Firms accused in aircraft lease case


A COMMERCIAL company whose profits are distributed to charities is seeking judgment for more than €14 million against two other firms over alleged persistent breaches of lease agreements for aircraft, including helicopters involved in search-and-rescue operations.

It also wants orders for repossession of three helicopters and equipment, including medical kits.

The proceedings by Abbey International Finance Ltd, Merrion Square, Dublin – beneficially owned by the World Charitable Foundation of Ireland – came before Mr Justice Peter Kelly at the Commercial Court yesterday, who said he will deal on Friday with Abbey’s claim to enter the case in that court’s list.

Since 1993, Abbey has paid more than €21 million to its beneficial owner, all of which was distributed to charities in Ireland and abroad, the court heard. The action is against Point Ireland Helicopters SA, with registered offices at Earslfort Terrace, Dublin, and Elitaliana SpA, with offices in Rome. Both defendant companies are in the same group of companies whose parent is the Italian company, Point Holdings SpA.

Declan McGrath, for Abbey, said the case related to a series of aircraft lease agreements involving a number of helicopters and air medical kits. More than €14.3 million was involved.

While Abbey is a commercial entity, counsel said, its work is carried out for charitable objectives and its profits put to good causes. His client was seeking to service loans at the same time the defendants were defaulting on their lease payment obligations, he said.

Colm Ó hOisin SC, for the defendants, said the proceedings had been served just last Thursday and he needed time to take instructions.