Eight former senior executives in the Quinn Group are backing a bid by three northwest businessmen to buy back the manufacturing arm of the business, now called the Aventas Group.
The eight include former group chief executive Liam McCaffrey, former group development director Kevin Lunney, former group finance director Dara O'Reilly, and former radiator division chief executive Denis Doogan.
The three local businessmen leading the consortium, called the Quinn Business Retention Company (QBRC), are John McCartin, a Fine Gael councillor who leads Newtowngore Engineering Ltd, John "Bosco" O'Hagan, managing director of the Specialist Joinery Group, and Ernie Fisher, former managing director of Fisher Engineering Ltd.
Mr McCaffrey told The Irish Times the consortium was in talks with banks and private equity funds to support a bid for the entire business of Aventas, which has five manufacturing divisions from glass to cement. "KKR [a US $40 billion private equity fund] was prepared to offer us finance in 2011 to fund a management buy-in," Mr McCaffrey said. "Finance is a lot easier to raise now than it was then."
Mr McCaffrey agreed it was possible rival bids might also emerge. "We just want to be treated fairly and equally."
He said a priority would be to get access to up-to-date financial data for Aventas before making a formal bid.
“We will be bidding for all of the assets, we think they are much more valuable kept all together,” he said. “I think there is an alignment of interests between what is best for the local community and the interest of shareholders and debt providers in supporting this bid,” Mr McCaffrey said.
He believes a QBRC bid would deliver a “better capital structure that would allow the business grow and develop.”
Asked if he believed former billionaire Seán Quinn and members of his family would join the business if the QBRC bid was successful, he said: “I don’t know. I can’t rule anything in or out.”
Mr McCaffrey said the Quinn family was not involved in the approach. Mr Quinn declined to comment when contacted. In a statement, the board of Aventas said it “has recently received a highly preliminary indication of interest from Mr McCartin and two other individuals expressing interest in the potential acquisition of some or all of the assets or businesses of Aventas Manufacturing Group.”
Aventas said it had asked its financial advisers to request from Mr McCartin further information to “gain comfort on the deliverability of such a proposal, including the availability of financing to support any such potential transaction.”
The board of Aventas said it had yet to receive a response.
Aventas is 75 per cent owned by its former creditors – mainly banks, bondholders and hedge funds – with the remainder held by its principal former lender, Irish Bank Resolution Corporation.