Written Answers. - Irish Fertiliser Industries.

Billy Timmins

Question:

182 Mr. Timmins asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the properties and assets that belong to IFI, or that IFI has an interest in, in County Wicklow; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [4089/03]

Billy Timmins

Question:

184 Mr. Timmins asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment if any property assets belonging to IFI in County Wicklow are to be sold; the process involved; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [4091/03]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 182 and 184 together.

I understand that the company has interests in a number of properties in the Arklow area, including the main production facility and a site at North Quay, Arklow, which houses a warehouse and some storage tanks, as well as some lands at Lamberton Avenue, Arklow, and adjacent to the main production site. At this stage, the liquidator of IFI is responsible for the disposal of the assets of the company, including the Arklow sites. In this regard, the role and responsibilities of the liquidator are well established under company law and I have no role in giving any instructions to him.

Billy Timmins

Question:

183 Mr. Timmins asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the situation regarding the liquidation of IFI; if she has received any report or correspondence from the liquidator to date; if so, the contents of this correspondence; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [4090/03]

I understand that the liquidation is progressing in an orderly and efficient manner. However, efforts by the liquidator to sell all or part of the assets of the company on a going-concern basis have, unfortunately, been unsuccessful to date.

The liquidator has also advised me that, based on legal advice received, he has admitted, as unsecured creditors in the liquidation, claims from the employees of the company to have entitlements to enhanced redundancy payments. It is estimated that these claims increase the total value of unsecured creditors compared with the statement of affairs produced by the board in November last by more than €60 million, although any dividend payable to the workers concerned will be reduced by the amounts received from the ex gratia fund of €24.5 million provided by the shareholders. It is expected that these additional claims will have the effect of reducing the prospective dividend to unsecured creditors generally.

The liquidator has updated me on certain issues concerning pensions issues for the employees based in Belfast and, in particular, that he has appointed Hogg Robinson Trustees Ltd. as independent trustees of the staff retirement benefit plan covering employees in Belfast. It is understood that he was required to make such an appointment under the relevant pensions regulations applicable in Northern Ireland.

Question No. 184 answered with Question No. 182.