Bank’s bid to have Treasury wound up adjourned

The High Court has adjourned KBC Bank’s application to have Treasury Holdings and 15 related companies wound up.

In his ruling yesterday, Mr Justice Brian McGovern said he was satisfied to adjourn the application until Oct 9.

Mr Justice McGovern said he was not satisfied that KBC would suffer any prejudice if the case was adjourned.

The petition had raised complex issues, involved a significant number of companies, and large sums of money that clearly required “detailed consideration”.

KBC petitioned the court to have Treasury and the other companies wound up and insolvency practitioner David Carson be appointed as liquidator on the basis the firms are wholly insolvent and unable to pay their debts.

The bank claims it is owed more than €70m by Treasury arising out of loans advanced for the development of the Spencer Dock project in Dublin.

Nama, which the court heard is owed €1.7bn, had been neutral to the application. However, yesterday it changed its stance, and supported KBC’s application.

This was in light of the “serious concerns” it had following an announcement that assets of a Treasury subsidiary in Singapore had been transferred to a company in the Channel Islands beneficially owned by a director of Treasury, Richard Barrett.

Treasury and the related firms, which accept that they are insolvent and that money is owed, opposed KBC’s application. Its lawyers sought an adjournment on grounds including the bank may get a better outcome if an investor can be secured to acquire the companies’ loans compared to the appointment of a liquidator.

Lyndon MacCann, counsel for KBC, argued the court should make orders winding up the companies immediately and said his client shared Nama concerns.

He said there were concerns about the timing of this asset transfer. It was not known if the full value of the assets had been realised. This led to concerns that the Treasury subsidiary may be “denuded of its assets” and creditors such as KBC and Nama may not be able to recover the assets.

Counsel said that while US multinational Morgan Stanley had tendered a proposal to take over the loans, KBC had rejected the proposal because it “did not make commercial sense.”

Michael Collins, counsel for Treasury, had argued that bank would not suffer any prejudice if a short adjournment was granted.

He said the transfer of assets in the Far East and Nama’s subsequent support for the petition did not make any difference to the petition. The reason behind the move was to protect the firm’s reputation arising out of KBC’s application to have it wound up.

Mr Justice McGovern directed that Treasury Holdings file a sworn statements outlining the terms and circumstances of a transfer of the assets of a Treasury subsidiary in Singapore to a company controlled by Mr Barrett.

He accepted an undertaking by Treasury that there would be no disposition by any companies in the group of their shares and assets before the matter returned before the court.

As well as Treasury Holdings, KBC is seeking to have related companies including Spencer Dock National Convention Centre Hotel, Spencer Dock Development Company, Faxgore Ltd, Querida Ireland Holdings Ltd, and Robheat Ltd, wound up.


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