Businessman Sean Quinn back at his Derrylin plant

Crate of beer shared as former billionaire returns to former Quinn Group premises

 

The former billionaire Sean Quinn was back in his former Quinn Group premises in Derrylin, Co Fermanagh this morning, his first time on the site since the business was seized from him in April 2011.

Part of the industrial conglomerate Mr Quinn developed on the site of his former family farm in Derrylin was purchased by the Quinn Business Retention Company, an entity set up by former executives in the Quinn Group and local supporters of the now bankrupt businessman, and the deal was officially concluded today.

Mr Quinn turned up at the premises to wish everyone well, and a crate of beer was shared around, according to John McCartain of the Quinn Business Retention Company. “There was a crate of beer. It didn’t go far. The atmosphere was one of people feeling relieved as for the first time in a while there is a view that a confrontational period in the area has been put behind us.”

The takeover by the since liquidated bank of the Quinn Group, and its change of name to the Aventas Group, was a sore issue on the Cavan/Fermanagh border where for a number of decades the Quinn Group was the major employer and support for the Quinn family was very strong. A number of criminal attacks on Aventas management and on the Derrylin premises have occurred since the seizure from the Quinn family.

Mr McCartin, a local Fine Gael councillor, is to serve as a non-executive director of the new operator of the group, Quinn Industrial Holdings Ltd, along with two executives and representatives of three former bondholders in the Quinn Group who have supported the €100 million purchase.

Mr Quinn is to give advice to the new operators, according to Mr McCartin. What remuneration he will be paid for this once his period of bankruptcy has been completed has not yet been decided “but we don’t expect him to run around the place for nothing.”

The Aventas signs on the premises were taken down but an “ill-advised” attempt to burn one of them was stopped, Mr McCartin said.

No other member of the Quinn family has as yet been appointed to any role in the new group. Mr McCartin said it is hoped to grow the packaging and construction supplies units that have been purchased. Former top executives with the Quinn Group, Liam McCaffrey, Dara O’Reilly and Kevin Lunney, are involved in the new venture.

The three US bondholder groups that backed the purchase are Brigade, Contrarian and Silver Point.