THE HIGH COURT has appointed a provisional liquidator to the publisher of four weekly newspapers that circulate in County Wexford.
The court was told the provisional liquidator Kieran Wallace will keep the Wexford Echo, Gorey Echo, New Ross Echo and the Enniscorthy Echo open in the hope that a buyer for the titles can be found.
The four titles, which are owned by Wexford Echo Limited, employ a total of 30 people involved in journalism, advertising and sales, subediting, page production, finance and management.
Wallace was appointed as provisional liquidator, and granted certain powers, at the High Court on Thursday evening by Justice Paul Gilligan following an application by lawyers for the company.
The judge said he was satisfied to appoint Wallace, an insolvency practitioner with KPMG, after being informed the company is insolvent and unable to pay its debts.
The company, which is a member of the Landmark Media Group alongside the Irish Examiner, the Kildare Nationalist and Breakingnews.ie, also operates its own website.
Its directors are Thomas Crosbie, Noel Wall, Daniel Francis Linehan, Thomas Joseph Murphy and Sean O ‘Keeffe.
Seeking the appointment, Garvan Corkery said the winding up order was being sought due to the decline of newspaper sales and advertising both globally and in Ireland.
This decline, counsel said, had caused trading difficulties for the sector generally and in particular the company.
Counsel said the company was loss making and as of the end of May had net liabilities of €834,000.
Wexford Echo Limited had been dependent on the continued financial support of its affiliates in the Landmark Media Group to meet its liabilities.
In light of its trading difficulties, Landmark had decided not to support the company any longer.
As a result, the company’s shareholder had passed a resolution that it be wound up and a provisional liquidator be appointed.
Wallace said it would be able to preserve the saleability of the titles and could effect a rapid sale if the demand for such a transaction emerges.
Any suspension of the publications, even temporary, could prejudice any possible sale of the titles, counsel added.
Counsel said the company provides subediting and page production services for two other titles in the Landmark Group, the Waterford News and Star and the Nationalist and Leinster Times.
The provisional liquidator would ensure that those services could also continue in the interim.