Irish TV owners say station can be saved
John Griffin, the millionaire backer of Irish TV who quit as a director late last month, is owed almost €10.7m by the station.
As the sole creditor of the parent company Eochair Media and he is owed €8.7m by Irish TV, €1.4m by Irish TV (NI) and €521,000 by Irish TV America.
A report by KPMG calculated that just €237,270 would be raised if Irish TV was liquidated and the amounts from Northern Ireland and the US would not be realized.
It forecast the company will have revenue of almost €530,000 in the 100-day period of its examinership. Last year Irish TV made a €3m loss on turnover of €922,648.
The KPMG report was based on reducing by 50 per cent the existing management’s own predictions and admitted even the revised figures “appear ambitious relative to Irish TV’s historic performance”.
Mr. Griffin, who earned a net fortune of £150m from the sale of the Addison Lee car firm he built up and sold for £300m, had promised to provide up to €15m of funding before he fell out with the husband and wife founders, Pierce and Mairead O’Reilly.
Last week the O’Reillys went to the High Court in Dublin to seek the station’s protection from creditors after they said the station had an unforeseen funding shortfall. Several of the station’s regional and overseas staff were made redundant last week as the company closed offices in London, New York, Dublin, Tyrone and Kerry.
Staff made redundant included the station’s popular and well-regarded London correspondent Ian McDonnell. Last week the High Court in Dublin heard there had been an “unforeseen” funding shortfall and liabilities exceeding assets of €8.7m arising from accumulated losses but the owners believed cost cutting and St Patrick’s Day advertising could reverse its misfortunes.
Telifis Mhaigh Eo Teoranta, a subsidiary of Eochair Media Holdings Ltd (EMHL), was established in March 2011, and trades as “Irish TV” out of Westport Industrial Park in Co Mayo. Co-founder and chief executive, Pierce O’Reilly, and managing director, Mairead O’Reilly, own 51 per cent of EMHL while John Griffin has 41 per cent.
Through counsel they told the court the company had been left with an immediate operational cash flow shortfall after Mr. Griffin withdrew his support when he resigned as a director of both EMHL and Telifis Maigh Eo on 27 October .
The company said the other reasons for its difficulties included the €3m deposit required by RTE for its Saorview platform and a collapse in advertising revenue following last June’s Brexit vote.
The court was told the short fall was due to losses accumulated over the past four years and nothing else.
Michael McAteer, of Grant Thornton, was appointed interim examiner to Teilifis Mhaigh Eo Teoranta and Eochair Media Holdings.