Monday 26 September 2016

O'Flynn eyes Dublin purchases after missing out on Project Clear

Published 13/12/2015 | 02:30

Developer Michael O'Flynn
Developer Michael O'Flynn

Developer Michael O'Flynn is turning his gaze to Dublin land-buys, as he seeks to construct 10,000 houses over the next decade.

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The plan is focused on the Dublin and Cork areas and the developer currently has enough land to construct 5,000 houses, with most of those in Cork.

O'Flynn missed out on Ulster Bank's Project Clear - a loan portfolio secured on land located mainly in Dublin - to listed housebuilder Cairn Homes and private equity firm Lone Star earlier this week.

The developer has secured a total of €400m in financial backing from American investment house Avenue and AIB. He recently told the Irish Independent that this was a "starting point" in the process of completing the 10,000 homes project, which would cost significantly more.

The project is part of the relaunch of the O'Flynn Construction Group after the resolution of the developer's bitter and high-profile dispute with private equity giant Blackstone.

In a recent interview with the Sunday Independent he said the Irish house-building project would be his primary focus going forward. O'Flynn also has a presence in the UK.

O'Flynn is part of a group of developers that have teamed up to take a legal challenge against a Nama funding programme that the agency said aims to deliver 20,000 homes in the capital and elsewhere.

Last week the Sunday Independent reported that O'Flynn, Paddy McKillen, David Daly, New Generation Homes CEO Patrick Crean and MKN Group director Brian McKeown have asked the European Commission's competition directorate to investigate Ireland's provision of funding for property development through Nama, claiming that it may be in breach of the European Union's state aid rules.

"The Nama scheme favours Nama and Nama-supported developers over non-supported developers," the group said.

They said the plan constituted a "misapplication of [the] State aid" which was approved for Nama following its establishment.

When originally approving Nama's establishment, the Commission said that though the scheme did amount to State aid, it would be permitted on the basis that it was necessary "to restore stability to the Irish banking system in the context of the financial crisis".

The developers said: "The [original] Nama decision was concerned with the granting of State aid to the participating financial institutions [banks], not the granting of State aid to Nama and Nama-supported developers, which is the subject of this complaint."

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