The High Court has given the go-ahead to an examiner to the Cara group of pharmacies to negotiate an investment agreement designed at ensuring its survival.

The group’s directors are former RTE’s Dragon Den presenter Ramona Nicholas and her husband Canice Nicholas.

In September, the High Court confirmed the appointment of Ken Tyrell of PwC as examiner following an earlier application by the group’s lender and largest creditor, Elm Corporate Credit. The appointment was over the Cara Pharmacy Unlimited Company and a dozen related companies which altogether employ more than 150 people.

On Wednesday, Mr Justice Denis McDonald granted Neil Steen SC, for the examiner, permission to negotiate and execute an investment agreement as part of a scheme of arrangement being drawn up as part of the examinership. The court heard previously there had been 17 expressions of interest in the group from potential investors.

Leases

The judge also made orders allowing the examiner to negotiate and execute matters in relation to leases and to authorise payments above €5,000. Other matters sought by the examiner have been adjourned to next week.

The HSE, Elm Corporate and United Drug, which is Cara’s main supplier, were either supportive or neutral on the orders sought.

However, Sally O’Neill , for Revenue, was concerned about the fact that information in relation to the orders sought had not been supplied in advance to her side and she had only learned of the examiner’s application on Tuesday. Revenue was concerned it was being “left in the dark”, she said.

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Mr Justice McDonald said such concerns should have been brought to the attention of the examiner and if Revenue had felt it necessary an application should be made to the court on notice to the other parties. He was prepared to hear such an application early next week, before the next adjourned date, but hoped it would not be necessary if the parties engaged.



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