The High Court has approved a rescue plan for DIY chain Atlantic Homecare, which is part of the Grafton Group.

The court was told the examinership of the company had resulted in a more positive outcome than originally expected.

Fewer store closures and fewer job losses are now expected. Fresh investment of €5.7m has also been secured.

Two stores will close in Limerick and Newbridge and 44 jobs will be lost.

The company will exit the lengthy examinership period on Friday and continue trading.

An examiner was appointed earlier this year after it emerged most of the chain's 13 stores were trading at a loss.

The High Court had heard earlier the firm had a reasonable prospect of survival if a scheme was put in place, which would include closing five stores and cutting staff from 348 to 234.

However, the court was told this morning that only two stores will close and 70 jobs will be saved.

Mr Justice Sean Ryan said he had no hesitation in approving the scheme of arrangement, which will see creditors paid 32% of what they are owed.

Lawyers for the examiner said every creditor had voted in favour of the scheme.

Senior Counsel Bernard Dunleavy said Woodies DIY, which is also part of the Grafton Group, was prepared to invest €5.7m.

He said chain's difficulties were due to the deterioration of the economy, particularly the DIY sector.

He said staffing levels and rents were more reflective of the boom times in the sector and these had to be adjusted.