Sunday 24 September 2017

Carroll empire being sold for 90% less than its €2bn heyday

Pimco close to snapping up empire for €140m

Ex-developer Liam Carroll
Ex-developer Liam Carroll

Tom Lyons

Pimco, the world's largest bond investor with $2trn (€1.5trn) of assets under management, is poised to snap-up Liam Carroll's property empire, which was once valued at €2bn, at a discount of around 90 per cent.

The Sunday Independent has learnt that Pimco, whose commercial property arm in Europe is led by Laurent Luccioni, is the highest bidder for the 'Ulysses' portfolio of 25 property investments, mainly in central Dublin.

The properties were put on the market for €140m and Pimco is understood to have bid more than this. Luccioni did not return calls for comment on Friday.

Twenty-four of the assets up for sale were formerly owned by Carroll's investment vehicle Danninger, with borrowings from Bank of Scotland (Ireland).

The portfolio was put up for sale in August by their receiver EY who appointed Jones Lang LaSalle to handle their sell-off.

The buildings are concentrated within Dublin 1 and 7 with the remainder in Dublin 2, 4, 8 and 20 – so the deal, if it completes, will make Pimco one of the biggest players in the capital's property scene at a stroke.

In total the buildings encompass 546,000sq ft including 51 retail units, 14 offices and 31 apartments.

The indicative sale price would give any purchaser an income yield of a healthy 9.53 per cent.

The only building put up for sale, not owned by Carroll, is the Department of Justice and Equality at 94 St Stephen's Green. This property was owned by businessman James E Cormican and his wife, Helen before BoSI appointed a receiver to it.

Among the diverse assets formerly owned by Carroll are King's Inn House, a multi-let office building on Parnell Street and Chapter House, a 78,000sq ft office block let to the OPW. Also on the block is the Millennium Walkway Complex, a development of offices, retail and apartments in North Dublin near the Jervis Centre.

Low-profile Carroll was Ireland's property Mr Big during his 25 years in business when he built an incredible 8,853 homes; 2.9 million sq ft of office space; almost 1 million sq ft of retail space as well as hotels and warehouses.

He rarely sold properties and in his final years in business was involved in two stock exchange battles for Dunloe Ewart and the Jurys Doyle Hotel Group.

Carroll's total debts to Irish and foreign banks was about €2.8bn when the crash came. His companies owed AIB alone €1.1bn.

Meanwhile international investors are now focused on the £4.8bn (€5.7bn) sale by KPMG, the liquidator of IBRC, of commercial real estate loans in the UK, Germany and Northern Ireland, code-named Project Rock.

KPMG is understood to have split this book into five separate commercial property portfolios and 11 individual assets sales. The largest of these five portfolio sales is made up of 450 properties in the UK and Germany with borrowings of £1.35bn.

Included in the 11 sales are four British hotel chains and three leisure/fitness groups.

Sunday Independent

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