Clerys liquidation could have two years left on the clock

According to filings by KPMG, liquidation to take 12-24 months to finalise

Natrium, fronted by developer Deirdre Foley with backing from Cheyne Capital, flipped the department store building last October to a consortium for €63m, more than doubling investors’ cash in a little over three years. Photographer: Dara Mac Dónaill

Natrium, fronted by developer Deirdre Foley with backing from Cheyne Capital, flipped the department store building last October to a consortium for €63m, more than doubling investors’ cash in a little over three years. Photographer: Dara Mac Dónaill

 

As the new owners of the Clerys site gear up to transform it into a high-grade, mixed-use development, the entrails of the shuttered Dublin department store’s old operating company could take up to two more years to sew up.

In recent weeks, documents were filed on behalf of the KPMG liquidators of OCS Operations, which ran the store day to day before it closed suddenly in early summer 2015 after the Natrium consortium took over the building.

The sacked and distressed employees were literally put out on to the street in front of television cameras.

According to the filings, the liquidation is expected to take a further “12-24 months” to finalise, due to legal proceedings.

The liquidated OCS Operations had a bank balance of about €108,000 on December 17th, according to the filings, following a payment in August of more than €200,000 to the liquidator’s legal adviser, McCann Fitzgerald.

The fees accrued so far to the liquidator total about €246,000, according to a ledger tacked on to the official update, while legal fees were about €421,000. The total paid to the lawyers and accountants and other “professional fees” of almost €13,000 have so far eaten about 28 per cent of the total pot of just over €2.4 million.

Lost jobs

Employees who lost their jobs, meanwhile, were paid €390,000 from this amount, with the State forced to pick up the tab for the rest of their statutory redundancy entitlements.

Natrium, fronted by developer Deirdre Foley with backing from Cheyne Capital, flipped the department store building last October to a consortium for €63 million, more than doubling investors’ cash in a little over three years.

The new owners, led by investment group Europa Capital, plan to redevelop the historic building to include retail use on the ground floor and a hotel complex on the upper floors.

In recent weeks, new branding has appeared around the building, promising the advent of a “Clerys Quarter” on the O’Connell Street site.

In the minds of city residents, however, it will take more than shiny hoardings to divorce the Clerys moniker from one of the State’s most controversial business closures of recent decades.

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