Winding up the Sunday Business Post would leave creditors owed €6.5m but selling it as a going concern would leave a deficit of only €640,000, the High Court was told yesterday.
The Commercial Court in Dublin appointed Michael McAteer of Grant Thornton as interim examiner to protect the publication, which recorded a €1.2m loss in January.
When questioned by Mr Justice Peter Kelly Garvan Corkery, junior counsel for the company, said that management were looking for 20 to 25 voluntary redundancies by the end of the year.
Despite the figures, Judge Kelly was told there is a reasonable prospect for the survival of the paper and that expressions of interest have been made.
He said the appointment of the interim examiner was desirable and necessary for the company to continue to publish and have the protection to find new printers.
“It is crucial for the survival of the Sunday Business Post that it continues to publish,” said Judge Kelly.
“If it ceases there’s a real risk of its readership disappearing and its market share being dissipated. The failure to publish an edition of its newspaper would be seriously prejudicial to the confidence of its advertisers and consumers, and so to its survival,” he said.
Ross Kelly, a distributor, and the Revenue Commissioners were also listed as creditors, but the court heard its tax affairs are up to date and any money owed is not historic.
However, an accountant stressed survival would depend on the implementation of a cost-reduction programme involving the “renegotiation or repudiation” of its lease, which is in arrears by almost €600,000.
It pays €440,000 a year for premises on Harcourt St, Dublin 2, which were leased from Irish Life Assurance for 25 years from May 1990 on an upward-only basis.
Judge Kelly was told new printing arrangements were needed since Thomas Crosbie Printers Limited, which was in charge of outsourcing the printing, folded.
However, the deal allowed the newspaper group to break a contract with outsourced printers Webprint Concepts Limited.
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