AN agreement has been reached which effectively seals the deal for an ex-Quinn Group consortium to buy major segments of the former Quinn empire from present owners Aventas.
The deal – which should see the cement, packaging and Construction Industry Supply divisions, including concrete block and roof tile product plants, sold off by Aventas – will affect an estimated 650 workers.
However, Aventas has said it will continue to own and operate its glass, radiator and plastics businesses.
Speaking to the Fermanagh Herald, former Quinn Group chief executive Liam McCaffrey expressed his delight at the announcement revealed yesterday.
“It’s a very good day for us and we are happy and excited to have reached this point in the agreement,” he explained.
Mr McCaffrey is one of a number of former Quinn managers who set up the Quinn Business Retention Company (QBRC) who several months ago revealed to this paper plans to buy out much of the former Quinn Group.
“Both of us (Aventas and QBRC) are happy this will go ahead – the deal has been sealed.
“These businesses have a combined employment of 650 people in the Ballyconnell and Derrylin area.
“These are jobs I would like to see protected as well as growing. We have both been working over the last number of months to get to this point and have spent the last ten days getting things formalised,” he added.
Speaking about their working relationship with Aventas, Mr McCaffrey said: “We have established a good relationship with Aventas and have been working quite closely with them and will continue to do so over the next period.
“The reaction from everyone has been very positive – I had to turn my phone off with all the text messages and phone calls – it’s received a universal welcome, it’s been excellent.
“Sean Quinn was aware of it and I think we have his support to get this deal done.
“It’s the right thing for this area and the staff are all delighted.”
A spokesman for the Aventas Group said in a statement that while there is no certainty that a transaction will be concluded, both parties have entered a period of exclusive due diligence.
The group of businessmen involved with QBRC have signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Aventas Group regarding the purchase of Quinn Packaging Limited and the Construction Industry Supply businesses in Derrylin and Ballyconnell.
Local MP Michelle Gildernew welcomed moves that could see jobs from the former Quinn group of companies retained in the local area.
“From the outset, I have consistently stated that my primary concern in this matter was the retention of employment in the local area,” she said.
“We were all convinced that keeping the former Quinn Group of companies together would represent the best outcome for the local workforce. It also presents the best opportunity for future investment in the businesses locally.
“I am delighted at the progress that has been made to date and I believe this move is in the best interests of the local community.”
Ulster Unionist MLA, Tom Elliott, also welcomed the announcement.
He said: “This should offer stability for thousands of jobs in Fermanagh and surrounding areas. It is sad that so many attacks took place that damaged plant and put jobs in jeopardy.
“I am pleased that we have reached this juncture, getting to the stage of the QBRC and Aventas having agreed a Memorandum of Understanding is significant progress.
“The vicious attacks of vandalism had a hugely destabilising effect on the entire business and a threat to employment in Fermanagh.”
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