B&Q’s shop leases court bid adjourned

Home improvements chain B&Q’s legal bid to have several lease agreements for its shops set aside were adjourned yesterday.

The High Court applications brought by B&Q Ireland Ltd, which has been in examinership since the end of January, and are part of the process to secure the company’s survival, will now be heard by the court next Wednesday.

The company, which operates nine stores across the country employing 690 people, entered examinership because it is insolvent with liabilities of more than €17m to its parent company, Kingfisher plc.

B&Q cited falling revenues and high rents for its difficulties. A loss of some €20.5m is forecast for the year ended Jan 2013.

Declan McDonald of PWC was appointed examiner to the company and is in the process of putting in place a scheme of arrangement with the firm’s creditors. If the scheme is approved by the High Court the company can continue to trade as a going concern.

B&Q’s store in Waterford will close with the loss of 92 jobs. Earlier this week, it was announced that its outlet& in Athlone will remain open.

B&Q said it is paying some €11.6m rent for the stores and has been advised that is about €5.8m above open market rents.

Yesterday, Ms Justice Mary Irvine was told by Rossa Fanning, counsel for the company, that applications to repudiate lease agreements in relation to B&Q’s stores in Galway, Liffey Valley, Limerick and Naas, could be adjourned on consent to Wednesday.

Mr Fanning added that & it had been agreed with landlords James and Bridget Treacy of Butlerstown House, Waterford, that the lease of their store in Waterford can be repudiated as part of the examiner’s proposed scheme of arrangement.

The amount of damages for the repudiation of that lease are to be fixed at €5m, counsel added.

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