360networks creditors sue Nortel

10 Jan 2003

Unsecured creditors of the troubled Canadian data centre firm 360networks are to sue comms giant Nortel Networks to recover US$101.1m.

The suit is to recover transfers made to Nortel within 90 days before a June 2001 bankruptcy filing by 360networks.

Under US bankruptcy laws, payments made to creditors outside the ordinary course of business may be recovered and distributed pro rata to all creditors holding claims against the company, lawyers for the creditors say.

In November, 360networks emerged from Chapter 11 protection following a restructuring process, emerging with more than US$100m in cash and US$215m of bank debt.

The company hit the headlines in Ireland in July 2001 when the High Court granted an order for the winding up of 360networks (Ireland) Ltd, which opened a cable network station in Clonshaugh, Co Dublin, to connect with North America and Europe.

The winding up petitions were brought by the building contractor firm John Sisk and Company, which was owed some €7.62m. Of that sum, some €4.9m was due to sub contractors including Rotary M and E Services and 360 Atlantic Ireland.

Sisk and the contractors built a data centre at Clonshaugh that was capable of handling more than 25 million phone calls simultaneously over fibre-optic links. Work began in September 2000 with a target completion date of April 2001.

The contract price was originally estimated at some €4m, but it was estimated that final costs would be over €12m.

360networks was just one out of over 10 data centres, including CityReach, GTS and Metromedia, that have cancelled the construction of expensive data centres in Dublin after the collapse of the dotcom bubble and the simultaneous crash of the global telecoms market.

By John Kennedy