Green fuel distributor will strongly contest application for winding-up, court hears

Provisional liquidators were appointed to Green D Project Ireland last week

A green fuel distributor denies it is insolvent and is strongly contesting an application for it to be wound up on foot of concerns raised by two of its largest creditors about a potential dissipation of assets.

The High Court last Friday appointed provisional liquidators to Green D Project Ireland on the application of UK-based distributor Green Biofuels Limited, supported by Certa Ireland Limited, which supplies fuel to businesses, petrol stations and for home heating.

Green Biofuels is under administration and has a 65 per cent stake in Green D, which has a registered address at Fitzwilliam Street Upper in Dublin. It alleges it is owed €40.5 million, while Certa claims €16 million is due to it.

Mr Justice Mark Sanfey was satisfied, on the evidence before him, that there were grounds for him to appoint Colin Farquharson and Luke Charleton of EY Ireland, as provisional liquidators. He made the orders while only the creditors were represented and the company had not been notified of the application.


The case returned before him on various occasions this week, including on Thursday, when he was told by Gary McCarthy SC, for Green D, that the application to appoint liquidators will be vigorously contested by his client.

Counsel said Green D is not insolvent and disputes it owes Green Biofuels €40.5 million. It alleges Green Biofuels owes it money and that there was material non-disclosure by it in seeking the appointment of the provisional liquidators.

The judge proposed hearing the contested liquidation application in about two weeks.

Moving the petition for the provisional appointments last Friday, Bernard Dunleavy SC, with Ross Gorman BL, for Green Biofuels, said management accounts show Green D incurred losses of €10.7 million in the 10 months to August 2023 and had a deficiency of assets over liabilities of about €13.3 million.

Mr Dunleavy submitted that the firm is insolvent.

His client, which has a registered office in Bristol, England, has “grave concerns” about a significant quantity of fuel that has apparently gone missing from tanks leased by Green D at the State’s largest biofuel terminal in Ringaskiddy, Co Cork, he said.

He pointed to an affidavit from Certa’s managing director, Andrew Graham, who said Certa paid Green D €26.7 million to procure 18 million litres of hydrotreated vegetable oil fuel. Mr Graham claimed Certa has also been paying Green D a monthly fee for this to be stored at the Co Cork facility where it was not be intermixed with other product.

Green D’s sole director, Karl Pattemore, informed Certa, which claims it had been prevented from checking the tanks itself, the fuel dip recorded 8 million litres in early October, when about 17 million litres should have been stored for Certa, Mr Graham alleged. This was “very alarming”, Mr Graham added, as there is “no reasonable explanation” for how the fuel level could have reduced by 9.3 million litres over nine days.

“Certa is not aware of what happened to the missing circa 9 million litres of fuel or if it ever even existed,” he said, adding that the firm is concerned there has been serious dishonesty on the part of Green D “which may amount to fraud”.

This is a matter for the provisional liquidators to consider “as a matter of priority”, he said.

Mr Dunleavy told the court last week that Green Biofuels is missing substantial sums owed to it on foot of fuel shipments it arranged and delivered. It also alleges it paid some €8 million to Revenue on behalf of the company, mainly relating to excise duty.

He pressed an urgency to appointing provisional liquidators due to extreme concerns about a potential dissipation of assets, which he said there is “strong evidence for”.

His client has a 65 per cent share in Green D, while a 30 per cent stake is held by Eromettap Holdings Limited, which is an entity owned by Mr Pattemore, of Coliemore Road, Dalkey, Co Dublin.

The court heard there is a separate shareholder row between his Eromettap and Green Biofuels. Earlier this week, Paul McGarry SC, for Eromettap, told the court his client has been granted a temporary injunction in that case preventing Green Biofuels from transferring its shares. He said Eromettap is the only party entitled to purchase the shares.

He said he has concerns the provisional liquidator application was made to undermine his proceedings. Counsel for Green Biofuels rejected this contention.

All of the claims are denied.

Ellen O'Riordan

Ellen O'Riordan

Ellen O'Riordan is an Irish Times reporter