The European Union has approved the takeover of iconic Irish department store Arnotts by its banks.

State-owned Anglo Irish Bank and Ulster Bank – which is owned by the Royal Bank of Scotland – have taken control following a restructuring which began in February when the banks drafted in specialists Palladin Capital Group to decide the future of the business.

In a joint statement, the banks said that a board meeting would be held “shortly” at which time it is expected that Mark Schwartz, Palladin Capital Group chief executive, will be appointed to oversee the management of the business.

It is unclear whether current management, headed up by chief executive David Riddiford, will remain at the retailer.

The banks reiterated their commitment to the retailer: “[The banks] will not be involved in the management of the company but are taking the necessary steps to ensure that the company will be run by experienced professionals in the best long term interests of the staff, suppliers and importantly, its customers.”

The statement continued: “Mr. Schwartz and his team have been working closely with the banks and the company for the last five months.  They have a strong track record in leading retail organisations and will bring the right management and operational skills to the development and growth of this iconic business.”

Schwartz said:  “While there has been understandable concern in recent days about the future of Arnotts, I wish to reassure our staff, suppliers and customers that this great institution will continue to play a leading role in the Irish retail market. 

“I appreciate the support received from the banks.  They understand that our job is to focus on the future and build on what already has been achieved in creating a dynamic retail organization anchoring Henry Street. 

“Arnotts is a tremendous business and we need to continue to enhance the shopping experience for our longstanding customers.  Our goal is to focus on the future, work closely with our strong staff and our suppliers, and create the conditions which will enable Arnotts to thrive for many years to come.”