More than 100 farmers and mart directors across Ireland gathered in Athlone last night for an update on TLT International, one of the country’s largest live cattle exporters, which went into receivership.

Mullingar-based TLT, owned by the Garavelli family, went into receivership last week when its main banker HSBC pulled the plug on credit to the company. Grant Thornton’s Gearoid Costelloe was appointed receiver to the business and was also present at last night’s meeting. The meeting was not open to the media.

Speaking to AgriLand afterwards, IFA president John Byran said there was a substantial amount of money owed to individual farmers and some 30 marts across the country. He said an individual farmer at the meeting pointed out that he was owed in the region of €25k.

“There’s money outstanding in Italy for what was purchased in marts in Ireland and delivered to Italy. We feel the money for these cattle has to go to farmers,” he stressed. “Certainty a lot of the cattle were purchased through marts by TLT and the terms and conditions in those marts are that the stock remain the property of the mart,” he added, and noted “because the debt is in Italy, it is more complicated”.

According to the IFA livestock chairman, Henry Burns, farmers and marts are looking for payments for live cattle. “They see themselves as first in the queue. They believe once the cattle are still alive and unpaid for as far as they are concerned they still own them.

“It is clear the actions of the bank, the receiver here and the Garavalies, they need to knock heads together. If they want to get this company up and running again,” he added.

Also at the meeting was Irish Co-Operative Society’s mart chairman Michael Spellman. Speaking afterwards he stressed that, in his opinion, it was not yet known the definite number of marts affected, but said marts on the western seaboard and the midlands were more exposed by the very nature of where TLT did business.

He implored farmers to have confidence in buying and selling at the start of sales over the weekend.  “It is business as usual,” he said. “Farmers need not fear. There is demand for stock out there.”

According to Grant Thornton, it is proactively contacting all Mullingar-based TLT’s creditors, farming organisations and suppliers of affected marts to gain a full understanding of all stakeholders’ positions. AgriLand understands Grant Thornton will provide an update early next week.

Pictured TLT International at Knockdrin, Mullingar, Co Westmeath on Monday/Photo Jeff Harvey

Additional reporting Cormac Farrelly and Lisa Deeney

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