The retailer has been in examinership since early last month. Nama, its largest secure creditor, is owed some €23m, having acquiring Elverys’ AIB loans in 2010 and 2011. Nama is continuing to support current owners Staunton Sports during the period of court protection while rival bids for the company are assessed.
At least six different groups have expressed an interest in taking on the organisation, including a bid from the current management. Among the other interested parties is Mike Ashley, the owner of Sports Direct and Newcastle United Football Club.
The court-appointed examiner, Simon Coyle of Mazars, could take up to 100 days to decide which party offers the best future for Elverys. For staff, the main priority is that their 700 jobs will be protected.
They have been given assurances by management that, if its bid is successful, all staff in its 55 stores across 23 counties will be kept on.
A campaign by the staff, which they called “SOS Elverys 700”, saw rallies at the Mayo vs Cork match at MacHale Park, Castlebar, and the All-Ireland club finals in Croke Park over the weekend.
Scott Brady, the campaign spokesman, said they have received huge support from the public. He said that a petition to protect their jobs has been signed by the likes of rugby player Fergus McFadden and boxer-turned-politician Kenneth Egan. It has been signed 25,000 times in total.
“We appeal wholeheartedly to the examiner, Mr Coyle, who has our jobs and our livelihood in his hands, to make the correct decision and ensure that all 700 of our jobs are safe for the months and years ahead,” a message on the campaign’s Facebook page reads.
“We trust the current management team and believe them when they say they are committed to maintaining jobs and our desire is to continue working under the direction of these people.”