Irish Car Rental's board agrees to quit for investor

 

A CLEAR-OUT of the board of Irish Car Rentals Ltd sought as a condition of investment in the court-protected ICR motor group of companies has been agreed, the High Court heard yesterday.

The executive directors of the company said they were prepared to resign in the interests of the survival of the group, which employs 160 people. They have also agreed to resign as employees of the companies without any compensation for loss of office so as to facilitate the survival.

The matter was before Mr Justice Frank Clarke yesterday, who said he had listed it because interested investors wanted a clear-out of the board. If there was going to be a dispute about that, it had the potential to affect the proposed schemes of arrangement for the companies’ survival.

The judge had previously voiced concerns arising from a forensic accountants report by Grant Thornton, which revealed what the judge described as a “hole of five to six million” in the accounts and made various claims against directors.

Counsel for one of those directors, John Culleton, said previously his client rejected any allegations against him but was prepared to resign in the interests of the company.

In those circumstances and after hearing submissions from Rossa Fanning, for the examiner, and Brian Kennedy, for the companies, the judge said he would continue court protection to May 19th to allow the examiner finalise survival proposals.

Mr Fanning said the examiner, Michael McAteer of Grant Thornton accountants, may seek to repudiate rents if these cannot be renegotiated and, if so, would make that application as soon as possible.

The court had granted protection to Irish Car Rentals Ltd and six related companies on February 8th.

In an affidavit yesterday, Mr McAteer said he had reached agreement, subject to conditions, with two proposed investors to invest in both the retail and rental business of the group. He was confident of satisfying those conditions before the end of the period of court protection.

Mr McAteer said both proposed investors had stipulated that a condition of their investment in the companies was the resignation of the current board of directors and the appointment of the proposed investor nominees as their replacements.

The ICR group operates the Europcar, Alamo and National car rental franchises for the Republic. It comprises Irish Car Rentals Ltd, Irish Car Rental (Holdings) Ltd, ICRG Dealerships Ltd, Ennis Road Motors Ltd, Motorzone Ltd, Car Central Ltd and Clareview Auto Repair Centre Ltd.