Investors drawn to newspaper
Court told of eight written expressions of interest in investing in Sunday Business Post
Eight written expressions of interest in investing in the Sunday Business Post have been filed so far, the High Court heard yesterday when confirming the appointment of an examiner to Post Publications Ltd, the newspaper’s owners and publishers.
Mr Justice Peter Kelly confirmed the appointment of Michael McAteer of Grant Thornton as examiner. The newspaper had seen dramatic downturn in its fortunes, primarily caused by the 68 per cent drop in advertising revenue in a five-year period and a drop in circulation revenue, he noted.
However, on the basis of the evidence before him, including the expressions of interest in investing, he was satisfied it had a reasonable prospect of survival.
Cian Ferriter SC, for Post Publications Ltd, said earlier the unfortunate reality was the newspaper is seriously insolvent and not in a position to pay its debts. A liquidation would leave deficiencies in excess of €6.5 million.
It was clear there was a underlying viable business with 40,000 copies sold every week and an expected return to profitability by 2014, counsel said. Management had introduced cost-saving measures, including a substantial reduction in wages for its 76 full-time staff. This case was “tailor-made for court protection”.
Sunday Business Post
has made a significant contribution to Irish life, he added.
It was a loss-making operation since 2007, the court heard. As a result of the general economic decline, revenues fell from €15.6 million in 2007 to €7.3 million in 2012, a 53 per cent drop. Circulation figures showed 40,000 copies sold every weekend and a readership of 140,000 but circulation revenue fell from €4.9 million in 2007 to €3.69 million last year.
Rossa Fanning, for the examiner, referred to eight expressions of investor interest and said confidentiality agreements had been issued.