Court grants injunction on Gill publisher premises

Family owners of property surprised by move to call in €3.3m loan acquired from IBRC

Michael Gill. Photographer: Dara Mac Dónaill

Michael Gill. Photographer: Dara Mac Dónaill

 

The landlord of a Dublin property which is home to the well-known publishing company Gill has secured a temporary High Court injunction preventing any move by a finance company to appoint a receiver over the building.

Michael Gill, Anne Gill, Marianne Gill, Fionnuala Gill, Ruth Gill and Gabriel Byrne, trading as the Windsor Partnership, sought the order against Gulland Property Finance Ltd, arising from its acquisition of loans made to the partnership by Anglo Irish Bank.

The injunction restrains Gulland taking any enforcement action or appointing a receiver on foot of a demand issued by Gulland earlier this week for payment of some €3.3 million.

The partnership claims Gulland was not entitled to make that demand when monthly repayments are being made and in the context of an agreement with Anglo, and the latter’s successor Irish Bank Resolution Corporation, extending the repayment period to 2020.

The property at Park West, Gallanstown, Co Dublin, is said to be worth some €4 million and was put up as security for the loans.

The interim injunction was sought ex parte (one side only represented) and granted by Mr Justice Paul Gilligan who returned the matter to later this week.

Seeking the injunction, Rossa Fanning, for the partnership, said the building’s tenant is the well-known book publisher Gill, which traded under the name of Gill and Macmillan up to January last.

The members of the Gill family involved in the partnership are the beneficial owners of the publisher, which has its headquarters at the Gallanstown property, counsel said.

The building was subject of a loan agreement between Anglo and the partnership for some IR£3.8 million, counsel said. After the bank collapsed, the loan was transferred to IBRC, which sold it in February 2015 to Gulland.

Gulland had told the partnership that, as far as it was concerned, the loan had expired and it had demanded the monies outstanding, some €3.3 million, be repaid in full, counsel said.

While the original terms provided the loan agreement was due to expire in 2005, the partnership entered into arrangements with Anglo to extend it and it was later agreed the loan would not have to be repaid until 2020, counsel said.

This arrangement was accepted by both Anglo and IBRC and Gulland was bound by that agreement, counsel argued. The partnership was fully solvent, was repaying interest on the loan on a monthly basis and at the end of each year makes a capital repayment of €137,000, he said.

Solicitors for the partnership had asked Gulland to withdraw its letter of demand but had “surprisingly” heard nothing back from Gulland, counsel said.  The partnership maintained Gulland was not entitled to issue a letter of demand and was concerned Gulland may attempt to appoint a receiver who would sell the building.

Those members of the Gill family who are members of the partnership are the beneficial owners of the publishing company, which effectively means they are their own landlord, Mr Fanning said. That brought certain advantages which would be lost if a receiver was appointed and the building sold.

This was clearly a case where damages would not be an adequate remedy and an interim injunction should be granted, he said.