AIB has appointed a receiver to Celtic Bookmakers Ltd. A statement from the directors, former minister Ivan Yates and his wife Deirdre, said significant job losses at the betting shops were inevitable.
The receiver, Neil Hughes of Hughes Blake Accountants, will try to sell as many of the shops as possible as a going concern.
Mr Hughes said the company would continue to trade as normal during the receivership and all existing bets would be honoured.
The directors said they would work with the receiver to retain as many of the firm's 237 jobs as possible. Celtic has 47 shops in Ireland and two in South Wales. The two Welsh shops are not affected, though they are now on the market.
The directors said that due to significant bank debts of around €6m and money owed to landlords for 'top of the market' rents at shops throughout the country, the company was now insolvent.
Revenue at Celtic has fallen by 50% since the middle of 2007. The directors said they had cut costs by €5m and closed 12 shops since then, but trading conditions continued to deteriorate in 2010.
They said this had prevented the company from securing a suitable merger, refinancing or restructuring.
'Today is a profoundly sad day for our employees, for our families and for ourselves,' said Ivan Yates. 'Like many, we did not anticipate the rapid decline in the economy, but I acknowledge that the accelerated growth of the business placed the company in a difficult position given the extent of the recession,' he said.
The directors said they had supported the company from their personal resources and had outstanding unpaid loans with the company. They added that they would continue to face 'further significant financial challenges' due to personal guarantees with the banks.
Hairdressing chain may close some outlets
Hairdressing chain Toni & Guy has confirmed it is restructuring its business in Ireland with some closures possible amongst its 11 salons.
A spokesperson said full details of the plan would be announced tomorrow. She said the business had been struggling for some time and every day was difficult.
The Irish business is owned by a mixture of franchisees and Toni & Guy Ireland. There are six salons in Dublin and five more in Waterford, Cork, Kilkenny, Naas and Galway.
The spokesperson could not confirm how many people are employed in Ireland and how many jobs would be lost in the restructuring.