Ex-Quinn executives in group bidding for manufacturing units

Offer of £80m-£90m for former Quinn packaging/construction supplies divisions

Wed, Jul 9, 2014, 01:00

A consortium of former senior executives in the Quinn Group and a group of northwest businessmen have teamed up with Endless LLP, a UK private equity house, to buy two key units of the manufacturing arm of the business, now called the Aventas Group.

Endless and its local partners called the Quinn Business Retention Company (QBRC) are understood to have made an indicative offer of between €80 million and €90 million for the former Quinn Group packaging and construction supplies divisions. The two businesses employ 650 people in Derrlylin /Ballyconnell area.

Endless, an experienced private equity investor, is understood to be prepared to invest tens of millions in expanding the business if successful. A memorandum of understanding has been signed between QBRC and Aventas and a period of due diligence is due to begin, with a deal not expected to be completed until the third or fourth quarter of this year.

A sale will require the approval of Aventas’s dozens of investor shareholders, some of who are believed to value the company at more than QBRC/Endless initial offer. Aventas will continue to operate the former Quinn Group’s glass business and plastics and radiators divisions.

Former Quinn Group chief executive Liam McCaffrey is expected to lead the two units, which will continue to trade under the Quinn brand, if the bid is successful.

Mr McCaffrey told The Irish Times yesterday: “We are hopeful that if the deal goes ahead, ourselves, management and Endless will invest further in developing the company and creating new jobs.”

 

Calm things down

Mr McCaffrey said he believed a QBRC investment would help to calm things down in the area, where former Quinn facilities have faced sustained attacks or vandalism. “I am optimistic that the whole atmosphere will change. We have received great support from the local community,” he said.

 

Eight former senior executives of the Quinn Group are also involved in the acquisition, including ex-development director Kevin Lunney, ex-group finance director Dara O’Reilly, and former radiator division chief executive Denis Doogan.

Three local businessmen are also involved namely John McCartin, a Fine Gael councillor who leads Newtowngore Engineering Ltd, John “Bosco” O’Hagan, managing director of the Specialist Joinery Group, and Ernie Fisher, former managing director of Fisher Engineering Ltd.

Mr McCaffrey said group founder Seán Quinn is not involved in its bid. Mr Quinn declined to comment yesterday.

Endless LLP has an investment portfolio with a combined turnover of £2 billion, and already employs 1,000 people on the island of Ireland in three businesses. It is a veteran turnaround specialist and has a string of successful exits behind it.

In a statement QBRC said: “We look forward to working with Aventas both during due diligence and moving forward following completion.”

 

Local community

“In particular, we would like to acknowledge the support from the local community and our partners, Endless LLP, who we believe have the expertise to assist us in developing the business.”

 

“We are delighted with the prospect of returning to these businesses and continuing the tradition of growth and development established by the Quinn Group and its workforce over the last four decades,” it added.

In a statement Aventas said: “Whilst there is no certainty that a transaction will be concluded, both parties have entered a period of exclusive due diligence and are committed to completing the transaction late in the third quarter of 2014.”

Endless sees opportunity in Quinn

Endless LLC was founded by Belfast-born accountant Garry Wilson in 2005. It specialises in turnarounds, restructuring and specialist situations such as its proposed investment in two units of the former Quinn Group.

It has invested £240 million (€302 million) in over 35 acquisitions since its foundation. It has an investment portfolio with a combined turnover of £2 billion and 12,000 employees.

On the island of Ireland it already employs over 1,000 people in Cookstown Sausages in the North; the Works, a discount retailer with 15 outlets in Ireland; and Vow, an office supplies business which has a big facility in Co Dublin.

Liam McCaffrey, the former Quinn Group chief executive, approached Endless to invite it to support QBRC in its bid. It is understood to be prepared to invest tens of millions in expanding the business, creating at least 100 jobs.