Interim examiner appointed to Waterford chicken processing firm
THE HIGH Court has appointed an interim examiner to a Co Waterford-based chicken processing company that employs more than 130 people.
Yesterday Mr Justice George Birmingham appointed Michael McAteer of Grant Thornton as interim examiner to Cappoquin Poultry Ltd (CPL) and to a related company, Cappoquin Poultry Holdings Ltd, after being informed the business has debts of €6 million.
Cappoquin Poultry’s largest unsecured creditor Henry Good Ltd, which is owed €3.9 million for supplying chicken feed to Cappoquin Poultry, petitioned the court for Mr McAteer’s appointment on grounds including that CPL is insolvent and to prevent the chicken processor’s assets from being stripped.
CPL’s directors are Perwaiz Latif, with an address in Derby, England, and Zahid Hussain of Port na hAbhann, Cappoquin, Co Waterford.
CPL has been in operation since 2008, after it acquired the assets of Michael D O’Connor Ltd, trading as Cappoquin Chickens, which had gone into liquidation. It supplies day-old chicks to farmers, who house and feed them until they are delivered to CPL for processing.
If appointed, Mr McAteer will have up to 100 days to come up with a scheme that, if approved by the firms’ creditors and the High Court, will allow the company to continue to trade. During the examinership period the business is protected from its creditors.
The application was made ex-parte, with only one side represented in court.
Moving the petition, Ross Gorman for Henry Good Ltd said his client believes CPL is insolvent, but is also of the opinion that CPL’s business is viable and has a reasonable prospect of survival.
He said an independent accountant’s report into the business was being prepared. He said Kinsale-based Henry Good Ltd had been supplying feed to CPL and its predecessor for many years.
However, he said CPL’s debt grew from €346,000 in December 2010 to €3.98 million as of last week.
Henry Good sought payment for its services but CPL has been unwilling or unable to do so, counsel said. CPL had also failed to collect a €2.69 million debt owed to it by a company in Derby, which it understands is owned by Mr Latif’s brother.
Counsel added that one of the main reasons Henry Good wanted an examiner appointed was due to its concerns that CPL’s directors have attempted to move essential machinery and equipment from Cappoquin.
Last week a number of CPL’s chicken suppliers blocked the entrance to CPL’s premises in order to prevent machinery being removed.
Counsel said his client had been in talks with CPL to buy the business, but withdrew after CPL’s directors sought to alter terms that had already been agreed.