Creditors of the collapsed roadbridge have raised concerns about the way in which one of the country’s largest construction companies is being wound up.
A number of creditors are understood to have written to the company’s joint liquidators to demand documents relating to the security of more than €30m in Bank of Ireland loans. The company owes commercial creditors 50 million euros, but their debts are behind the loans to the bank.
Creditors have now written to the Bank of Ireland’s (BoI) appointed joint trustees, Grant Thornton’s Stephen Tennant and Nicholas O’Dwyer, demanding that they see documents relating to the collateral held by BoI.
They asked specific questions which they believe will affect whether BoI should be classified, as it is currently, as a preferred creditor over construction companies and other suppliers, which a number of well-informed sources say are owed large sums of money.
In March, Roadbridge announced it was going bankrupt, jeopardizing the future of its 630 employees and 1,000 indirectly employed.
Some creditors still maintain that a review process is a more appropriate course of action than receivership in this case, sources said.
“Why wasn’t an independent expert opinion prepared to determine the profitability of the company in an auditor’s office?” asked an insolvency expert.
Sources close to the company believed at the time that with a secured backlog of 750 million, the company would have overcome its difficulties if it had taken a 100-day audit protection period.
Trade creditors were owed approximately €50 million and bondholders approximately €80 million, with BoI holding €33.6 million in preferential debt. A number of the company’s creditors are now questioning the security of the BoI debt, arguing that it may not rank higher than other creditors.
In an email to the recipients seen by the Sunday independentCreditors demanded two confirmation deeds related to the security of the BoI loans, “do not appear to have been registered with the CRO [Companies Registration Office]“.
“Please confirm whether the company has provided security to the bank as part of these documents,” the email reads.
Creditors noted that the documents filed under the receivership did not reference the original confirmatory deed: “We would appreciate your explanation for this,” they said, noting that three other mortgage and encumbrance documents were created within the past 12 months had been .
“Please confirm if the company was solvent and/or if the company had additional funds advanced at the time these fees were charged,” the email reads.
A BoI spokesman said: “In March, Roadbridge Holdings Ltd applied for the appointment of liquidators to the company.
“At the time, Roadbridge’s board said that was the only viable option, and they also acknowledged the support of stakeholders, including BoI, as they explored every avenue to rescue the company.
“BoI is a significant creditor to Roadbridge, with whom it has partnered [it] for many years, and as creditors we continue to be involved in the insolvency proceedings. As this is now a bankruptcy matter, any questions regarding the procedure should be directed to the bankruptcy trustee.”
Grant Thornton did not respond to requests for comment.
Brian Coogan, CEO of the Irish Plant Contractors Association (IPCA), whose membership includes Roadbridge and other stakeholders, said: “We were very disappointed that the company went bankrupt.
“From our perspective, we felt that the review process would have been the right course of action, rather than a receivership process that ensures many subcontractors are paid very little or nothing at all.”
https://www.independent.ie/business/irish/creditors-of-collapsed-roadbridge-query-ranking-of-boi-debt-ahead-of-them-in-wind-up-process-41620889.html The creditors of the collapsed roadbridge are querying the ranking of the BoI debt ahead of them in the resolution process