March 20, 2022 By Retention Back

BUILDING fitout specialist Sonica successfully petitioned the High Court for the appointment of Deloitte’s head of restructuring Ken Fennell as interim examiner late on Wednesday.

The business had debts of €9.4m at the end of its last financial year in April 2021, putting it among the smaller businesses to go through an examinership.

Bank debt was small compared to €4.3m owed to trade creditors and €3.6m of credit accruals.

The company cited the knock on effects of the Covid lockdowns including a disputed bill for work done in Germany for a large client for tipping it into the High Court process.

“Unfortunately, due to the knock-on effects of Covid on our international supply partners we have been unexpectedly faced with a large, disputed payment. This issue, which is the subject of litigation in Germany, coupled with recent large-scale investment in the business and Covid impacts have left the cashflow position of the company significantly eroded,” a spokesperson said.

Subject to court approval, management believes Sonica’s cash position, strong project pipeline and projections will allow it to exit examinership swiftly, the spokesperson said.

Sonica was established in 2013 by Donnacha Neary and has revenues of €60m. It has worked on large scale, high-end building fit outs for clients including the Guinness Storehouse, Sherry Fitzgerald, Intercom, Huawei and GlaxoSmithKline.

The most recent accounts for the year to the end of April 2021 show earnings (Ebitda) of €962,000, down from €2.1m a year earlier with activity curtailed as a result of the Covid lockdowns.

The business was profitable and paid an interim dividend of €448,000.
Donal O’Donovan Irish Independent