Siac seeks more than €210m from Polish authorities over motorway dispute

Irish group and its partner had to apply for court protection from its creditors

Siac Construction: profit before tax was €322,000 in 2015. The company lost €2.775 million the previous year.   Photograph: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

Siac Construction: profit before tax was €322,000 in 2015. The company lost €2.775 million the previous year. Photograph: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

 

Building and engineering group Siac and its partner are pursuing the Polish authorities for more than €210 million as a result of the dispute that forced the Irish company to seek court protection from its creditors.

The High Court appointed Michael McAteer of Grant Thornton as examiner to Siac in late 2013 after the fallout from the dispute over a €400 million contract to build part of the A4 motorway in Poland threatened its survival.

Siac’s accounts for 2015 state that the partnership it formed with local builder PBG to work on the contract has so far submitted claims for €64 million against GDDKiA, Poland’s roads directorate, stemming from the dispute, and plans to seek a further €150 million in coming months.

The Irish company’s share of this will be more than €100 million. This indicates that trade creditors who lost out under the restructuring that resulted from the examinership could stand to gain about €20 million from this.

Litigation

As part of the rescue plan agreed in early 2014 under the examinership, the group committed to paying 20 per cent of whatever it recovered from its Polish litigation to unsecured creditors of Siac Holdings Ireland and Siac Bituminous Products.

However, Siac expects GDDKiA to defend the claims. Its accounts state that a bank that funded the joint venture is seeking €19.9 million from the total that it is claiming. Siac doubts that the lender is entitled to this.

Siac became involved in Poland during a construction boom in 2010 when it won the tender to build 35km of motorway and bridges between the towns of Kruz and Debica. Work on the project had already started when PBG, then Poland’s third-largest building company, went bankrupt.

Siac cancelled the project in 2012 after the dispute with GDDKiA developed.

Siac Construction Ltd earned profits of €322,000 last year, turning around a 2014 loss of €2.7 million, according to the latest figures.

Turnover

Its accounts show that turnover was €25.3 million in 2015. The figure was 42 per cent more than the €17.8 million recorded in 2014, but accounts for that year only covered the 10 months after it emerged from examinership.

The company’s balance sheet shows that net assets on December 31st, 2015, stood at €6.224 million, up from €5.8 million the previous year.

Directors Martin Maher and Pearse Ferguson say that its waste water and roads divisions were the strongest performers in 2015.