Examiner appointed to award-winning food firm
AN AWARD-winning food producer that got into a financial difficulty over unmanageable start-up debts was given a new lease of life by a High Court judge yesterday when an examiner was appointed.
McEvoy Family Foods Ltd, which hit the market from its Co Tipperary base in 2009, immediately won gold and silver awards for its seafood chowder and was crowned “best emerging business”.
Barrister Ross Gorman told the High Court it was the speed of its success that brought failure and put it in a position of being unable to pay its creditors within three years of set-up.
He said the company also produces fresh soups, sauces and garlic breads as “own brand” products for such retail giants as Superquinn, Musgraves, Supervalu and Lidl.
The firm’s managing director, Gary McEvoy, whose wife and company employee Jane was a contestant on the UK version of the TV show The Apprentice, petitioned the High Court for the appointment of interim examiner Neil Hughes.
Mr Justice Peter Charleton yesterday confirmed Mr Hughes as examiner, giving him 70 days in which to save the company and granting the firm protection from any creditors.
Declan Murphy, counsel for the examiner, told the court that an independent accountant’s report on the company gave it a reasonable prospect of survival, and a number of parties were willing to pour in new investment. Current cash flow would allow the company to continue trading throughout the examinership.
The court heard the company’s problems arose from higher than expected start-up costs and the need to relocate to its current production plant at Carrigeen Business Park, Clonmel, Co Tipperary.
It had been set up by Mr McEvoy, of Webbsborough, Ballyfoyle, Co Kilkenny, with funds provided by his aunt Noreen McBride, Rossmore Grove, Templeogue, Dublin, who played no active role on the production side.
Mr Justice Charleton said that although the company had experienced more than its share of bad luck in starting up he had been persuaded it had very good prospects not only of survival but for growth once given a sound footing through new investment. He was impressed with the company’s products and its prospects of sales for new products.