Refuse firm says jobs are safe as examiner appointed

Aileen Hahesy

Aileen Hahesy

Waste collection and recycling company Mr Binman that employs more than 100 people in South Tipperary says jobs are not under threat despite the appointment of an interim examiner to the group last week.

A spokesman for Mr Binman said it was business as usual for the company, which directly employs 331 people and provides indirect employment to around 280 more.

“The priority for the company is to protect jobs and it is fully confident those jobs will be safeguarded,” he told The Nationalist on Monday.

In the High Court last Wednesday, October 12, Justice Mary Finlay Geoghegan appointed Billy O’Riordan of PricewaterhouseCoopers as Interim Examiner to the Mr Binman Group, which provides services to both household and commercial customers throughout the south of the country.

The Interim Examiner was also appointed to subsidiary companies Greenport Environmental Ltd, Rural Refuse & Recycling and Clearpoint Recycling Ltd (the Binman Group), which is based in Carrick-on-Suir.

A full hearing of the company’s application for Examinership was scheduled to take place before Justice Finlay Geoghegan in the High Court yesterday (Tuesday).

In a statement issued last week, Mr Binman said that following a decision by Bank of Scotland (Ireland) to withdraw its support, the company’s directors took the decision to petition for examinership to provide the above companies with High Court protection while management negotiated a restructuring of its debts and new equity investment for the companies. They believed it was the best option for all involved in the business.

As part of the Examinership process, the waste company said it was proposing a viable business plan that will ensure its long-term viability through new investment that will allow it to safeguard up to 600 jobs.

Mr Binman said it would work with the Examiner using the time to negotiate with potential investor, and a number of parties have expressed their interest in the company.

“The High Court was advised that an investor has indicated a willingness to invest sums in each of the companies in order to fund a Scheme of Arrangement and to provide additional working capital facilities,” the statement explained.

“A letter of comfort has been made available by the proposed investor which can be submitted to the Court on a confidential basis under s.31 of the Companies (amendment) Act 1990.

“Over the last 18 months the company has found itself at the mercy of Bank of Scotland Ireland, a foreign owned bank, who’s sole objective now in the Irish market is to run down its loan book.

“The company has been able to weather this difficult situation to date, however things have now come to a head, where we need to source an alternative provider of working capital to ensure the survival of this indigenous Irish company.”

The statement went on to say that Mr Binman traded very successfully up until the end of 2008.

However, as the economic downturn took hold, revenues generated from the provision of waste collection services to the construction sector declined dramatically.

“Throughout this period, the company sought to negotiate revised credit facilities with Bank of Scotland (Ireland) and to restructure its outstanding debt to deliver a sustainable business model in line with lower than projected earnings.

“Regrettably, Bank of Scotland (Ireland) failed to engage meaningfully in this process, leaving the Company no alternative but to seek Examinership.

“Over the past three years, the company has implemented a comprehensive cost reduction programme and achieve increased efficiencies throughout its operations.”

Mr Binman paid tribute to the “hard work and dedication” of staff and management, which ensured it had consistently outperformed its competitors and was in a very strong position to trade through these challenging market conditions provided its capital structure is addressed.