The Superquinn company and its directors, which was put into receivership earlier this week, have started High Court proceedings in an attempt to appoint an examiner.

The directors described the receivership as a 'disaster' for creditors and said an examinership would be a better option for the future of the company and its employees.

They claimed the receivership and proposed sale of the chain to the Musgraves Group would inevitably end in redundancies and suppliers losing money.

The three banks that appointed the receiver to Superquinn - Bank of Ireland, AIB and National Irish bank - indicated that they would strongy oppose the examinership petition.

Receivers Kieran Wallace and Eamonn Richardson of KPMG were appointed while the company has around €400m in debt.

Ms Justice Mary Finlay Geoghegan has directed a preliminary hearing next Tuesday on whether the company is entitled to present the petition and if the court is entitled to hear it.

Earlier today chief executive of Superquinn, Andrew Street, resigned from his position and said the banks had selected this process to secure the maximum amount of the sale proceeds for themselves.

He warned this was being done at considerable cost to Superquinn suppliers, who the receivers KPMG estimate will face unpaid debts of €25m.

However, he claimed the receivership process imposed on the business by the banks was not being conducted in a way he found acceptable.

'Over the last few days it has been distressing to see queues of suppliers in the Superquinn reception area waiting for to see if they will be paid.'

He said in many cases there were being turned away empty-handed by the receivers.

Mr Street noted that as well as the financial pain inflicted on these suppliers, this policy is causing havoc to Superquinn’s stock resupply, with inevitable sales consequences.

He said the board of Superquinn has made it clear consistently to the banks that they do not support this approach.

He said he had hoped the banks would have what he called the ‘good grace and sense’ to use a relatively small portion of the substantial proceeds of the sale that they will receive to pay suppliers in full. However, they have refused to do this.

This approach is all the more surprising because most of the suppliers affected are also customers of one or other of the syndicate banks, he said.

Mr Street also cited differences with Kieran Wallace.

A spokesperson for the Musgrave group said the company was aware of the resignation Mr Street, but insisted that this was a matter for the receiver.