A judge has continued High Court protection for Elverys Sports after receiving an independent accountant's report expressing the view the company had a reasonable prospect of survival.

Staunton Sports, the company operating the Elverys stores, employs 654 people in 56 stores across the country. 

Mr Justice Brian McGovern was also told today the National Assets Management Agency will continue supporting the company during the period of court protection when rival bids will be assessed.  

The judge has fixed Tuesday 18 February for the hearing of NAMA's petition seeking to confirm examinership for the company.

Last Friday, NAMA secured interim court protection and an interim examiner for the company despite not having the independent accountants' report (IAR) normally required for such applications.

Rossa Fanning, for NAMA, said the matter was urgent arising from threats by suppliers to withdraw supplies and other issues and NAMA had been unable to procure an IAR in the time available.

Mr Justice McGovern agreed to grant protection on NAMA's assurance that an IAR would be provided and returned the matter to today when he was told the report was available.

Today, Mr Fanning secured orders allowing the report to be provided in redacted form so as to ensure sensitive commercial information concerning the company would not be made public.

On Friday, the judge was told NAMA is optimistic the company can survive with rival bidders vying for the business.

The petition also outlined a series of communications between NAMA and Staunton Sports and stated NAMA had told the company, unless it received a satisfactory response to various matters by 10am on Friday, NAMA was reserving all of its rights up to and including petitioning the court for an interim examiner. 

NAMA was ultimately informed just before 1pm on Friday the company would support the petition.

NAMA is the company's largest secured creditor, owed some €23m, after acquiring its AIB loans in 2010 and 2011.