By Rhys Handley, Thursday 14 March 2019
The owners of PPG Print Services will appear in court this month to address a winding-up petition submitted due to a “contested debt”.
A petition to wind up was submitted to the High Court of Justice on 5 March by Berkshire-based Matoria Equipment, with a hearing set to take place at 10.30am next Wednesday (20 March) at the Rolls Building in London.
Consumables supplier Matoria filed the petition in relation to an unpaid debt over the supply of printing plates.
PPG Print Services was incorporated in 2017 when its Portsmouth-based predecessor PPG Print was sold in a pre-pack to Diarmuid Foghlu and Robert Gooch. Still registered as an active company, PPG Print Services has reportedly been closed since January this year.
PrintWeek understands that employees at the business have not been paid since November 2018. Foghlu claimed that the winding-up petition has “caused a delay” in processing staff redundancy claims and that the company would have entered a creditor voluntary liquidation process if it were not for Matoria’s action.
Foghlu said PPG Print Services had withheld payment to Matoria over a separate dispute relating to faulty plates supplied in December 2017.
“The situation that led to this is a debt that we dispute,” Foghlu said. “We cannot stop them from processing this petition, but the matter would have been handled by us.
“PPG failed because of a chain of events that arose from our purchase of FM Print, where the previous owners had been involved in a tax avoidance scheme and it had a domino effect onto our other businesses.”
Foghlu and Gooch have run a number of print firms through their holding company Amalgamated Holdings. It acquired FM Print in Basingstoke for £400,000 in March 2017 and, according to a previous statement from Foghlu, due diligence indicated “minimal risk” to the new owners if HMRC challenged FM on the scheme.
Foghlu said an unexpected change in the Finance Act that enabled HMRC to demand £705,000 from FM Print had crippled the company and led to its shutdown. This subsequently led to the administration of the pair’s other acquisition Kairos Print Services in April 2018.
In the fallout of the folding of FM Print, Foghlu told PrintWeek that Amalgamated Holdings has ceased to trade all of its businesses and had “withdrawn completely from the print industry”.
Both Foghlu and Gooch are currently registered as directors of the active Buckingham company Meerkat Distribution, trading as direct mail operation Meerkat Direct. Its services are listed on its website to include “repro and proofing, printing, digital printing, finishing” and more.
Foghlu claimed that Amalgamated Holdings acquired Meerkat 10 years ago before selling its units off in 2017 to acquire FM Print and that it is now a “shell company”.