Ireland’s Target Express ceases trading

Posted on 29th August 2012 By Charlotte Haye

Target Express, one of the largest privately owned hauliers in Ireland and Northern Ireland, has ceased trading.

College Freight Services (N.I), which trades as Target Express, was set up by directors Seamus and Ann McBrien in 1988, trading from a site in Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh.

An Irish arm, College Freight Limited, was established in 1997 at Damastown Business Park, Dublin.

Seamus told Ireland’s NewsTalk radio that Target Express’s fate had been sealed last week (23 August), when Ireland’s Revenue froze the companies bank account due to an unpaid debt.

Seamus claimed that the €50m turnover (£39.7m) company had paid around €1m to the Revenue in the past six to eight weeks. He added the profitable company had essentially been forced to cease trading over an outstanding €80,000 debt and “no leeway” from the Revenue. He also claimed the business would have been “all clear” by the end of September.

A Revenue spokeswoman says it can’t comment on individual cases, but adds: “We want to help viable businesses and taxpayers who want to pay their taxes but can’t in the short term. We can, and do, put alternative payment arrangements in place to help such customers through difficult periods.

“But businesses and individuals must engage with us at the earliest possible opportunity and this engagement must be realistic. Revenue is not a lender of last resort and we have a duty to ensure that all our customers operate on a level playing field and all tax due is paid.”

Target Express had 12 depots, four of which were in the UK, and employed close to 400 people – 300 in Ireland and 100 in the UK.

The company had sites in Telford and Manchester, with combined O-licence authorisations for 14 vehicles and seven trailers.

Annual turnover for College Freight Services (N.I) in the year ended 31 December 2010 was £13.3m (up 9.1%), with pre-tax profit down 41.6% year-on-year at £28,242.

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