End of the road for Bill Cullen's car company
AFTER 55 years in the motor trade, Ireland’s best known car dealer, Bill Cullen, has been put off the road by his main lender.
Staff at Mr Cullen’s Glencullen Holdings, which operates dealerships in Swords and Liffey Valley in Dublin, were told yesterday that Ulster Bank had decided to appoint receivers Kavanagh Fennell to the company to secure its loans.
The bank is believed to be to owed about €12 million.
In a statement issued to The Irish Times on behalf of Mr Cullen, Ulster Bank’s decision was described as a “sad occasion” for the veteran businessman.
The loss of his business will also hit Mr Cullen financially. He is the biggest creditor of Glencullen, being owed €19.5 million.
Latest accounts for Glencullen Holdings Ltd show that Mr Cullen had also provided a letter of guarantee of €1.2 million as security for the loans along with the assignment of a life assurance policy.
A source close to Mr Cullen said he had fought “tooth and nail” recently to retain control of the business.
However, a decline in car sales this year and other factors have resulted in him losing control of the business.
In August, Mr Cullen lost the Renault dealership, ending a long-standing relationship with the company. He had held the national franchise for the French carmaker from 1986 to 2007.
It is understood that he had tried to tie down a deal with other car brands, including Kia, Hyundai and Peugeot.
Glencullen’s main operation is the two former Renault dealerships in Dublin run by the Bill Cullen Motor Group. They employ 45 staff between them.
Mr Cullen extended his “thanks and gratitude to his customers, staff and supporters”.
He continues to retain control of the Muckross Park Hotel Cloisters Spa in Killarney, which he co-owns with Jackie Lavin. Mr Cullen also starred in four seasons of TV3’s reality show The Apprentice.