Belfast Telegraph

Xtra-vision owners vow £7m boost

By Heather McGarrigle

The owners of Irish DVD and games rental company Xtra-vision have pledged an €8m (£7.04m) investment in the business as it emerges from a period of examinership.

The company had suffered a €6m (£5.2m) drop in revenue over recent years, with property rent said to be its main cost burden.

It entered examinership at the end of April, with David Hughes from Ernst and Young formally appointed interim examiner at the chain on May 12.

The period of examinership gave Xtra-vision, which has around 45 stores employing 150 people in Northern Ireland, up to 100 days to restructure the business and negotiate with creditors.

It is understood the examiner negotiated substantial rent reductions at about half the firm's 140 outlets in the Republic. He succeeded in having a number of leases held by Xtra-vision repudiated, terminating the lease agreements.

The majority of those leases are held by Xtra-vision on stores it no longer trades from but where it still has to pay high rents. In some instances it has managed to sub-lease the outlets, but doesn't generate enough income from those agreements to cover its own rent bill. The leases can only be repudiated if the court finds them to be onerous.

In the High Court in Dublin on Friday, Mr Justice Bryan McGovern approved the Scheme of Arrangement, allowing Xtra-vision Limited to end its period of examinership. The order takes effect on Thursday.

Birchall Investments bought the chain from US firm Blockbuster in 2009. The company closed non-trading and loss-making stores and now operates 163 outlets across Ireland, employing 1,200 staff.

Belfast Telegraph