Superquinn directors apply to High Court for examinership

Following Superquinn chief executive Andrew Street's shock resignation, the company's directors have applied to the High Court for examinership



22 July 2011

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Superquinn and its directors David Courtney, Kieran Ryan and Simon Cantrell, began High Court proceedings at 5.50 pm yesterday (Thursday 21 July) in order to have an examiner appointed to the troubled business.

Their decision followed hot on the heels of Superquinn chief executive Andrew Street’s resignation announcement earlier that day.

In an email to senior colleagues, Street said he had decided to resign because he wasn’t happy with the way the chain’s suppliers were being treated by the receivers.

Considerable cost to suppliers

“This is being done at considerable cost to our suppliers,” said the former head of the company.

“Many of them are small businesses and most of them are long-time and loyal supporters of the company.”

He said he had hoped the banks would have used a portion of the proceeds to pay suppliers in full, but they refused, and this was a direct result of a policy decided on by Bank of Ireland’s executive.

He added that not only were suppliers suffering but that the issue was affecting the chain’s ability to restock its shelves, which would inevitably impact on sales.

The directors’ lawyers told the High Court this morning that they are starting proceedings today to have an appointment for an examinership set aside. They are also seeking an injunction to stop the receivers taking any action.

A date for a full hearing is expected to be set on Monday.

Cantrell denies his consent

The court was also told that one of the directors of Superquinn is claiming that he did not give his consent to the presentation of a petition seeking court protection for the company.

According to reports, lawyers for Simon Cantrell claimed that while his name is on the documentation, he allegedly did not agree to it. However the court heard that three other people who were in the room, were prepared to affirm that he did consent to the petition.

The general secretary of Mandate, John Douglas, then addressed the court. He said the 2,500 workers and their families were fearful that as these legal proceedings continued their jobs would be lost.

Employees’ position ‘very important’

Ms Justice Mary Finlay Geoghegan said the position of employees in an examinership application was very important. She said the employees could consult their solicitor over the weekend about whether they wanted to be separately represented at the examinership hearing. She said they could make an application to be represented on Monday afternoon.

In a statement released this afternoon, Musgrave said that it was its “considered opinion” that its purchase of Superquinn was “the only realistic course of action capable of resolving the challenges facing Superquinn.

‘”The alternative being proposed provides no certainty on protecting jobs, keeping stores open or on maintaining a commitment to the Irish supply chain,” the statement said.

Musgrave well received by Superquinn staff

“This purchase agreement immediately secures the jobs of 2,800 people, provides Superquinn with the investment it needs to successfully develop the business and provides certainty about the future for suppliers,” it added.

Yesterday afternoon, before the application for examinership was announced, Superquinn employees told ShelfLife that the general feeling amongst staff is one of optimism.

They felt that Musgrave would help get the company back on track and that their professionalism and buying power would regain lost market share.



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