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After 40 years, one of Tipperary's big employers is going into liquidation

More than 130 jobs are in jeopardy.

Image: Shutterstock/angellodeco

MORE THAN 130 jobs are at risk following the appointment by the High Court of a provisional liquidator to a Co Tipperary based pharmaceutical manufacturing company.

Suir Pharma Ireland Ltd, which is located at Waterford Road in Clonmel, and has been making generic medicines for approximately 40 years in the town, is insolvent and is to be wound up.

At the High Court on today the company cited losses of €4.9m during the 15 months before March 2015, and a large drop in sales in the US market late last year, for its difficulties. It projects further losses in both 2016 and 2017.

Its parent company, Saneca, was not willing to fund the company and it was left with no option other than to apply to the court for the appointment of a provisional liquidator.

Justice Michael Twomey said he was satisfied to appoint insolvency practitioner Michael McAteer of Grant Thornton as provisional liquidator of the company.

The court granted Mr McAteer a number of powers, including a power to continue to allow the company trade and to take steps to secure the company’s assets.

Barrister Declan Murphy Bl for the company said in the face of losses sustained the company’s main shareholders, on the advice of Suir Pharma’s directors, had decided to wind up the company.

The appointment of McAteer would secure and help realise the best value of the company’s assets, including its stock.

Counsel said there is lot of work currently being done on pharma products at the plant. The provisional liquidator would be in a position to turn this ‘work in progress’ into a saleable product.

The level of employment at the company during any process of finishing off products currently being manufactured would be a matter for the provisional liquidator, counsel added.

Mr McAteer would also accelerate the process of locating potential buyers for the company’s site and manufacturing facility in Clonmel, counsel added.

It was in the best interests of the company and its creditors that a liquidator be appointed.

Counsel said that as well as the drop in sales to the US the company also encountered a quality issue with an ingredient sourced from China used in one of its products. This had prevented the company from making the product for some months, resulting in a loss of revenue.

The company, which has 134 employees, has had several owners during its existence.

Last year it was sold to Slovakian based group Saneca Pharmaceuticals by Munich restructuring company Mutares for an undisclosed amount.

After approving Mr McAteer’s appointment the judge adjourned the matter to 13 June.

Read: 1,400 jobs at risk as Debenhams Ireland goes into examinership >

Read: ‘We’ve spent weeks wrestling with Irish Water – but there’s a far bigger concern we need to focus on’ >

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Ray Managh

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