Cannon Kirk owners to plough ahead with e1.6bn development
THE owners of property company Cannon Kirk are ploughing "full steam ahead" with their €1.6bn Coventry development even though the recession has wiped out 80pc of their main trading company's business.
Michael Cannon, who owns Cannon Kirk along with his brother Cathal and developer Owen Kirk, yesterday confirmed the massive Coventry development had secured planning permission in recent weeks and had financing in place.
"There's a lot left to do locally, and it'll probably be two or three years before anything happens on the site, but we're still going full steam ahead with it," he added.
The Coventry development, which includes 14 office buildings and two hotels as well as apartments, shops and restaurants, is being backed by the Cannon brothers and Mr Kirk personally and not their trading company Cannon Kirk.
New accounts for the company showed sales collapsed from almost €100m in the year to January 2008 to just over €20m in the year to January 2009.
The lower sales nudged Cannon Kirk to a loss of €3.5m for the year against profits of almost €8.3m a year earlier. Mr Cannon said the figures were likely to be "down" again for the year ended January 2010.
Asked whether the company had lost money again that year he replied: "I guess so, yes."
He stressed, however, that Cannon Kirk was beginning to see some upside in the UK and in its most recent market of Germany.
"The Irish situation will start to turn once Nama's bedded down and confidence returns," he added.
The new Cannon Kirk filings show all €62m of the company's bank borrowings fall due for renegotiation in 2010. Mr Cannon said those negotiations were "coming up soon" and the company was "confident" of securing a deal.
The developer acknowledged that the loans were likely to go into Nama even though they are being fully serviced. "No-one knows exactly how Nama's going to work, but I don't see it affecting us dramatically," he added.
Cannon Kirk's stocks at the end of 2009 almost doubled to €200m, a fact that Mr Cannon put down to acquisitions over the year. The company is currently selling residential developments in 'Aiken's Village' in Sandyford and 'Waterside' in Malahide, as well as a handful of UK projects.