An announcement on the future of 90 jobs at the Flancare Distribution plant in Longford is expected imminently after a liquidator was named for the company last week.
In a statement, the company said once ongoing legal formalities are completed, senior management “expect to be in a position to make a further positive announcement in the coming days regarding the future of the Clonmel and Longford plants and their combined 200 jobs.”
Describing the situation as “evolving”, the spokesperson could not provide a date for the expected announcement but confirmed management did “not foresee any major difficulties that would threaten a successful outcome to this process, and staff have been requested to continue to report to work as normal.”
Last Thursday, Declan McDonald of PricewaterhouseCoopers was appointed provisional liquidator by the High Court for the logistics company, which stores and distributes ambient food, beverages, healthcare and pharmaceutical products.
The company, which also employs 130 people in Clonmel and four in Dublin, sought liquidation after its shareholders passed a resolution authorising the board to have the company wound up.
In 2005, Flancare completed a state of the art multi-million euro warehouse and logistic centre on the Strokestown Road in Longford. Staff returned to work there on Monday with one member of staff describing morale as “fine” and that it was “business as usual.”
In an affidavit to the court last Thursday, director John McCormick said the company had never been significantly profitable, and had recorded a loss of €636,000 in 2011. It also owes Revenue €343,000.
It is hoped the majority of the jobs can be saved when the business is sold. However, given the losses at the company last year any new owner would likely need to cut costs in order to become profitable.
On Monday morning, a number of contractors started a protest and partial blockade at the Clonmel plant over outstanding payments due to over 30 contractors. A spokesperson for Flancare has said that agreements had been reached with the majority of contractors last Friday during the process of winding down the company.
It is believed a substantial Irish company is in negotiations to purchase a 50 percent stake in the company, with one of the current owners Ellen Woodlock retaining 38 percent and management making up the final 12 percent. It is hoped this proposal will preserve most jobs.
Flancare Athlone, which mainly focuses on warehousing, is a completely separate company and have confirmed to the Leader its 30 jobs are not at any risk.
A spokesperson for Longford Town FC, who signed a naming rights deal with Flancare for their grounds in 2000, has described last week’s announcement as “extremely worrying.” Flancare has paid sponsorship annually since 2000, but Longford Town FC PRO, Donald Keogh said it is too early to speculate about the future of any such deals.