Page last updated at 11:37 GMT, Friday, 2 April 2010 12:37 UK

Quinn attacks administrator move

Sean Quinn
Sean Quinn has been listed as one of Ireland's richest businessmen.

Sean Quinn has said the appointment of administrators to his insurance company threatens thousands of jobs.

On Wednesday, the High Court in Dublin ruled that the move was necessary because the company's liabilities significantly outweighed its assets.

Mr Quinn told RTE the decision was "one of the biggest errors ever in the history of corporate Ireland".

Northern Ireland politicians will meet Quinn Group management at the company headquarters in Fermanagh on Friday.

Those attending include Fermanagh and South Tyrone MP Michelle Gildernew, enterprise minister and MLA for the area Arlene Foster as well as local MLAs Tom Elliott and Tommy Gallagher.

Quinn Insurance has confirmed that it will not be taking on new business in Northern Ireland and will not be renewing existing car policies when they run out.


The company has organised protest marches in Cavan and Dublin next Tuesday at noon.

Mr Quinn said on Thursday that his family, one of the richest in Ireland, had lost 3bn euros (£2.66bn) in share deals in the last three years.

They owe 2.8bn euros (£2.4bn) to state-owned Anglo-Irish Bank.

The financial regulator, Matthew Elderfield, has said his office applied to appoint provisional administrators because the he believed Quinn Insurance's assets had been overstated by about 450 million euros.

They have taken the carpet from under me
Sean Quinn

He said this meant a potential shortfall in the company's ability to meet claims against it.

But Mr Quinn has said that he had no problem paying backs his debts because his group was making profits of between 400 and 500m euros a year.

He accused the regulator of destroying his reputation and that of his family.

He told RTE: "It is the most extraordinary decision I have ever come across. They have taken the carpet from under me. They have taken my model, taken my business.

"It is going to be a huge job to regain that confidence."


Quinn Group chief executive Liam McCaffrey told the Irish Times on Friday that the family's ability to pay back the money it owes Anglo-Irish was dependent on a "very robust" Quinn Insurance group, either through "cash-flow or disposal".

Mr McCaffrey said that concerns about the Quinn Group's 1.2bn euros (£1.06bn) debts, separate to the family's borrowings, were unfounded because there was no prospect of the loans being called in by the lenders.

The newspaper reported that the provisional administrators have received about 20 inquiries from groups interested in buying all or part of the insurance business.

But the administrators, Grant Thornton, said it was "premature" to consider a sale at this point.

As well as the insurance section, Quinn Group includes companies selling other products including cement and health cover.

It employs about 5,500 people across Ireland. It is one of the biggest employers in Fermanagh, where Mr Quinn grew up and neighbouring Cavan, where he now lives.

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