Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Elverys Sports staff are delighted that the anxiety over the future of their jobs looks be to over.

A management team led by Castlebar man Patrick Rowland has won the battle to take control of Elverys Sports.

The management buyout saw off competition from UK retailer Sports Direct, controlled by Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley. The Castlebar-based retailer was place into examinership in Febuary after it was granted high court protection from its creditors.

“There was lot of uncertainty over the last two months in terms of what was going to happen to the business. It looks to be onwards and upwards from here on,” said Diarmuid Byrne, teamwear manager at Elvery’s headquarters in Castlebar and spokesperson for the Elverys SOS 700 campaign. “The most important thing here is that the jobs are going to be saved,” Mr Byrne added.

The campaign, which included a protest at McHale Park, drew attention to the plight of the workers and their jobs fears.

“Each and everyone of the staff felt like that had a voice. Whether or not it made a difference or not I don’t know but it certainly didn’t do any harm. W thought that we couldn’t just sit on our hands. The examiner Simon Mazar even said he hadn’t seen a campaign like it and I think there might be lessons here that can be learned for other companies who might find themselves in a similar situation,” commented Mr Byrne.

The future of 700 jobs in Elverys, including those at its Moneen warehouse and look to be secured after management was approved as the preferred investor in the company. While no job losses are expected, it is not yet clear whether all outlets will be retained by the new owners.

The examiner to Elverys, Simon Coyle of Mazars, made the announcement last week. His next task is to formulate proposals for a Scheme of Arrangement, which must be presented to the creditors for approval.

Those proposals will then go before the High Court to ensure the survival of the company as a going concern. Proceeds of the sale by the examiner will be used to pay off Elvery’s pre-examinership debts, including €23m owed to NAMA.

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