15/09/2009

Judge To Rule Again On Zoe Protection

Eamon Carroll's troubled property group Zoe is to go back to the High Court today to find out if it will be allowed a fourth bid to gain court protection.

Mr Justice Frank Clarke last week again rejected an application from the heavily indebted group for the appointment of an examiner to seven of the Zoe companies.

If the bid succeeds, Mr Carroll will be able to hold off creditors for the three years he believes he requires to settle enough of his debts.

Yesterday, the court was asked to continue High Court protection of the Zoe companies while its legal team brought yet another appeal to the Supreme Court.

The group, which has debts of €1.3 billion, has been fighting for examinership of the seven companies for the past two months.

Last week, the group failed to secure High Court protection after an application by Dutch-owned ACC Bank to have a liquidator appointed to two of the companies under the Zoe umbrella group.

ACC Bank is owed €136 million by the group.

The unprecedented number of appeals for examinership status was opposed by Dutch-owned ACC Bank, who had earlier described the eleventh hour attempts at survival against multi-million euro debts as "aspirational".

The companies under the group have debts of €1.2bn in total, however under a business plan submitted as part of its application, Carroll believed it could meet the debts over a three to five year period.

Part of the plan included the non-payment of interest for two years on its debts owed to eight banks.

The application was opposed by ACC Bank, which is owed €136m.

Zoe's original application was turned down by the Commercial Court and an appeal to the Supreme Court was also rejected.

(DW/KMcA)

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