Hauliers stage protest as Flancare goes into liquidation
Creditors ‘very concerned’ Clonmel meeting told

Eamonn Wynne

Eamonn Wynne

Distribution and warehousing company Flancare says it expects to make a positive announcement in the coming days regarding the future of its Clonmel and Longford plants and their combined 200 jobs, after a provisional liquidator was appointed by the High Court to the company last Thursday.

James Doherty, BL for Flancare, told the High Court it was seeking the appointment of Declan McDonald of PricewaterhouseCoopers as provisional liquidator so that its business could continue, and to facilitate the sale of the firm’s business to another company in a proposed deal that would save a majority of the jobs.

Management confirmed to staff last week that they do not foresee any major difficulties that would threaten a successful outcome to this process, and staff have been requested to continue to report to work as normal.

Flancare specialises in the warehousing of products and distributes consumer products for companies including Dunnes Stores, Heineken Ireland Ltd. and Allegro Ltd.

It employs 130 people in Clonmel, 90 in Longford and four in Dublin.

The company’s senior management stated that agreements had been reached with the majority of contractors last Friday during the process of winding down the company.

However a meeting of creditors – who it’s understood are owed hundreds of thousands of Euro - was convened at the Clonmel Park Hotel on Monday afternoon.

Following that meeting solicitor Dolph McGrath, on behalf of John Shee and company solicitors, issued a statement, saying “our clients are very concerned regarding their position as unsecured creditors and what amount of the outstanding money owed to them will be re-paid, if any.

Our clients are small businesses and are concerned about the affect the liquidation may have on their own business.

We are urgently seeking clarification from the provisional liquidator regarding the proposed sale of the business”.

Two of those creditors, local hauliers Aidan Cashin and Charlie Johnson, staged a protest at the company’s plant at Carrigeen on the by-pass road in Clonmel from 2.30am on Monday morning until lunchtime.

They placed trucks at the three entrances to the plant, although they say that cars were allowed pass in and out. They said that drivers reported for work but no trucks had left the yard that morning.

“People have been treated appallingly and it’s time that someone stood up to this company”, stated Aidan Cashin, who said he was owed €22,000 by Flancare.

He predicted that a lot of other small contractors would be put out of business as a result of the liquidation.

He said his company was on two months credit terms with Flancare and was due to be paid last Friday, only to be told that a liquidator had been appointed and no money was available.

Charlie Johnson, who said he was owed almost €40,000, said they felt the protest was the only action they could take to have some chance of retrieving their money.

The High Court was told last week that the company was advised that a liquidator would be in a position to say whether Flancare should enter into the proposed sale and, if so, to execute the contract of sale. The court heard that the company believed this step would be in the best interests of all concerned.

Because the firm is insolvent its directors are not in a position to sell the company.

The company, with a registered address of Carrigeen, Clonmel, was incorporated in 1996.

Its directors are John McCormick, Aidan Murphy, Michael Woodlock, Noreen Woodlock and Leslie Flanagan.

It is a subsidiary of MEN Enterprises Ltd., which is 95% owned by Ellen Woodlock, 3% by Michael Woodlock and 2% by Noreen Woodlock.

In affidavit to the court Mr. McCormick said the company had never been significantly profitable and in 2011 recorded a loss of €636,000. It owes Revenue €343,000.