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Sean Quinn gets ultimatum from US owners of his former firm

By Staff Reporter

Published 06/05/2016

Sean Quinn works as an adviser to the firm that bought his company
Sean Quinn works as an adviser to the firm that bought his company

The US investment firm that purchased the construction company of Sean Quinn has issued the fallen tycoon with an ultimatum to comply with a series of conditions or his consultancy agreement with the company will be ended.

It is understood the row came to light in correspondence between Mr Quinn and the new owners that indicated the future of the company was in danger unless he withdrew his demand for an equity stake in Quinn Industrial Holdings Ltd (QIHL) and for a seat on the board.

Mr Quinn works as an adviser to the group, receiving an annual financial reward reported to be in the region of €500,000 (£395,850).

The owners have requested that Mr Quinn promote and engage with the management team at QIHL in a constructive manner.

They said they were open to discussion on the issues involved, but that Mr Quinn needed to meet their demands or they will have no alternative but to "terminate" his consultancy agreement.

In a statement, Mr Quinn denied he had "sought a seat on the board of QIHL or new equity in the company".

He said that he was the subject of an orchestrated campaign which he said was designed to "discredit" him.

However, he added: "I would, of course, like a seat on the board at some stage as I believe that I could make a very positive contribution to the future success of the company."

The pay of senior executives is one of the significant issues which arose at the company and led to the breakdown in relations between Mr Quinn and the new owners.

Mr Quinn said: "As the company is currently earning lower profit margins than at any time during my 40-year involvement, it is my own personal view that if the group is to protect local jobs, I believe it is incumbent on both senior management and me to lead by example and collectively reduce our personal earnings to more sensible levels."

He proposed that he and the "eight executive directors of the company should collectively impose personal pay reductions of a least 50% for those earning salaries comparable to my present consultancy fee".

Supporters of Mr Quinn have accused the new local management of QIHL of doing a U-turn and straying away from what they said was an agreement to hand the company back to Mr Quinn when he exited bankruptcy. However, an agreement in place between three local investors who own a portion of the company contains an undertaking not to transfer shares to Mr Quinn in any side agreement.

If any agreement had been entered into, their shares would be forfeited.

Mr Quinn has said "there were commitments made to me and my family at the time of the restructuring and thereafter by certain local stakeholders and I can confirm that I have asked those local stakeholders to clarify their position in respect of these commitments".

There have also been reports of violence carried out by locals against the new ownership of the company.

Mr Quinn has consistently condemned violent acts in the area, saying: "I have publicly asked all local stakeholders to desist from attacking the company and to desist the verbal abuse that the company's senior management have been subjected to.

"I would like to repeat this request again in the strongest possible terms."

In a statement to RTÉ, QIHL said that it would not be intimidated by "this self-serving bullying and criminal activity".

The company said it is aware of "reports of upwards of 70 such incidents encountered by staff of other former Quinn Group companies".

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