Zoe granted 10-day court reprieve

THE save Zoe saga goes on after the Supreme Court granted a further stay of execution for another 10 days at least.

The court granted two of property developer Liam Carroll’s companies, Vantive Holdings and Morston Investments, a stay on the High Court’s decision earlier this month for them to be wound up.

Michael Cush SC, counsel for Vantive and Morston, told the three-judge court it was their intention to appeal the winding-up order made by Mr Justice Frank Clarke.

He said if a stay on Judge Clarke’s winding-up order was not granted then it would spell the end of the Vantive and Morston and up to 50 related companies in the group.

The petition by Zoe for the appointment of an examiner to the two main companies has been in the courts since July, when Mr Justice Peter Kelly refused to accept they had a reasonable prospect of survival.

A cross-application by ACC Bank, which is owed €136 million, for an order winding up both companies had been on hold since July.

In August the Supreme Court confirmed Judge Kelly’s decision but Zoe succeeded in obtaining continuing court protection of Vantive and Morston while it went back to the High Court.

Mr Cush, who appears with Bill Shipsey SC and barrister Bernard Dunleavy, convinced Mr Justice John Cooke that Zoe should be allowed a second opportunity to convince a High Court judge of the need to appoint an examiner. The application was then put in before Judge Clarke, who rejected the appointment of an examiner and ordered the winding up. Judge Clarke’s stay has been extended by the Supreme Court to facilitate a number of appeals.

The first, by ACC Bank, will be against the decision of Judge Cooke to permit Zoe leave to make its second application for examinership. If ACC wins that appeal then everything ends there for Zoe, and the winding up will take place.

In the event of the Supreme Court upholding Judge Cooke’s decision then Zoe will proceed to appeal Judge Clarke’s refusal to grant it an examiner. Failure would spell disaster for the Zoe group.

Chief Justice John Murray said Zoe’s ongoing appeals were having a very heavy effect on important cases lined up for quite some time in the Supreme Court list.


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