Former Iceland franchise holder to seek appointment of examiner

ACCHL has high level of short-term debt at €5.6m but low level of long-term bank loans

The company that previously held the Irish franchise for the Iceland chain of grocery stores will apply to the High Court next Monday for an examiner to be appointed to give it protection from its creditors.

ACCHL, previously known as Aim Cash & Carry, recorded a collapse in its revenues after Iceland took back the franchise and bought Aim’s seven stores in late 2013. Iceland subsequently announced a plan to open 50 stores here under its own management.

The company, founded by Irish-based Indian businessman Naeem Maniar almost 20 years ago, is seeking to appoint Joseph Walsh of Hughes Blake accountants as examiner.

According to its most recent accounts, for the year to end-September 2013, almost €20 million of Aim’s €24 million turnover was attributable to its Iceland business. The company also owns a large cash and carry in west Dublin.


Barely profitable

The accounts show the company was barely profitable before it lost its Iceland franchise, and had a relatively high level of short-term debt at €5.6 million, mostly comprising trade creditors. Its long-term bank loans were relatively small for a retail company.

Its various borrowings were secured by guarantees. Bank of Baroda, a Manchester-based bank, had a personal guarantee from Mr Maniar and a lien on deposits of €22,000.

Ulster Bank and Bank of Ireland also had guarantees from Mr Maniar, while Bank of Scotland held a mortgage on its premises.

Creditor judgments

The company has also been hit with a number of judgments from creditors. The most recent of these was in June when PMS International, a UK-based toy distributor, secured a judgment for €16,000. It has also been hit with judgments from

South Dublin County Council


Mr Maniar had once planned a huge expansion of Iceland, a discount retailer founded by tycoon Malcom Walker. In November 2010, he announced he would open a further 45 stores, as well as 15 Home Saver stores. He claimed this would create 2,000 jobs over four years.

It emerged the plan had been abandoned due to a lack of financing, although Mr Maniar said he was in talks with Bank of Baroda to salvage the plan. Iceland took back the franchise shortly afterwards.

Mr Maniar’s cash and carry business has been operating in Dublin for 21 years, according to the website for Aim Cash & Carry.

Mr Maniar decline to comment last night.

Mark Paul

Mark Paul

Mark Paul is London Correspondent for The Irish Times