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Sunday 11 December 2016

Clerys' creditors' losses are listed as liquidator moves in

Ex-Clerys employees Margaret O'DEa, Maureen Deans, Gerry Markey, Sean Clifford and Mary Culhane at court
Ex-Clerys employees Margaret O'DEa, Maureen Deans, Gerry Markey, Sean Clifford and Mary Culhane at court
Helen Lynch, owner of Best of Irish Designs, a Clery's concession holder

THE High Court has confirmed the appointment of joint liquidators to the company that formerly operated Clerys department store in Dublin.

Mr Justice Brian Cregan confirmed the appointment of insolvency practitioners Eamon Richardson and Kieran Wallace of KPMG as joint liquidators of OCS Operations Ltd, which since 2012 operated Clerys.

The judge also made a number of orders, including that the former directors Rafael Klotz and Malcolm Maclennan Macaulay swear statements of their financial affairs.

The liquidators said in a report to the court they intend to conduct a "comprehensive investigation" into a number of issues of concern raised by creditors and concession holders at the store.

Paul Gallagher SC, for the liquidators, said these matters of concern include payments and transactions with companies associated with OCS Operations in the lead up to the liquidation.

READ MORE: 'Store's stock' sold off in pop-up shop

They also concern recent payments from the firm's bank account and the application of the proceeds of an insurance claim made following flooding at the store in 2012.

The conduct of all those who were directors of the firm in the 12 months before the winding up application will also be investigated.

The liquidators will establish a committee of inspection made up of the firm's creditors and concession holders and will investigate any matters raised. A creditors' meeting will take place some time in August.

Redundancy

A short time after the appointment was made the iconic store ceased trading with the loss of more than 400 jobs. The company directly employed 130 people. Another 330 were employed by the concession holders.

Counsel for the liquidator also said all redundancy payments will be paid from the Department of Social Protection within six weeks. Over the next 10 weeks, the liquidators will issue the employees with cheques for monies claims for arrears of wages, holiday pay and minimum notice.

The company's creditors include inter-company loans of €5.8m. Dublin City Council is owed €472,000 in commercial rates. Trade creditors are owed some €613,000, while the concession holders are owed €1.4m.

Unused gift vouchers would not be redeemed and anyone who bought an item on credit card which has not been delivered may be able to get a refund from their card provider.

Counsel said the store had items with a retail value of €4.1m and a cost price of €1.6m.

The firm has fixed assets worth €1.2m, and €626,000 in cash. The value of Clerys intellectual property is €50,000.

Previously the High Court heard OCS Operations Ltd and OCS Properties Ltd, which owns the property, were both owned by OCS Investment Holdings Ltd and formed the OCS group of companies.

The group acquired Clerys in 2012 from receivers.

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