Newspaper printer prepares legal challenge

Webprint Concepts lost multi-year contract to publish the Irish Examiner

CIARÁN HANCOCK, Finance Correspondent

Lawyers for Webprint Concepts are preparing a legal challenge to the restructuring last week of media company Thomas Crosbie Holdings (TCH), which saw the Cork-based printer lose a lucrative multi-year contract to publish a number of newspapers, including the Irish Examiner and the Sunday Business Post.

Law firm Mason Hayes & Curran is acting for Webprint and it is understood that senior counsel Brian Murray and Declan McGrath have been lined up to handle the case in the High Court.

The proceedings are expected to be lodged early this week. The action will involve TCH, which is now in receivership, Landmark Media Investments, which acquired most of TCH’s assets last week, and The Irish Times, which has secured the contract to print the titles. Based at Mahon Point in Cork, Webprint employs 50 staff and had printed the TCH titles since 2006. The contract accounted for about two- thirds of Webprint’s business.


TCH was last week placed into receivership by AIB following a request from the company, with Kieran Wallace of KPMG appointed to the role. In a pre-arranged deal, it was immediately acquired by Landmark Media Investments, which is owned by Tom and Ted Crosbie.

This branch of the Crosbie family owned 33 per cent of TCH via a family trust. Two other family trusts lost out in the restructuring of the Cork-based media group.

As part of the restructuring, Post Publications Ltd, publishers of the Sunday Business Post, was placed into examinership. This gives it protection from its creditors for up to 100 days while the examiner, Michael McAteer of Grant Thornton, seeks a new investor for the business.

The “prepack” receivership involved a deal with The Irish Times to print Landmark’s titles, including the Irish Examiner, the Evening Echo and its regional titles.

The Irish Times also agreed a deal with Post Publications Ltd to print the Sunday Business Post. AIB has also provided financial support to Landmark, having been the largest lender to TCH.

Webprint Concepts is expected to seek reinstatement of the contract or damages of ¤20 million or more.

The company is expected to claim “unlawful interference” in its 15-year contract, valued at ¤45 million. The contract had eight years to run and the company is owed ¤2.7 million in arrears by TCH.

Ciarán Hancock

Ciarán Hancock

Ciarán Hancock is Business Editor of The Irish Times