Former Xsil staff petition High Court for firm to be wound up

A GROUP of former employees of technology firm Xsil have petitioned the High Court to have the company wound up.

A GROUP of former employees of technology firm Xsil have petitioned the High Court to have the company wound up.

The 12 former staff say they are creditors of Xsil Ltd as they claim they are owed wages and holiday pay. The petition will be heard by the High Court on January 11th.

Xsil employed 44 people when it suddenly ceased trading in October 2008. The staff claim they are owed their last month’s salary, holiday pay and payment in lieu of notice. It is understood the total amount due is approximately €250,000.

Staff have received statutory redundancy payments from the Social Insurance Fund operated by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment.

Since staff were let go, Xsil has not been put into liquidation or had a receiver appointed.

Last May, the firm sold intellectual property and machinery to US firm Electro Scientific Industries. At that time Paul Oldham, chief financial officer of the Nasdaq-quoted company, said ESI had “paid $2.3 million [€1.6 million] to purchase intellectual property and related capital assets of Xsil”.

Xsil director and co-founder Peter Conlon told staff at the time that the deal would not be completed until July 2010 at the earliest. Yesterday, Mr Conlon told The Irish Timeshe had not received any notice of the petition.

“Liquidation could solve a lot of the problems with Xsil,” said Mr Conlon.

He said he had considered appointing a receiver to the company but the costs would be too high. He said the situation was complicated as there were four companies in the Xsil group. The assets sold to ESI belonged to Xsil Technology rather than Xsil Ltd, which is the subject of the winding-up petition.

Mr Conlon said Xsil Ltd had no assets to speak of except stock, which had been valued at “a couple of hundred thousand dollars, but we’d be lucky to get a cent on the dollar for it”.

Xsil was one of Ireland’s more successful technology companies in the early part of this decade and at one stage employed more than 150 staff. It sold laser cutting to semiconductor manufacturers and it is understood HP and Samsung were among its customers. It made a pretax profit of €8.5 million on sales of €38.3 million in 2006.