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Receiver appointed to Tweedy group

by test test | Mar 10, 2010
Simon Coyle of Mazars has been appointed receiver to two firms in the Tweedy group, one of the biggest pub and nightclub businesses outside of Dublin, after the High Court last week rejected a rescue deal put forward by examiner Kevin Hughes.
Simon Coyle of Mazars has been appointed receiver to two firms in the Tweedy group, one of the biggest pub and nightclub businesses outside of Dublin, after the High Court last week rejected a rescue deal put forward by examiner Kevin Hughes.

The Tweedy Group entered examinership last year and has debts of approximately €6.6 million. The rescue package assembled by Kevin Hughes of Hughes Blake proposed that the McLoughlin family, owners of the Dinn Ri Hotel complex in Carlow, would take control of the group for €5 million while unsecured creditors would receive a dividend of 5c in the euro.

But in the High Court last week, Ms Justice Mary Finlay Geoghegan ruled that it was not certain that the companies had a reasonable chance of survival because of their exposure to a number of personal guarantees and refused to continue court protection.

Justice Finlay Geoghegan ruled that the rescue plan did not include a binding commitment to invest in the companies because of issues over guarantees on loans given by the group's directors, Robert Tweedy and his sister Anne.

The Tweedy's had provided guarantees on €8.2 million loans given by Bank of Ireland and insisted that because of this they were prospective creditors if the companies were wound up. But Ms Justice Finlay Geoghegan ruled that company law cannot be construed as limiting the indemnity rights of the Tweedys as guarantors of a company's debts.

In what was a particularly complex case, Ms Finlay Geoghegan criticised the examiner for failing to show any appraisal of the facts which he relied upon in arguing that the companies could survive with the aid of investment, but she also acknowledged the difficulties facing the examiner, which included the refusal of the Tweedy's to co-operate with him.

Bob Tweedy had opposed the examinership’s scheme and had petitioned for the removal of the examiner. But the examiner had indicated that he had lost trust in the management of the company following the paying out of €125,000 from a safe in the Woodman premises.

Ms Finlay Geoghegan said the Tweedy's were entitled to object to the survival plan but said that they appeared to have "lost sight" of their responsibilities and obligations to employees and creditors. She also said that they had failed to appreciate the time limit imposed on the examinership process in relation to their own alternative investment proposal.

Bob Tweedy, owner of the Tweedy Group, is chairman of the Irish Nightclub Industry Association (INIA) and his family have been involved in the hospitality industry since 1969. The economic downturn and the lack of credit from banks to finance projects were cited by Tweedy as the major factors for the group going into examinership.

The group employs up to 120 permanent and part-time workers in venues such as Muldoon's Oxygen and Ruby's nightclubs, the Woodman and Masons bars in Waterford city and Oscar's bar and restaurant on the Dunmore Road, Waterford.

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