independent

Thursday 17 April 2014

Hot property linked to toxic loans

Jewels of the Celtic Tiger era fall into taxpayers' hands

The iconic Battersea Power Station in London

NAMA is set to take over some of the most expensive buildings ever purchased in Ireland from today, after the first tranche of loans were moved into the toxic-loans agency.

While NAMA doesn't accept buildings and land directly, the loans being transferred into the agency are secured on tracts of land and assets accumulated by some of the country's most high-profile developers.

Irish Nationwide, in particular, is a major lender to some of Ireland's best-known developers, including Sean Mulryan, Liam Carroll and Gerry Gannon.

Yesterday, loans from EBS and Irish Nationwide went into NAMA, and Bank of Ireland will shortly follow. Once these assets are transferred, major exposures linked to AIB and Anglo Irish will follow.

This will leave NAMA holding charges over buildings from the Dundrum Town Centre to the Ritz Carlton Hotel, to the Irish Glass Bottle site.

NAMA's purpose is to purchase any property and development loan over €5m. In the case of Irish Nationwide and Anglo Irish Bank, loans worth less than €5m are being bought. All will be moved within months.

Foreign lenders often have a portion of the loans used to finance major developments, so it is not clear at this stage precisely how they will react to working with NAMA.



Properties

With loans from Irish Nationwide to some of Ireland's most prominent developers already in state hands, NAMA's planners yesterday hinted that a large portion of the top 100 borrowers the agency is dealing with have Anglo Irish debts.

The agency is offering zero consideration for some loans, where there are issues over security. This is believed to include loans advanced by AIB to developer Liam Carroll.

Some of the biggest NAMA-bound loans belong to developer Sean Mulryan, who owns a giant land bank in east London.

Also going into NAMA are land banks and assets owned by Treasury Holdings, founded by Johnny Ronan and Richard Barrett. Their most well known asset is the Battersea power station in London.

Gerry Gannon, a developer based mainly in north Co Dublin, is also likely to have loans put into NAMA. His most prominent asset is a 50pc share in the K Club, where Dr Michael Smurfit is also a shareholder.

Another developer who owns well known assets is Paddy McKillen, who is a significant borrower with Anglo Irish Bank and Irish Nationwide via his various firms. He has stakes in the Powerscourt Centre in Dublin and the Jervis Street shopping Centre and London's Maybourne Hotel.

Another developer battling his way through the recession is Derek Quinlan. The former tax inspector sensationally quit Ireland for Switzerland last year after parting ways with the company he founded, Quinlan Private. That partnership claims to have €10bn under management and is determined to continue on without Quinlan.

Even fashionable hotels are likely to end up in NAMA when loans from developer Gerry Barrett are inserted into NAMA.

The former school teacher has won plaudits for his glamourous hotels like the G in Galway, but some of his companies are sitting on large losses.

Mr Barrett is pressing on with the redevelopment of Ceannt Station in Galway, and owns Ashford Castle in Cong, Mayo.

Irish Independent

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