Six companies controlled by one of the country's largest property developers, Liam Carroll, have lost their bid to have an examiner appointed to them by the High Court.

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At the Commercial Court his afternoon, Mr Justice Peter Kelly said he was refusing the application on the basis that he was not convinced that the companies had proven that they met the legal test of having a reasonable prospect of survival.

However while expressing some misgivings, the Judge did grant a stay on his decision until Tuesday so that the companies could lodge an appeal with the Supreme Court before a receiver were appointed.

Vantive Holdings, Jersey-based Morston Investments, and four other companies in Liam Carroll's Zoe Group, sought court protection, after ACC Bank began proceedings to have them wound up over €136m of unpaid debts.

But Mr Justice Kelly said he had the gravest reservations about the projections put forward in their application, which he said were devoid of reality.

He said their plans to turn insolvency into a €300m surplus in three years would involve a remarkable turnaround.

Given market conditions and little or no prospect of them improving in the foreseeable future, he said, this degree of optimism borders or even trespasses on the fanciful.

He criticised inaccuracies contained in the independent accountants report submitted with the application, which he said was written by the companies' auditor, and contained old valuations carried out by firms who had worked for the companies in the past.

He said that while most of the companies banks were supporting them, the truth was they could probably do little else but show forbearance, or risk collapsing the house of cards.

He also expressed the belief that the application was in reality an exercise to assist shareholders whose investments had been unsuccessful.

Counsel representing the companies sought a stay to allow the companies time to consider an appeal to the Supreme Court.

Mr Justice Kelly said it was unclear whether there was a legal basis for such a move, but after considering the matter granted a stay until Tuesday.