Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 12 July 2014

The merchants of Belfast: brief history of ailing holdings firm

Sean Quinn

The six off-licences bought by WineFlair were owned by PBN Wineworld, part of PBN Holdings.

That business was started up by Neil Adair, formerly Anglo Irish Bank's director in Northern Ireland, developer Patrick Kearney and businessman Brian McConville.

Mr Kearney was revealed during a court appearance by former Anglo chief Sean FitzPatrick (right) last year as one of the Maple Ten, a group of Anglo Irish customers approached by the bank in 2008 to borrow money to buy shares in it after Sean Quinn (far right) built up a 25% stake through contracts for difference.

PBN Holdings's bank loans have been absorbed by Nama. However, PBN Wineworld banked with Bank of Scotland (Ireland), which is not subject to Nama.

However, BofS has been retreating from the Irish market after lending extensively during the boom and outsourcing firm Certus is winding down its loanbook.

BoS refused to comment directly on the deal but said it was winding down its portfolio "in a controlled and managed way".

PBN Wineworld's last-filed accounts give its tangible assets a value of £2.92m at the end of 2009, slipping to £2.58m by mid-2011.

It suffered losses of £405,000 in the 18 months to June 2011.

In 2009 the newly-established PBN Wineworld bought the business and assets of Wineworld Inns and three related companies for around £4.7m after they went into administration.

Stephen Lavery (48) of Cleland Park North, Bangor, and Ian Newell (41) from Warren Road in Donaghadee were disqualified as company directors for their conduct at the helm of companies including Wineworld Inns.

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