Bondi takes Parmalat battle to Ireland

Enrico Bondi’s battle to be Parmalat’s worldwide special administrator was widened last week to Ireland, where he went head-to-head with the Bank of America’s lawyers Linklaters and Sidley Austin Brown & Wood.

Bank of America is fighting for the liquidation of Parmalat’s Irish company, Eurofood IFSC, to be handled in Ireland.

Weil Gotshal & Manges in London and Linklaters’ Italian ally Gianni Origoni & Partners instructed Dublin firm Eugene F Collins to fight its corner in the three-day hearing last week at Dublins’ High Court.

Bank of America, which applied successfully in January for the appointment of provisional liquidators, accountants Farrell Grant Sparks, is seeking to replace it with a full-time ‘official’ liquidator.
Judgment was reserved.

An Italian court has already upheld Bondi’s application for Eurofood’s liquidation to be handled in Italy. It ruled that Eurofood was ultimately controlled by the dairy company’s Italian headquarters and therefore should be administered there.

But Bank of America claims that tax, administration and regulatory matters relating to Eurofood were handled in Ireland, and thus it is the proper place for its administration.

Either way, the final decision will rest on application of European insolvency law. This states that insolvencies should be handled in the company’s “centre of main interest”. This may be the place where the company is registered.

Tom O’Grady, a partner at Dublin firm Matheson Ormsby Prentice, is acting for the provisional liquidators. He replaced Eurofood’s long-term advisers, Dublin firm McCann FitzGerald.

McCann’s partner, Ambrose Loughlin, was a non–executive director of Eurofood (The Lawyer, 9 February).