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Worse than Oliver Cromwell

Read more about: Economy, Enterprise, Tribunals     Print This Post

After 3000+ pages of the Mahon Tribunal Report, one finding is clear: it’s all the fault of Denis O’Brien. Soon it will come out that he was in the room on the night of the bank guarantee. Anyway, following quickly on the Sunday Independent’s line, the Irish Times has another anti-Denis scoop:
A FRENCH company has claimed it was denied the opportunity to make an offer for Irish company Siteserv which businessman Denis O’Brien is poised to acquire this week for €45 million. The Altrad group, which owns companies in the same areas of business as Siteserv, said at the weekend that it had been prepared to offer €60 million for the Irish firm. But it was effectively denied the opportunity because its representative was told the Irish group was not for sale.

Now that all may be, but is a little Googling too much to expect? Here’s Davy’s summary of the deal, and they should know as they were involved in it:

Under the terms of the disposal, IBRC  [Anglo Irish Bank] has agreed to accept payment of an amount which is less than the total debt owed by the group in full and final discharge of its indebtedness. This agreement was critical to the proposed acquisition by Millington. [DOB vehicle]

In other words, the firm has a huge debt to pay and it can’t pay it. So to quote from one firm’s version of the e-mails that it sent with an offer price for the equity is meaningless. The Irish Times needs to explain what the French firm’s bid — which somehow missed the window where the company and IBRC were discussing what to do — would have done with the firm’s debt. You’d think by now in Ireland there’d be an understanding that legacy debt is a dealbreaker. Apparently not.

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6 Responses to “Worse than Oliver Cromwell”

  1. # Comment by Wexboy Apr 3rd, 2012 01:04

    I’ve been disgusted with this Siteserv deal for some time now – here’s my latest post:

    Maybe now somebody in the media (maybe even an actual people’s representative?!) will finally ask why Siteserv shareholders are being handed EUR 5.0 mio from the sale of this insolvent firm?! Money that rightfully belongs to the Irish taxpayer!

    Or could have been applied to the household charge…government could have claimed another 50,000 households paid on time..! ;-)

  2. # Comment by Veronica Apr 3rd, 2012 11:04


    Why are these shareholders being bailed out? Any ideas? The moneybags clique looking after their own?

    If I’m reading this right, the taxpayer is at a loss of €110m on foot of Anglo’s original investment, since IBRC is settling for receipt of €40m from the sale of Siteserv. Presumably, it was the best deal it could get?

    But I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for the political class to enquire about the shareholder payoff. They’re more concerned with distractions like who appears in photographs with whom etc., and either being disingenuous with the public about what Tribunals are for, or displaying a complete misunderstanding of their purpose and scope.

  3. # Comment by Wexboy Apr 3rd, 2012 14:04

    When a company’s insolvent, and its lender’s taking a writedown, it’s unprecedented to see shareholders receive a payout. Clearly IBRC permitted this payment, and have cited no justification for this.

    IBRC could have thrown Siteserv into administration any day, wiped out the shareholders and sold the business. The only (v poor) reason the IBRC could offer up to justify this payout (if anybody ever gets ’round to formally putting the question to them..?!) is to incentivize shareholders to vote for a quick & easy sale. But this was unnecessary. Many shareholders can be dozy, but they can read! – the deal should have been announced, confirming that shareholders were wiped out (and why), and pointing out if they voted against the sale they’d be wiped out anyway!

    Worst case, couldn’t the IBRC have put Siteserv into administration, and sold it the next day to O’Brien (or whoever bid the most?!). Of course they could! Maybe there’s some aggravation & cost involved, but so what – that’s IBRC’s mandate as a fiduciary for the taxpayer to claw back the largest net amount possible. It just smacks of sheer laziness, among other things… With a little creativity, and some hard-ball tactics, I’m sure a ‘pre-pack’ admin. sale could be achieved quickly, and for far less than the 5 mio ‘bribe’ to shareholders?

    And if for some reason it can’t, especially in the current environment, that’s something lawmakers need to question and urgently address also.

  4. # Comment by Veronica Apr 3rd, 2012 15:04


    Well said. Now I’m more depressed than ever….

  5. # Comment by Chaussures nike shox TL Apr 11th, 2012 08:04

    And if for some reason it can’t, especially in the current environment, that’s something lawmakers need to question and urgently address also.

  6. # Comment by hristian Louboutin àBout Ouvert Jun 11th, 2013 04:06

    He denied ever having any sexual contact with ‘minors’, a jury heard, but had ‘dabbled’ with homosexuality when he was younger