The wind down of the company’s plants in Cork, Arklow and Belfast will begin immediately and it is hoped “that it may be possible for the liquidator to sell significant elements of IFI’s business,” the company said.
The company lost euro 30 million in the year to September 2002 and further losses were predicted for the coming year.
“The Board has been left with no alternative to this course of action as a result of the ongoing difficulties the company is facing in maintaining its economic viability in a very difficult market environment for fertilizer products,” a statement said
IFI is a joint venture between ICI (49 percent) and NET (51 percent), established in 1987. NET is a 100 percent state-owned fertilizer company.
IFI supplies about 40 percent of the Irish market and holds a 4 percent share of the total European market.
Tanaiste Mary Harney said she is “extremely disappointed” that it had not been possible to find a solution to the company’s severe financial difficulties. She said she had made it clear to the company that the government could only contemplate investing more money “in the context of a viable business plan.”
“I regret very much that despite the very considerable efforts of the company in that regard, that it has not been possible to produce such a plan,” she said.
ICI and the Irish government had sought “expressions of interest” in the company in recent months but it failed to identify anybody prepared to invest in IFI.
Harney said nearly euro 750 million in present day values had been invested by the government in NET and then IFI since 1961.
IFI said that large borrowings were needed to continue to fund day-to-day operations.
“These borrowings are on top of the