Belfast Telegraph

Drinks are on Sean Quinn as he returns to former headquarters

By Donal O'Donovan

Former billionaire businessman Sean Quinn served drinks to jubilant workers celebrating the sale of former Quinn businesses to a local consortium.

The Quinn Group founder arrived at the offices in Derrylin, Co Fermanagh, yesterday following the sale of the business to Quinn Business Retention Company (QBRC).

He has been signed up by the new owners as an advisor. It marks his return to the business he created and then lost in dramatic fashion after his disastrous bet on Anglo Irish Bank shares, made before its spectacular crash.

Workers reportedly cheered as the original "Q" emblem, built into the office facade, re-emerged when the Aventas sign on the office block was taken down by the new owners yesterday, and later burned.

Quinn Group was renamed Aventas after the business was taken over by creditors including IBRC, the former Anglo Irish Bank and US bondholders.

The Construction Industry Supply (CIS) and Packaging businesses, bought for €90m, are being renamed Quinn Industrial Holdings by QBRC. The businesses employ 700 people in Derrylin and Ballyconnell on the Fermanagh-Cavan border.

Aventas still owns the former Quinn Glass business - renamed Encirc, which is for sale.

QBRC director John McCartin, a businessman and Fine Gael councillor, said Mr Quinn turned up for what became a "very impromptu celebration" yesterday. "There was a bit of a get-together and Sean dropped in with a crate of beer," Mr McCartin said.

There was a sense of relief, and the takeover was important for people in the region who had feared that a sale of the Quinn businesses could ultimately lead to job losses, he said. "Thousands of people around here have been servants to foreign debt," he said.

A smiling Mr Quinn, who will work with the new managers but is not a shareholder or director of QBRC, served beer and whiskey to workers.

The QBRC consortium includes Pat McCartin, Tyrone businessman John Bosco O'Hagen, who owns Specialist Joinery Group, and Enniskillen businessman Ernie Fisher, who sold his engineering firm in a £90m deal in 2007.

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