Sean Quinn stunned at rebranding of Quinn Industrial Holdings

Veteran businessman questions right of former executives to rename firm he founded

Sean Quinn: ‘That company was 25 years old when any of those boys got involved.’ File photograph: The Irish Times

Sean Quinn: ‘That company was 25 years old when any of those boys got involved.’ File photograph: The Irish Times

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Businessman Sean Quinn has said that it is “hard to believe” that executives who ran his one-time business Quinn Industrial Holdings were now changing its name to Mannok.

Mr Quinn queried the right of his former executives, Liam McCaffrey, Kevin Lunney and Dara O’Reilly, to drop his name from a business that they did not join until 25 years after he formed it in 1973.

“That company was 25 years old when any of those boys got involved. What right they seem to have to rebrand it, but that is entirely up to them. They weren’t even around,” he said.

“In any company the first 20 to 25 years are important for a company. The first five years are important for the company. Where they see the right to rebrand the company that they weren’t even part of putting together is hard to believe.”

The Border-based industrial business, now owned by US hedge funds and a local consortium, has carried the name of its founder as Quinn Industrial Holdings since 2014.

It is being renamed Mannok based on the Irish for Fermanagh, Mr Quinn’s home county where he began his business.

The company said that the rebranding marked “the culmination of a five-year transformation and investment programme” and will replace “QIH and a wide range of variations of same used by the business and other stakeholders”.

“The word Mannok comes from Fear Manach – the origin of Fermanagh – meaning man/people of Manach. It reflects our enormous pride in our origins – our near-50 year heritage, our quality products and especially our people,” the company said.

The business decided to change its name for commercial reasons due to the association with the recent past when it was subjected to a years-long campaign of intimidation culminating in an abduction and violent attack on Mr Lunney a year ago.

The company’s rebranding will involve the letter M replacing Q on the firm’s cement and building materials lorries. There are also plans to remove the Q letter above the company’s head office in Derrylin, Co Fermanagh, at some point.

The rebranding process began over the weekend with the arrival of six new lorries in its new livery. It was carried out in secrecy over concerns about how the changes might be received by locals loyal to Mr Quinn.

Anglo Irish Bank bet

The businessman declined to comment on how people in the Cavan-Fermanagh area might react to the name change.

Mr Quinn lost control of his businesses in 2011 over a multibillion euro bet on the share price of Anglo Irish Bank, which collapsed in the 2008-09 financial crisis.

Quinn Group, the holding company, was previously renamed by new management as Aventus in 2013 before the Quinn name returned to the overall company with the establishment of Quinn Industrial Holdings under local management in 2014.

Mr Quinn returned to QIH as a consultant but left in 2016 amid growing tensions between him and the management team that included executives who previously ran the business for him.

The businessman has condemned the campaign of vandalism and intimidation against the company.

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