Former Usit director says firms had money to meet obligations

 

A former director of two Usit companies, Mr Gordon Colleary, told the High Court yesterday that the companies had a turnover of more than €500 million at the time of the group's collapse.

Based on his previous experience of the companies, he expected they had adequate resources to continue the operation in existence for the foreseeable future and pay debts as they became due, Mr Colleary added.

Mr Colleary was giving evidence on affidavit on the second day of the application by the liquidator of Usit Ltd and Usit World plc, Mr Ray Jackson, for an order under Section 150 of the Companies Act against a number of individuals who were directors of the two companies.

A person against whom a Section 150 order is made may not act as a director of a company which does not meet certain minimum capital requirements for a five-year period.

Mr Jackson's application is being opposed by the directors.

It is contended by the liquidator that there are liabilities of €120 million and receipts of €2.4 million while it is contended on behalf of Mr Colleary that liabilities are €20 million less. The liquidator submits that Usit World plc has liabilities of €61 million and receipts of €1.57 million.

Mr Jackson, in an affidavit yesterday, said he remained of the view that Usit Ltd held inadequate books and records. That failure, in his view, may evidence a lack of responsibility on the part of the directors, in particular in a context where the company was, at least in balance sheet terms, seriously insolvent. That fact alone, he believed, ought to have caused the directors to exercise very particular care to ensure that proper records were maintained and kept up to date.

A spokesman for Usit Ireland Ltd pointed out yesterday that, while it was formerly part of Usit World Group, it is now under completely new ownership and has no connection to the former directors. It is trading normally and is not involved in the present proceedings.