Lagan Group, one of Northern Ireland's largest construction firms has announced it is pulling out of planned deal to purchase the former Quinn Roof Tiles business, citing the ongoing series of attacks and acts of intimidation against its owners Aventas Group and associated companies as the reason.
News that Lagan Group were in talks with the view to buying the business from Aventas Group, formerly Quinn Group, was announced in February of this year.
However, Lagan Group have now determined that a written death threat received by the firm's chairman, Kevin Lagan last week, on the same day as his wife died is a threat too far and have now informed Aventas they are pulling-out of any potential deal.
They have also issued a statement to the media, though no one from the company is available for comment directly.
In the letter, Lagan state that “No business can operate when criminal threats against operational decisions put employees, directors and their families at risk.”
Since former owner and local businessman Sean Quinn lost control of the Quinn Group three years ago there has been a persistent attacks on the group's companies and others with association to them.
Quinn Roof Tiles employs in the region of 17 people in Derrylin, and it was the second former Quinn-owned company both Lagan and Aventas had been in negotiations about, the first been in relation to joint venture between their respective cement businesses.
That too though was not proceeded with following an announcement made in February 2013, and shortly after Kevin Lagan again received a bullet in the post.
A short statement was issued from the Aventas Group today, Wednesday April 9, stating: “We note the statement from Lagan Cement and we can confirm that we have received notification from them of their intention not to proceed with the contract for sale of our roof tile business.
“The Lagan statement speaks for itself and needs no elaboration”, the statement to The Anglo-Celt read.
Lagan announcement not to proceed with the deal on Quinn Roof Tiles comes as the second major blow this month for the embattled border employer.
On April 1, Ceva International, a transport firm who had a deal with Aventas in respect of its haulage business announced it too would not be continuing with the agreement.
CEVA's business premises in the Waterfront Business Park in Little Island, Cork, was subject to a ram attack, similar to those which have taken place along the border and affected Aventas operations in recent months.
The petrol-bomb ram raid on the CEVA business premises on the outskirts of the city saw a Transit van was driven at speed through the gates of the CEVA Commercial unit. Gardaí and several units of the Cork City fire brigade were called to attend the scene where the found the crash vehicle ablaze in the yard area to the front of the unit.
A full copy of the Lagan Group statement can be seen below:
“No business can operate when criminal threats against operational decisions put employees, directors and their families at risk.”
A spokesperson for the Lagan Group confirmed today 10th April 2014 that the company has decided not to proceed with the purchase of the Aventas Rooftiles business in Fermanagh.
The spokesperson said “Over the past number of months we have been engaging with the local workforce and management to secure a stable and sustainable future for the employees in the former Sean Quinn Rooftiles business now owned by Aventas.
“During this time various parts of the Lagan Group (and indeed businesses not connected to the Group) have sustained a series of criminal attacks on property and plant causing substantial financial damage. These were executed with the sole purpose of creating a toxic atmosphere of fear and intimidation in order to illegally dissuade potential investment and investors into the area.
“We have repeatedly said that it was only a matter of time before such attacks switched their focus from property and plant to people. Last week on the day his wife died, Mr Kevin Lagan, Chairman of the Lagan Group, received a letter containing a threat that should the Rooftiles business sale proceed, the purchasers “would not live to see the benefits of the sale”.
“No business can be expected to operate under such duress when normal operational decisions could result in putting employees, directors and their families at personal risk.
Notwithstanding our desire to grow and invest in the Fermanagh Rooftiles operations in order to support local communities through the maintenance of existing jobs and the creation of new jobs, we have decided to withdraw from the purchase process. We have informed the Aventas management team of our decision.
This is a sad day for both the employees and for the local communities. It also sends out completely the wrong message to potential investors, both regionally and internationally.”