The High Court has appointed an interim examiner to construction company Mac Interiors.

The court heard that the company that specialises in the construction of office interiors, which has blue-chip clients including Microsoft, AIB, Ryanair, Pinterest, Barclays Bank, and Citibank, has sought the protection of the courts from its creditors due to difficulties largely caused by the impact of the Covid-19 outbreak.

While its difficulties have left the firm adversely hit the company’s cash flow leaving it insolvent, the court was told that the company can be saved if certain steps are taken including the appointment of an examiner who would seek to put together a scheme of arrangement with the firm’s creditors.

Following a late evening application before the High Court on Tuesday Mr Justice Conor Dignam appointed insolvency practioner and chartered accountant Kieran Wallace of Interpath Advisory as interim examiner to Mac Interiors Ltd, which has 41 full time employees, and many subcontractors.

The court was told the company is registered in Northern Ireland, but it was seeking the appointment of an examiner in this jurisdiction on the grounds that the firm’s centre of main interest is in the Republic, where its employees are based.

The appointment of Mr Wallace was sought by the company.

Barrister Kelley Smith SC, appearing with Mr John Lavelle Bl for the company said that the company was founded in 2002 and has traded very successfully, In Ireland, the UK and continental Europe for many years.

Counsel said that following the Covid-19 outbreak the construction sector had been particularly badly hit. The firm has several ongoing projects but has a projected deficit of approximately €9m.

Counsel said that the companies’ difficulties stemmed from the construction sector having to shut down due to the Covid-19 outbreak. The company had also been involved in a project in the UK, known as the Liverpool project, that has resulted in it sustaining significant losses.

It had advanced Stg£14m loans to another related company in order to pay subcontractors involved in that job, which are not likely to be recoverable counsel said.

The company’s profitability had also been hit by inflation, especially the rising cost of construction materials.

It had also been limited in the contracts it could seek due to ‘bonding’ or insurance issues.

Counsel said that the company has warehoused some €11m of revenue debt.

However, it has other outstanding claims against it including a demand by Revenue for a VAT payment of €200,000.

Revenue has in recent days brought High Court proceedings against the company in respect of that sum, counsel said.

Counsel added that other creditors have also been making demands on the company for payment and may seek to have the firm wound up.

The company had taken steps to address its financial problems, including reducing its overheads, and staff numbers from 85 to 41 full time employees, and had sought additional investment in the business.

An Independent Experts reports had said that if an examiner can put together a survival scheme, supported by the creditors and approved by the High Court, the company has a reasonable prospect of survival as a going concern.

Counsel said that the appointment of an examiner to deal with the company’s creditors, employees, subcontractors, and in particular its suppliers, was the best way forward for all concerned.

The judge after appointing Mr Wallace on an interim basis and granting him certain powers in respect of the company, adjourned the matter to a date in June.

The judge also directed that several creditors of the company, including Revenue, should be put on notice of the proceedings.