High Court ap­points in­terim ex­am­iner to Compu b par­ent com­pany

The Irish Times - - Business Today - MARY CAROLAN

An in­terim ex­am­iner has been ap­pointed by the High Court to the Ir­ish-head­quar­tered par­ent of Compu b, a re­seller of Ap­ple pre­mium com­puter prod­ucts, and three re­lated com­pa­nies in the UK em­ploy­ing a to­tal of 395 peo­ple, of whom 110 are in the Repub­lic.

Compu b, founded in Lim­er­ick in 1992, has six stores in the State – at Grafton Street, Dublin; Dun­drum Town Cen­tre; the Pavil­ions, Swords; Lim­er­ick, Cork and Gal­way – and 24 stores in the UK.

The pe­ti­tion for court pro­tec­tion and an in­terim ex­am­iner was sought in re­la­tion to Compu b Re­tail Ltd, with reg­is­tered of­fices at Bal­ly­mount, Dublin, and three UK-based com­pa­nies: Compu b Ltd, Storm­front Re­tail Lim­ited and Storm­front Tech­nol­ogy Ltd. Compu b Ltd (CBL) ac­quired the two Storm­front com­pa­nies in late 2019 and owns Compu b Re­tail Ltd (CBRL).

On the ap­pli­ca­tion of De­clan Mur­phy BL, for the com­pa­nies, Mr Jus­tice De­nis Mc­Don­ald said yes­ter­day he was sat­is­fied there was suf­fi­cient ev­i­dence to ap­point David O’Con­nor of BDO as in­terim ex­am­iner.

That ev­i­dence in­cluded a re­port from an in­de­pen­dent ex­pert ex­press­ing the view the com­pa­nies had a rea­son­able prospect of sur­vival as a go­ing con­cern pro­vided cer­tain con­di­tions are met. He was also mind­ful the ap­pli­ca­tion con­cerned a sig­nif­i­cant trad­ing en­tity with 395 em­ploy­ees, the judge said.

Loss-mak­ing group

The pe­ti­tion said CBL had ac­quired the loss-mak­ing Storm­front group of 23 stores in late 2019 with a view to ac­quir­ing a more sig­nif­i­cant re­tail pres­ence in the UK mar­ket and im­prove buy­ing power. It said the Covid-19 pan­demic has de­layed planned in­te­gra­tion syn­er­gies and a cost-re­duc­tion pro­gramme with the re­sult the Compu b group has in­curred sig­nif­i­cant on­go­ing losses through the Storm­front group from Jan­uary to May 2020.

The pe­ti­tion said the Compu b busi­ness has his­tor­i­cally been prof­itable, but a num­ber of fac­tors had come to­gether which have had sig­nif­i­cant neg­a­tive im­pacts on the com­pa­nies. Un­less court pro­tec­tion is se­cured, the com­pa­nies will be un­able to pay their debts as they fall due from July 2020 with a deficit of ¤3.3 mil­lion by the end of July 2020, it was stated. The judge made di­rec­tions for ad­ver­tis­ing the pe­ti­tion and re­turned the mat­ter to next week.

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