AS MANY AS 600 jobs could be placed at risk after the High Court declined to appoint an examiner to Mr Binman, a family-owned chain of waste disposal companies, instead appointing receivers to the group.
Mr Binman, which directly employs 331 people in Munster, says up to 270 other jobs may be indirectly dependent on their business and that those jobs could now be lost by the court’s decision.
Kieran Wallace and Padraic Monaghan of KPMG were appointed as joint receivers on the application of the group’s largest creditor, Bank of Scotland, which is reportedly owed €53m.
Justice Mary Finlay Geoghegan refused to confirm examinership, saying the companies had not made sufficient claims that they could continue as a going concern with a reasonable prospect of continuing operations.
The Mr Binman companies had been under court protection but this no longer applies. The directors of the company did not appeal the decision to appoint an examiner and did not oppose the subsequent appointment of the receivers.
Mr Wallace confirmed the business will continue to operate and all household and commercial bins will be collected and processed as normal. He intends to sell the business as a going concern and is confident that a suitable buyer will be announced shortly.
Mr Binman has over 65,000 customers in Limerick, Clare, Kerry, Cork, Tipperary and Waterford. It is based in Kilmallock, has a network of offices and depots throughout the region and employs 331 people. Established in 1993, it has been owned and operated by the Sheahan family.
The company has faced very difficult trading conditions in a highly competitive environment, primarily influenced by economic factors. Despite discussions between the company and its lenders, it has not been possible to stabilise the business’s finances and return it to financial health outside of an insolvency process.
Commenting on the future of the business, Mr Wallace said, “This is a good business with a strong brand, excellent operations and a growing customer base. I will be seeking a suitable buyer for the business as a going concern to protect the business and to secure as many jobs as possible. I am very confident that this will be an attractive business and that I will be in a position to announce a buyer shortly.”
In a statement, the group’s directors said they had done everything in their power to save the company and were “bitterly upset and disappointed” that the court had refused confirmation of the appointment of the examiner.
Its founder, Martin Sheahan, said the directors had taken the decision not to appeal the judgement on the basis of the complete intransigence of Bank of Scotland (Ireland) who vehemently refused to support an examinership despite the fact that over six investors had expressed interest in investing in the group and all other creditors supported the examinership route.
“Ultimately, it would appear that Bank of Scotland (Ireland), a foreign owned bank, are only interested in writing down their own loan book, despite widespread support for an examinership from the Irish business community.
“Bank of Scotland (Ireland) have taken millions upon millions of euros from us in repayments over the years and if they were not running away from Ireland, we would not be in this situation today in my opinion.
“It is incredible to think that a bank which had no problem coming to Ireland and giving and receiving money when times were good could be so quick to run away when times got tough.
“My life’s work has been Mr Binman and it is a sad day for family-run businesses and entrepreneurship in Ireland when a foreign lender takes a life’s work away,” Mr Sheahan said.