Siac creditors likely to appeal protection

Trade creditors appear set to oppose the granting of court protection to building group Siac Construction, which owes its banks €42 million, when the case goes to a full hearing in two weeks time.

Michael McAteer of Grant Thornton has been appointed as interim examiner to Siac Construction and eight related companies, giving them protection from creditors until a full hearing of the case on November 6th. The protection could then be extended to 70 days.

Speaking after the High Court ruling, Graham Sheehan of Sabre Electrical Services, and Chris Hooley of KC Civil Engineering, said they and other unsecured creditors are likely to oppose, confirming the examiner’s appointment to the group and extending the court’s protection.

“We are going to object to the examinership,” Mr Hooley said. He added that it was possible that up to 30 unsecured creditors could join forces to lodge the objection.

Siac owes three lenders – Bank of Ireland, Bank of Scotland Ireland and KBC – a total of €42 million. Bank of Ireland has agreed to continue an overdraft facility and counsel for all three said that they were “neutral” about the appointment of an interim examiner.

Mr Hooley said that Siac owes KC Civil Engineering €2.6 million, while Mr Sheehan said Sabre Electrical Services is due €300,000, a figure which he said was formally agreed.

The money is due for work that both sub-contractors completed on the widening of the M1 in Dublin. Addressing the High Court yesterday, Mr Sheehan said that Siac had been promising to pay his company for the last six months, and added he was told last week that he would get a cheque on Friday, but this did not happen.

Following yesterday’s ruling, he and Mr Hooley said they believed that Siac agreed a “final account” of €12 million for the M1 project with Fingal County Council and the National Roads Authority on Friday, which should have resulted in the group receiving a substantial payment.

In response, Siac said that it could not comment on any individual arrangement.

The group pointed out it that had cut costs, closed non-performing operations and invested €17 million into its trading businesses. Source: Irish Times.