Hutch’s Eircom legal challenge fails

18 May 2012

The Irish courts yesterday dismissed a legal challenge from Hong Kong-based ports-to-telecom operator Hutchison Whampoa to have its EUR2 billion (USD2.54 billion) offer for the Republic’s former monopoly operator Eircom considered. It is understood Mr Justice Peter Kelly refused Hutch’s application to defer the creditors’ meetings and require the court-appointed examiner Michael McAteer to withdraw his refusal to admit Li Ka-shing’s company to proceed to phase two of the process. In brief, Justice Kelly ruled that Hutch’s petition would effectively constitute a plea for the courts to intervene in a commercial judgment and interfere with the examinership process, something it is not permitted to do. He also adjudged that the examiner’s reasons for disbarring Hutchison Whampoa’s progression to phase two of the process had ‘reasonable basis’. In a statement, the Hong Kong conglomerate said it was ‘disappointed’ with the court’s ruling but respected its decision.

Michael McAteer is poised to conclude a rehabilitation plan with Eircom’s creditors today, which it is hoped will allow the telco and its subsidiaries Meteor Mobile and Irish Telecommunications Investments to exit examinership as soon as possible.

Ireland, CK Hutchison, eir