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Receivers move in at Skylift

Irish based access rental company Skylift called in the receivers on Friday evening as part of an on-going restructuring programme with the Bank of Ireland.

Grant Thornton has been appointed as the receiver to manage the business during the last stages of the process which will take the fleet down to 200 units or less, after a batch of 60 machines are shipped out of the country in the next week or so.

The business, which operates from Cork, Limerick and Dublin, stopped trading after the receiver took charge of the three premises on Friday, but managing director John Cusack told Vertikal.Net that staff are continuing to support customers by finding them the equipment they need and that they are fully supporting the process which is expected to last three to four weeks.

According to Cusack, Grant Thornton’s role is to take possession of all unencumbered assets and secure the debtor book for the Bank of Ireland which has until now factored Skylift’s receivables.

Once that process has been completed any residual business will be handed back to Cusak and his team which plans to restart trading, most likely under a new trading name. We also understand that temporary premises have been rented and that this is where the business will be operated from - at least in the interim.

Cusack said that this is the final stage of a process with the Bank of Ireland that will, he claims, see it paid in full, along with all other creditors, including the Inland Revenue and VAT. He also said that he is already in discussions with a number of manufacturers regarding new equipment to add to the units that he hopes to retain from the current fleet under existing finance terms.

“This is certainly not a good time for us, but we are happy to work with both Grant Thornton and the Bank of Ireland and look forward to getting this behind us and to being able to move ahead with a clean slate during these challenging times. At the end of the day it is about looking after our customers who have been very supportive,” said Cusack.

Vertikal Comment

Cusack established Skylift in 1997 and grown at a strong pace ever since, but has been struggling for some time, as have most rental companies in Ireland, it has though cut its fleet from over 850 units in 2007 to 260 as of today and 200 or less going forward. If all is as we have been told, this has been a fairly orderly process with machines sold off steadily over an almost two year period, while the business continued to trade.

While its main competitors would certainly have preferred the bank to have ‘pulled the plug’ two years ago, in order to have created some ‘air’ in the market, this process has possibly done more for the bank and the company’s creditors than more drastic action would have. In fact according to Cusack it leaves them all whole.

However it can also be argued that a slower reorganisation such as this puts jobs at other, more solid, companies at risk. Your opinion will most likely depend on whether you are a creditor of the failing business or the owner of a competitor.