Receiver appointed to publisher of Irish Examiner as part of restructuring

Wednesday 06 March 2013 22.31
Thomas Crosbie Holdings published a number of newspapers, including The Irish Examiner and Evening Echo
Thomas Crosbie Holdings published a number of newspapers, including The Irish Examiner and Evening Echo

A receiver has been appointed to the media group which owns the Irish Examiner as part of a complex restructuring of the company.

Most of the assets of the group, Thomas Crosbie Holdings, have now been bought by a new company from the receiver; Kieran Wallace of KPMG.

The new company, named Landmark Media Investments Ltd, is backed by Tom Crosbie and his father Ted who were shareholders in TCH.

The newspapers being bought by Landmark Media Investments are the Irish Examiner, Evening Echo, Waterford News and Star and the Wexford Echo.

The deal also includes the Carlow Nationalist, the Kildare Nationalist, the Laois Nationalist, the Western People and Roscommon Herald.

The new company also intends to buy radio stations WLR, Beat 102 FM and Red FM from the receiver, subject to the approval of the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland.

Tomorrow the High Court will be petitioned to appoint an interim examiner to the Sunday Business Post, which is part of TCH.

If an interim examiner is appointed, the intention is to sell the newspaper as a going concern.

The restructuring will also see a subsidiary of TCH, which manages printing on behalf of the group, put into liquidation.

This means the newspapers are no longer tied into an expensive printing contract, though it is expected to result in the loss of 12 jobs at the printing subsidiary.

The group's newspapers will now be printed by The Irish Times at its facility in City West, Dublin.

However, the transaction announced today secures 554 jobs in the newspapers being bought by Landmark Media Investments.

There are a further 76 jobs in the Sunday Business Post.

A company source said that the restructuring and consequent acquisition provides a "stable platform from which to build a sustainable business and helps sustain employment into the future".

It is also expected that the new company set up by Tom and Ted Crosbie will be among the front runners to buy the Sunday Business Post.

The plan is being backed by AIB, which is the main lender to the media group.

It will also put new investment into the new company.

In a statement Tom Murphy, CEO of Landmark Media Investments, said the restructuring represented "an important opportunity for the Irish Examiner and associated titles and media to make a fresh start and that is very welcome news."

"In a challenging environment, this re-structuring and consequent acquisition provides a stable platform from which to build a sustainable business."

Alan Crosbie, former chairman and director of TCH, said he has now separated from the company.

He said there was relief among staff in Cork when told about the restructuring plan.

He said: "It's extraordinary times we live in. It's this recession that keeps going on and on. They are off to a new start now and I wish them well.

"I'm not going forward for all sorts of reasons but mainly because I can't afford to. I think it was mostly relief but there are some job losses...and they are the people we should be thinking about today.

"The Sunday Business Post is going into examinership and I'm quite sure there'll be a buyer. It's a wonderful product."

Meanwhile, the National Union of Journalists said it would seek an urgent meeting the with new owners of the Examiner to clarify the implications for employment at TCH companies.

Irish Secretary Séamus Dooley said the union was concerned at the potential threat to the future of the Sunday Business Post.

He said: "The Sunday Business Post is a major national title. The newspaper plays a unique role in the Irish media and we will hope that the newspaper remains in existence and continues to contribute to the coverage of Irish business and current affairs".