Last week Mr Justice Tony O’Connor put an examiner into three companies connected with Galway City’s four-star Meyrick Hotel but refused court protection to four related companies involved in operating other Galway-based businesses including the Five Star G Hotel and the Eye Cinema.
Michael Cush, counsel for all of the Galway companies, told Ms Justice Mary Finlay Geoghegan in the Court of Appeal that his clients were challenging Mr Justice O’Connor’s decision not to confirm the appointment of an examiner to four of the companies.
Paul Gallagher, counsel for Deutsche Bank, told the judge the bank would be appealing examinership of the trio of companies covered by Mr Justice O’Connor’s decision and defending the High Court’s decision not to extend protection to the remaining four.
All seven companies are part of the Edward Capital Group controlled by Gerry Barrett. Deutsche Bank had opposed the examinership on the basis it was an abuse of process and a bid by the companies, over which they had appointed a receiver, to renege on a debt settlement agreement.
The settlement would have involved the sale of group assets to reduce its €698m debt to the bank.
Last week Mr Justice O’Connor, on the application of Mr McCarthy, put a stay on his order refusing to extend examinership to the four companies.
The seven companies employ more than 330 full- and part-time staff and in August had insolvency practitioner Neil Hughes appointed as interim examiner.
The firms’ directors, Gerry and Catherine Barrett, of Drimbawn House, Chestnut Lane, Lower Dangan, accepted the bank was owed €698m and claimed while they could service a certain level of the debt, a large amount of what was owed could never be repaid.
Deutsche Bank acquired the group’s loan portfolio from Nama in 2015 and its case was that an examiner could not better the settlement agreement the parties had reached in regard to the sale of assets which included the proposed sale of the Meyrick Hotel for €16.7m.
The Court of Appeal will hear statements and submissions early next week.