Vulture funds ‘pressuring’ companies

Pressure being applied by so-called vulture funds on Irish firms to repay loans is resulting in a rise in examinership applications, research indicates.

Vulture funds ‘pressuring’ companies

New information from accountancy firm Baker Tilly Hughes Blake shows that 380 jobs were saved through companies seeking protection via the examinership process in the first quarter of the year — up from 138 in the same period last year.

While welcoming this, Baker Tilly said the rise in examinerships is “concerning”.

It partly blames it on vulture funds buying loan books and pressurising debtors through more challenging repayment deadlines and interest rates.

“Despite strong economic forecasts and climbing consumer spending, Irish businesses are finding that they are increasingly under pressure from the private equity funds that have bought their loans,” said Baker Tilly Hughes Blake’s managing partner Neil Hughes.

“Even though the funds may have purchased the debt during the height of the recession a few years ago, today we see that they are applying more and more pressure to businesses of all sizes, with a view to extracting value from the loans.

"They are no longer happy to remain as silent bystanders, moving swiftly at the first sign of weakness,” he added.

Mr Hughes said macroeconomic changes are contributing to an atmosphere of uncertainty for Irish companies, but said fresh examinership legislation has been welcome.

“Fundamentally sound businesses must be protected and given a second chance,” he said.

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