Feighery family and French-owned player amongst Siac Construction backers

Creditors and High Court yet to approve rescue plan

The High Court appointed an examiner to Siac Construction and eight related companies late last year, giving them protection from creditors, including three banks owed €42 million and suppliers owed €26 million. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill

The High Court appointed an examiner to Siac Construction and eight related companies late last year, giving them protection from creditors, including three banks owed €42 million and suppliers owed €26 million. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill

Fri, Jan 17, 2014, 01:00

Troubled building group Siac’s main shareholders, the Feighery family, will take control of the business with the backing of a French-owned construction-related business and a private investment company, it was confirmed yesterday.

The High Court appointed Michael McAteer of Grant Thornton as examiner to Siac Construction and eight related companies late last year, giving them protection from creditors, including three banks owed €42 million and suppliers owed €26 million.

Siac’s main shareholders, the Feighery family, with chief executive, Martin Maher, his predecessor, Finn Lyden and senior management, backed by French-owned Colas Teoranta and a Belfast family-owned investment business Ducales Trading, are set to take control of the business in a rescue plan agreed with Mr McAteer.

Maynooth-based Colas is a bitumen supplier and one of Siac’s creditors. The company’s ultimate owner is the French multinational of the same name. Its majority shareholder is Bouygues, a €10 billion a-year construction player headquartered near Paris.

Ducales Trading is part of Ducales Group, the Belfast-based property and investment group owned by brothers Thomas and Francis Jennings, who sold their building-services business, Rotary, in 2008 for £95 million. Each of the three investors, the Feighery family and its associates, Colas and, Ducales, will share one third each in the business.

The rescue plan, or scheme of arrangement, has yet to be approved by creditors or the High Court. Under its terms, the operating businesses, the contracting arm, will be separated from the investment and property companies.

A major part of the new investment will be to provide a debt-free balance sheet for the operating business and part will be used to pay creditors.

The scheme also provides that proceeds of the litigation that the group is pursuing in Poland, which could yield up to €113 million, will be used to pay secured and trade creditors further dividends.

Part of its problems stemmed from road building ventures in Poland which the company said became mired in problems with the local authorities responsible for managing the projects there.

Commenting on the deal last night, Mr Maher said: “I am relieved that subject to creditor and court approval the Siac group, established in 1913, can once again strive to be a leading Irish construction business.”

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