Court approves survival scheme for Gerry Barrett companies

Jobs of employees have been saved and trade creditors have been paid, court hears

Developer Gerry Barrett. The High Court approved a survival scheme for seven companies controlled by Galway businessman.

Developer Gerry Barrett. The High Court approved a survival scheme for seven companies controlled by Galway businessman.

 

The High Court has approved a survival scheme for seven companies formerly controlled by Galway businessman Gerry Barrett and employing 330 people. Under the scheme, the jobs of employees have been saved and trade creditors have been paid, the court was told.

Ms Justice Marie Baker said she was satisfied to approve the seven schemes which will see the companies, which operate businesses in Galway including the G Hotel, Meyrick Hotel, apartments, a retail park and the Eye Cinema, formally exit examinership on December 21st.

The schemes were proposed by examiner Neil Hughes, of Baker Tilly Hughes Blake, following lengthy talks between the companies and their main creditor, Deutsche Bank.

Agreement

Paul Gallagher SC, with Neil Steen SC, for the bank, which had supported the examiner’s proposals, said an agreement had been reached with Mr Barrett and his wife Catherine on confidential terms and they were withdrawing their objections to the schemes. Mr Barrett will no longer be involved with the companies when the schemes take effect.

The companies, represented by Gary McCarthy SC and Michael Cush SC, and whose directors are Mr Barrett and his wife, of Drimbawn House Chestnut Lane, Lower Dangan, Galway, sought court protection last September after Deutsche Bank appointed a receiver over the firms in late August.

They had opposed the survival schemes on grounds including claims the scheme was unfair to one class of impaired creditors.

Deutsche Bank, owed more than €690 million by the group after acquiring its loans from the National Asset Management Agency in 2015, initially opposed the appointment of the examiner. It claimed that was an attempt by the companies to renege on a 2016 debt settlement agreement which would have resulted in sale of the group’s assets to reduce its debt to the bank.

Following rulings by the High Court and Court of Appeal, the examiner was appointed to all seven companies.

Approval

Under the schemes, an investor, Waltzfire Ltd, will put €89 million, plus an additional €9 million as working capital, into the companies

Outside court, Mr Hughes said approval by the court of the scheme “showed the benefits of the examinership process”. This was “an unusual case” where, under the scheme all 33O full and part-time workers employed by all the firms “had been saved” and “all the creditors had been paid”.

Mr Hughes thanked the Barrett family, the companies and creditors for their assistance in formulating the schemes.