adopted a neutral position on the application but last month said it was supporting it due to “serious concerns” following the transfer of assets from the Singapore subsidiary. Treasury has insisted market value was obtained for the assets in the transfer.