Spate of attacks on former Quinn Group putting takeover bid at risk, says McCaffrey

Sean Quinn  DP 48


THE SPATE of attacks on the former Quinn Group property could put off potential investors, the company’s former chief executive and leading businessman behind the consortium group QBRC, has claimed.

Laim McCaffrey, who has backed a bid by three businessmen to buy back the five manufacturing divisions of the Aventas Group, said the unwarranted attacks puts the group’s efforts to attract international parties and investors at risk.


“It’s now got to the stage where we are trying to attract capital investment from international parties and investors but this is being put at risk because of these attacks. It’s not helping our cause,” he said.

The eight former senior executives in the Quinn Group have given their backing to the bid by three businessmen to buy back the five manufacturing divisions of the Aventas Group.

And, if the €500m bid is successful, the eight will be invited to run the company while the buy-out trio would sit on the management board.

The eight include Mr McCaffrey, former group development director Kevin Lunney, former group finance director, Dara O’Reilly, and former radiator division chief executive, Denis Doogan.

They include – Ernie Fisher, former managing director of Fisher Engineering Ltd, John McCartin, who leads Newtowngore Engineering Ltd, John ‘Bosco’ O’Hagan, managing director of the Derry GAA sponsors Specialist Joinery Group.

Mr McCaffrey revealed that the trio have been in talks with banks and private equity funds to support a bid for the entire business of Aventas.

“KKR, a US $40 billion private equity fund, was prepared to offer us finance in 2011 to fund a management buy-in,” he stated. “Finance is a lot easier to raise now than it was then.”


He said their priority was to get access to the Aventas books before making a formal bid. And, the consortium was not interested in buying parts of the group.

“We think they are much more valuable kept all together.”

He told the ‘Irish Times’ that their bid would deliver a better capital structure that would allow the business grow and develop.

He did not rule out Sean Quinn and members of his family joining them if the bid was successful.

However, the Quinn family was not involved in the approach.

For his part, Mr Quinn declined to comment.

In a statement, Aventas confirmed it had received ‘a highly preliminary indication of interest’ from the consortium.

It had asked its financial advisers to request from Mr McCartin further information.

Councillor McCartin said that the entire old management structure (they have to be the biggest asset that can be brought to that business) were willing and enthusiastic about the prospect of working with the trio.

“We have a number of funding options available to us. It’s going to take two things to run this business: money to buy it and the management team to run it, and we have both.

He said if the consortium got “meaningful” engagement from Aventas, they were willing to make an offer immediately.

“We are hopeful they will engage with us in a meaningful way.

He said the team was confident they had Sean Quinn’s moral support.

Mr McCartin said he envisaged he and Messrs Fisher and O’Hagan, if the bid was successful, would sit on a board of directors.

“We would leave daily running of the company with the former Quinn Group management”, he added.

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