Endless plans deal to protect jobs

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PRIVATE equity firm Endless plans to protect hundreds of jobs by taking a majority shareholding in businesses that once belonged to Ireland’s richest man.

Leeds-based Endless is backing a consortium, which includes executives from former tycoon Sean Quinn’s defunct business empire, who expect to secure a deal to buy two divisions of the old business over the next two months. Mr Quinn’s £3.24bn business empire collapsed after a disastrous investment in the now failed Anglo Irish Bank. He was declared bankrupt in 2012, just four years after becoming Ireland’s richest man.

The Quinn Business Retention Company (QBRC), headed by the former tycoon’s number two Liam McCaffrey, has teamed up with Endless for the arrangement.

Aventas Manufacturing Group, which took over much of the Quinn businesses along the border after it was put in receivership, said talks on the buyout are ongoing.

The deal is for all of the former Quinn manufacturing operations in Derrylin, Co Fermanagh and Ballyconnell, Co Cavan and one in Granard, Co Longford - including cement, tarmac, roof tiles, blocks and packaging.

Those behind the deal say between 650 and 800 jobs will be protected in the group and another 2,500 jobs in the border region rely on the Quinn businesses.

It is expected to be finalised before the end of September.

The value of the deal will not be released but it is running to tens of millions, the business consortium said.

Liam McCaffrey, chief executive QBRC, said returning to businesses he has worked in is an exciting move.

“We are delighted to have reached an agreement with Aventas for the acquisition of the Construction Industry Supplies (CIS) and packaging businesses and are excited with the prospect of returning to these businesses that we have previously worked in and managed,” he said.

“We will work with Aventas to facilitate stability in the local community that will enable Aventas to achieve its corporate objectives.”

A period of examination of company accounts, due diligence, will take place over the next few months.

The old Quinn industries were hit by scores of attacks, including vandalism, intimidation and arson, in the border region since receivers were appointed three years ago, over debts to the former Anglo Irish Bank, and the Aventas Group moved in.

Paul O’Brien, chief executive of Aventas Manufacturing Group, said: “We are pleased to have reached an agreement in principle with QBRC and Endless LLP.

“Aventas will continue to own and operate its glass, plastics and radiator businesses.”

In a statement the company cautioned that there is no certainty that a transaction will be concluded. Garry Wilson, a partner at Endless, said he believed the planned transaction would be welcomed by the local community, and he hoped the deal would be completed by the second half of August.