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Scarvagh House seeking arrangement to pay debts

THE parent company of Scarvagh House Stud, which shut down as a commercial breeding venture and stallion station last November, has appointed David Rubin & Partners, a London firm specialising in business turnaround and rescue, to help it meet its debt obligations, according to a report in the Irish Field.

Alfred Buller Bloodstock Limited is seeking a voluntary arrangement with its 67 individual creditors, including the Irish Equine Centre, Juddmonte Farms and Down Royal and Punchestown racecourses.

Under the terms the company has proposed in a letter to its creditors, itwould make minimum quarterly contributions of £30,000 for the first six months of a two-year period, followed by minimum quarterly contributions of £45,000 for the remaining 18 months.

However, if the voluntary arrangement is not approved, the company will go into liquidation. In this case, unsecured creditors would get back less than two per cent of the money owed them. A meeting to determine whether that happens is set for February 12.

Alfred Buller Bloodstock Limited was formed in 1984 when it established Scarvagh House Stud in County Down, Northern Ireland, according to the letter sent to its creditors. In the last decade, it accumulated heavy legal fees on top of operating costs.

Unhappy with the lack of breeders' prizes and other incentives, such as those available in the rest of the United Kingdom, for breeders in Northern Ireland, the company took legal action against the Levy Board and the Thoroughbred Breeders' Association, eventually taking the case to the European Court of Justice.

Subsequently, in 2003, it set up an arm in Sandley Stud in Dorset. The operation turned out not to be commercially viable. By early 2007, burdened with loans from two companies worth £18.7 million, Scarvagh House shut down the Dorset stud.

Last November, as the economy continued its downward spiral, Scarvagh House announced it was dispersing its eight stallions, including Desert King, Helissio and Generous, and would cease to operate as a commercial stud.




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