Wednesday, February 08, 2023

High Court reporters

Two creditors which claim they are owed €2.3 million by a plastics recycling firm have asked the High Court for orders winding up the company.

The application has been made in respect of Cloughwater Plastics Ireland Limited, which is a joint venture between Van Werven Group, based in the Netherlands, and the Northern Ireland-based Cloughwater Enterprises Limited.

The application has been made over the creditors’ concerns about how the company, which is allegedly insolvent and no longer able to pay its debts as they fall due, has been operated.

The company, which has 35 employees, was set up for the recycling of used mixed rigid plastics into raw materials for re-use in the plastics industry at its facility in West Dublin.

Under the joint venture, it is claimed that Mr Shane Woods, a director of Cloughwater Enterprises, from Ballymena, Co Antrim, was the managing director of Cloughwater Plastics and made all the decisions in relation to the management of the company.

Arising out of the company’s alleged insolvency and due to concerns over how the firm is being run, two entities within the Van Werven Group have petitioned the High Court for orders to wind up Cloughwater Plastics.

The two creditors seeking the orders are Kunststof Recycling Van Werven BV, a related company which says it is owed over €1.86 million by the Irish company, and Van Werven Plastic Recycling Holding BV, which is a shareholder in Cloughwater Plastics and is owed €477,000.

Represented by Lyndon MacCann SC, the Dutch entities claim the company has been allegedly insolvent for some time.

Counsel said his clients believe that it is very much in the company’s interests that the appointment of joint provisional liquidators be made as soon as possible.

Alleged discrepancies

There are concerns over the manner in which the company has been run and over alleged discrepancies in the company’s books, counsel said.

In addition, counsel said it appeared the company no longer has a license to transfer and export end products out of Ireland.

The court also heard the company has significant dealings with REPAK, the Irish body which helps businesses with recycling.

The company allegedly overcharged REPAK and owes it over €562,000, counsel said, adding that that figure could increase by an additional €600,000.

The company has now reached maximum capacity permitted in its environmental permit and also requires additional investment to upgrade its facilities, otherwise it risks losing its insurance cover, the court heard.

The creditors want insolvency experts Ken Fennell and Andrew O’Leary of Interpath Ireland appointed as joint provisional liquidators to the company to help secure and manage the firm’s affairs and assets in the best interests of all the relevant parties.

They could also undertake an investigation into the company’s affairs, the court also heard.

The creditor’s application came before Mr Justice Brian O’Moore on Wednesday.

The judge, who said he was not prepared to grant the orders sought on an ex-parte basis, directed that the application be made on notice to the company and other interested parties, including REPAK and the Revenue Commissioners.

Noting the seriousness of the claims, the judge adjourned the case to Friday’s sitting of the court.

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