Examiner seeks almost €300k in fees over attempts to save Sammon group

Examiner seeks almost €300k in fees over attempts to save Sammon group

An Irish building group wound up as a result of the collapse of the UK construction giant Carillion plc is at the centre of a High Court dispute over €294,000 in professional fees and costs sought by an examiner appointed to try and save the business.

Michael McAteer of Grant Thornton was appointed examiner in 2018 of the Sammon group which was involved in building five schools and an institute of education here around the time of the Carillion collapse.

Micheál Sammon Woodcraft Limited and Sammon Construction Ireland Limited were the two companies in the group whose parent was the Sammon Contracting Group Ltd.

When Carillion went into liquidation in January 2018, it owed Sammon companies €8m which it could not pay.

Mr McAteer worked on a survival scheme for Sammon during the statutory 100 day period after the High Court granted it protection against its creditors.

During this time, Randelswood Holdings, which is associated with the McGrath Group of property developers, expressed interest in investing €2.1m to ensure Sammon's survival. Randelswood provided funding during this time totaling €630,000.

When contracts for Sammon were not continued, the court removed protection on June 5, 2018, and ordered the winding up of two of the Sammon companies. By the end of June, the third was also wound up.

Mr McAteer then asked the court to approve costs and fees for work on the examinership. Randelswood, as a creditor and notice party, objected saying its debts should be paid on an equal footing with the examiner's bill.

It also asked whether the examiner's costs were necessary and whether the examinership should have ended sooner as it should have been apparent by early May 2018, survival was not possible.

Mr McAteer argued the level of fees was reasonable, the work on the survival efforts was necessary and he had provided as much detail as he can about the examinership work.

On Monday, in a judgment delivered electronically, Mr Justice Senan Allen said the combined claim for remuneration and costs of the examinership came to €294,872.97. Nearly 700 hours work was claimed at hourly rates of between €84 and €357 depending on rates for seniors and juniors working for the examiner.

The judge was satisfied criticism of Mr. McAteer as to the duration of the examinership was without foundation. Randelswood’s complaint about an unnecessarily long examinership had not been made out, he said.

However, the onus was squarely upon the examiner to justify his claim by reference to the extent, nature, complexity of work done.

The judge did not believe the information which has been put before the court is sufficient.

However, he was allowing Mr McAteer an opportunity to put further evidence before the court if he wishes.

This can be done by lawyers for Mr McAteer emailing the court registrar after which Randelswood could reply, he said.

More on this topic

Printing firm Reads' owner seeks injunction against landlordPrinting firm Reads' owner seeks injunction against landlord

Electrical contractors' group challenges trade pay regime in High CourtElectrical contractors' group challenges trade pay regime in High Court

Judge says 22-month delay not enough to stop robbery case against 19-year-oldJudge says 22-month delay not enough to stop robbery case against 19-year-old

Four men released from custody after agreeing not to trespass on repossessed Dublin propertiesFour men released from custody after agreeing not to trespass on repossessed Dublin properties


More in this Section

France unveils €8bn plan to rescue ailing car industryFrance unveils €8bn plan to rescue ailing car industry

Denmark suffers less economic pain from Covid-19 than EUDenmark suffers less economic pain from Covid-19 than EU

English language education network fears 90% drop in revenuesEnglish language education network fears 90% drop in revenues

White Claw set to launch in Irish marketWhite Claw set to launch in Irish market


Lifestyle

Struggling to stick to your work routine at home? You’re not alone.10 tips for greater productivity working from home

Relaxing the rules at home has helped Karen Koster and her young family to get through lockdown, says Helen O'CallaghanEasy does it: Relaxing home rules the 'perfect tonic for kids'

Parents who homeschool must feel very confident of their choice these days, surely this global event will add to their number even after schools reopen. Their pioneering spirit isGet the Look: The eco-friendly beauty products you need to buy now

The penultimate instalment of Normal People, and a Champions League goal-fest are among today's top picksTuesday TV Highlights: The penultimate instalment of Normal People and a Champions League goal-fest

More From The Irish Examiner