Celtic Pure water company secures examiner after arsenic recall

Mr Justice Michael Quinn heard that there have been 20 expressions of interest from potential investors in the firm

Padraig  McEneaney, Celtic Pure Natural Spring Water

Padraig McEneaney, Celtic Pure Natural Spring Water

 

The High Court has confirmed the appointment of an examiner to water firm Celtic Pure, which was at the centre of recent product recalls.

Mr Justice Michael Quinn also heard that there have been 20 expressions of interest from potential investors in the firm.

Last month, the Co Monaghan-based provider of bottled drinking water sought the protection of the court from its creditors due to the fall out from two investigations launched after naturally occurring arsenic in some of the firm’s batches exceeded regulatory limits.

This resulted in two precautionary product recalls. While the company says the source of the contamination has been dealt with, and that it is in compliance with health and safety requirements, the company’s business has suffered.

It said that key retail customers suspended orders, its monthly sales for August dropped by 75 per cent, that it has incurred some €3 million in unforeseen once-off costs, and it has cash flow difficulties.

While the company is insolvent, an independent expert’s report had stated that it had a good prospect of survival if an examiner was appointed.

If the examiner can put together a scheme of arrangement with the firm’s creditors then the company has a good prospect of surviving as a going concern, the report added.

Fresh investment

The steps identified by the independent expert to ensure the company can continue to trade include that Celtic Pure obtain fresh investment so it can restructure its debts and provide future working capital.

The case returned before the court on Monday when Mr Justice Quinn said he was satisfied to appoint Declan McDonald of PwC as examiner to the company, which employs 75 people.

While representatives of several of Celtic Pure’s creditors were in court, there were no objections to the application to have Mr McDonald approved as the examiner.

Mr McDonald had been acting as the company’s examiner on an interim basis.

The court was told that since his appointment as examiner there have been 20 expressions of interest from potential investors in the company.

Mr McDonald now has a maximum of 100 days since his appointment to put together a scheme with the creditors.