Court clears examiner to seven Gerry Barrett firms to agree deal with investor

Galway firms include G Hotel, Hotel Meyrick and Eye Cinema

G Hotel: the five-star Galway hotel was part of a group of companies with debts of more than €690 million

G Hotel: the five-star Galway hotel was part of a group of companies with debts of more than €690 million

 

The examiner of seven companies controlled by the Galway businessman Gerry Barrett has secured High Court orders permitting him to enter an agreement with an investor.

Neil Hughes was confirmed last month by the Court of Appeal as examiner to firms connected to several businesses in Galway, including the five-star G Hotel, four star Hotel Meyrick, apartments, a retail park and the Eye Cinema, which between them employ 330 people full and part time.

On Wednesday Ms Justice Marie Baker granted Mr Hughes powers under the Companies Act 2014 to enter an agreement with Waltzfire Ltd. James Doherty SC, for Mr Hughes, sought the orders because the directors of the companies would not sign documents necessary for the investment to go ahead, and Mr Hughes feared the deal would fall through. Funds from the investment are to be used for the examiner’s arrangement with the companies’ creditors.

Mr Hughes had turned down an investment proposal from Besomhill Ltd, a company controlled by Mr Barrett, the court heard.

Opposing the application, Gary McCarthy SC, for the companies, said the directors had not signed because they had insufficient information about the Waltzfire proposal.

In her ruling, the judge said she was taking into account the time-sensitive nature of the examinership and the fact that the companies had known since November 6th that Besomhill had not been the successful bidder. She accepted an undertaking from the examiner not to sign the investment agreement until noon on Thursday.

The companies in examinership are KH Kitty Hall Holdings Ltd, ML Meyrick Ltd and Mono Trading Ltd, Edward Leisure Assets Unlimited Company, Niche Hotels Unlimited Company, Style City Limited and Radical Properties Unlimited Company. They are all part of Mr Barrett’s Edward Capital Group.

The companies sought court protection in August after Deutsche Bank appointed a receiver over the firms. Deutsche, owed more than €690 million by the group after acquiring its loans from Nama in 2015, opposed examinership. The bank claimed the companies were trying to renege on a 2016 debt-settlement agreement that would have resulted in the sale of the group’s assets to reduce its debt to the bank. That claim was denied by the companies, which argued that the bank had breached the settlement agreement.

The firm’s directors are Gerry Barrett and Catherine Barrett, of Lower Dangan, Galway.