Shipping firm secures interim order
A shipping company has secured an interim High Court order restraining Bank of Scotland selling to a hedge fund a total €70 million debt owed to the bank by the firm. The Doyle group wants to refinance its Bank of Scotland loans with Ulster Bank and claims sale to the Blue Bay fund would be “calamitous” for it and could affect hundreds of jobs.
The Doyle group, a holding company for several firms providing shipping and warehousing services at Irish ports, claims the bank’s attempt to sell the debt to a third party amounts to breach of a contract between the parties of May last.
The group says it was in the process of refinancing its Bank of Scotland loans with Ulster Bank when it learned last month, to its surprise, that Bank of Scotland had entered into a second process concerning selling the debt to third parties. The bank is seeking to sell its debt to the Blue Bay investment fund, it is claimed.
The group claims it had been represented to Bank of Scotland no such assignments should happen. It fears, if the debt is sold to the hedge fund, its assets could be stripped down and sold off, ultimately destroying the companies and affecting several hundred jobs.
Michael Howard SC, with Jarlath Ryan, for the group, was this week granted an interim injunction restraining Bank of Scotland transferring to any third party any right, interest or obligation under a loan agreement between the firm and Bank of Scotland of May 2012.
Mr Justice Iarfhlaith O’Neill granted the ex-parte (one side only represented) application and returned the matter to later this month.