Examiner given extra time for survival plan for Drogheda firm

Late last year Premier Periclase Ltd, which employs 94 people, was granted the protection of the courts and Mr Neil Hughes was appointed as examiner to the firm
Examiner given extra time for survival plan for Drogheda firm

The High Court has given the examiner of a Co Louth-based company that's a world leader in making magnesium-based products additional time to try and formulate a scheme that will save the business.

Late last year Premier Periclase Ltd, which employs 94 people, was granted the protection of the courts and Mr Neil Hughes was appointed as examiner to the firm.

It had been successful for many years, but the company got into difficulties due to the dramatic rise of gas and energy prices over the last year.

It owes Bord Gais €2.5 million and electricity supplier Energia €900,000.

World leader

The company, which is a specialist and world leader in making magnesium oxide and magnesium hydroxide products used in the manufacture of heat-resistant lining for furnaces.

It has been operating from a facility at Boyne Road, Drogheda, Co Louth since 1977 and its products are sold all over the world.

It's Munich based owner Callista Turnaround 10 GmbH acquired the business last February.

On Friday afternoon Mr Justice Brian O'Moore said he was satisfied to grant Mr Hughes of Baker Tily additional time to see if a survival plan can be agreed with the company's creditors.

Gary McCarthy SC for Mr Hughes said that his client was involved in ongoing efforts to save the firm but needed more time to try and put together a scheme, which if approved by the court would save the company.

Going concern

Counsel said Mr Hughes still believes that a scheme can be put together with the firm's creditors that would allow it to survive as a going concern.

Counsel said one proposed investor in the company was no longer interested in putting funds into the company.

However, others remained interested in investing in the firm but were looking at a plan that would involve the firm switching from using natural gas to renewable energy sources.

The works required to make that switch would take 18 months to complete and would unfortunately involve the company making most of its workforce redundant, counsel said.

This has been explained to the company's employees, counsel said.

It was hoped that after the switch is completed the company would be able to take on more employees.

Additional time was required to finalise such a scheme, counsel said adding that otherwise the only alternative was immediate liquidation.

Solicitor Graham Kenny for Bord Gais told the court that it was "disappointing" that the potential investor had withdrawn.

However, Mr Kenny said his client was not objecting to the adjournment given the alternative.

Revenue, which is also a creditor, also did not oppose Mr Hughes's application additional time.

When seeking the protection of the courts last December the company, which requires a large amount of gas to generate the energy it needs to make its products, claimed that Bord Gais had threatened to cut off its supply unless the company made a substantial payment.

The company said it was unable to make the payment sought.

The matter will return before the court later this month.

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