Liquidator for medical service firm

A liquidator has been appointed to a medical services business set up by the pharmacist-turned-developer Fergus Hoban.

Gerard Murphy was appointed yesterday at a creditors’ meeting of Blackrock Hall Allied Medical Services (BHL AMS), Mahon, Cork, which has debts of close to €1m.

The main creditor, according to the directors’ statement of affairs, is BHL Pharmacy, owed €722,410.

Mr Hoban and his company solicitor Ciaran Desmond are listed as directors of BHL Pharmacy on the online company search engine, Vision-net.

Landlords of the premises, Kieran Coughlan and his wife Claire Riordan, are owed €226,559.

BHL AMS is an alliance of health professionals operating out of the second-floor of the premises which Mr Hoban had leased from Mr Coughlan, along with the unit housing the ground-floor pharmacy.

Mr Murphy told the Irish Examiner yesterday the liquidation was “essentially an administrative liquidation” and that the health professionals involved were continuing to trade.

“The liquidation will have no affect on the continuity of service in the area,” he said.

The pharmacy itself is under interim examinership. Pearse Farrell of Duff and Phelps was appointed last month and a High Court hearing is scheduled for Monday to confirm his appointment as examiner.

However, Mr Coughlan said he would be opposing the appointment “on a number of grounds”.

Mr Hoban blamed the decision to place the pharmacy in interim examinership on high rent which was agreed “in better times economically for pharmacy”.

Mr Coughlan said the annual rent for the pharmacy was €315,000, while the AMS rent was €125,000, totalling €440,000 annually.

Speaking from the US, Mr Hoban said that they had attempted to sell the pharmacy, but the deal fell through during the summer.

However Mr Coughlan said he had been unaware of any attempt to sell the pharmacy until the Irish Examiner put Mr Hoban’s claims to him yesterday.

Mr Coughlan said his understanding was that a restructuring of the business was under way which would have led to a rent reduction of €150,000 over two years on the basis that the restructured business would operate out of a smaller unit and arrears were paid in full.

Mr Hoban said the pharmacy owes its creditors “some €1.6m, but should sell for in excess of this price”. and the AMS suite “owes €800,000” which he described as “primarily an inter-group debt with the pharmacy”.

Mr Hoban said while his “day-to-day executive involvement” ceased when he moved to the US in 2012, he had “remained an executive director in order to ensure that the struggling business would be brought to an appropriate resolution”.

Blackrock Hall was the first in what was originally planned by Mr Hoban as a nationwide network of 60 state-of-the-art primary care centres. It opened in 2010. However, Mr Hoban’s ambitious plans stalled with the property crash.

He subsequently shifted his focus to the US where he is currently involved with health insurance giant Blue Cross Blue Shield.

Mr Hoban’s vision for the US is to build a network of large-scale clinics in Omaha, Nebraska.


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