IFI liquidator earned over E1m in fees

Ian Guider

Ray Jackson of accountants KPMG has been the liquidator of the firm since it went bust in late 2002 with the loss of 620 jobs in Cork and Arklow.

The liquidator's receipts and payments report for the year to November 7, 2004, show KPMG were paid E1.011 million for their work for the year.

Some E2.6 million was paid to secured creditors of the company, with 5.8m paid to preferential creditors.

IFI shut in October 2003 after its joint owners, the Government and British chemicals firm ICI, decided not to invest additional money in the loss-making operation.

Mr Jackson told the second creditors meeting of the company in Dublin yesterday that unsecured creditors could only expect to receive around 25% of what they are owed. He said there was nearly E60 million owed to 2,400 unsecured creditors of the company.

At a previous meeting, he said that creditors could expect up to 40%, but this has been cut as a number of a new creditors have emerged. The largest of these are its employee pension fund in Northern Ireland, which is claiming E18m.

Mr Jackson said this figure was disputed but, following legal advice, had to be accepted.

A further E5m is due to a workers pension scheme in the Republic and it also owes an undisclosed amount to the Belfast Harbour Commissioners, from whom IFI leased land.

All of the parties will receive their money from the remaining assets yet to be sold by Mr Jackson.

The most valuable is the IFI plant at Marino Point in Cork, which had employed 200 people. Mr Jackson said there had not been a "massive" amount of interest in the site but it has agreed terms and a price with one bidder for around 15 million. He said the contract for the deal had been sent out and the sale may be completed in the coming weeks.

He added that farmland close to the site was also up for sale for around 1.75 million, though no bidder had been found so far.

Last year, the liquidator sold a 24 acre site in Arklow, Co Wicklow for 4.4m and it hopes to sell the main plant by the end of the month.

Mr Jackson said the company had four offers for the plant and two bidders were currently doing due diligence.

He said that all of the secured creditors had now been paid with E2.6m going out last year and preferential creditors got E5.8m.

Asked if the Government would dig into its pockets to bail out those still owned money, Mr Jackson said "no chance."

There was also anger that no representative from ICI had turned up for a members meeting before yesterday's creditors meeting.

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