Saturday 10 December 2016

Legal action is likely as NAMA sends in receivers

Grehan's attempts to sell on debt to private sector players fail to convince State loan agency

Emmet Oliver Deputy Business Editor

Published 04/05/2011 | 05:00

Ray Grehan of Glenkerrin Homes at the Grange development, one of the schemes which NAMA was scheduled to seize
Ray Grehan of Glenkerrin Homes at the Grange development, one of the schemes which NAMA was scheduled to seize

LEGAL action is expected to result from NAMA's decision to reappoint receivers to Ray Grehan's Glenkerrin property empire last night after last minute attempts to stop the process failed.

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The Irish assets of Grehan were placed into receivership by NAMA for the second time after attempts by the developer to refinance his €650m of loans with interested parties failed to convince the state loans agency.

Grehan has three bidders for his debts it is understood, but NAMA experts were sceptical of the plans and the receivership goes ahead.

Grant Thornton, the insolvency specialists, took charge of a range of Grehan assets last night, with Michael McAteer and Paul McCann, the Quinn Insurance administrators, winning the high profile contract.

The Irish Independent understands the agency became worried last week that it had not given Grehan a "reasonable'' time between when it sent him a demand letter and appointed the receivers.

As a result the receivers were stood down over the weekend. Under UK insolvency practice, a borrower has to be given a set time period between when the demand letter is sent and a receiver (administrator) appointed.

Grehan was believed to be talking to the Dublin investment house Incisive Capital Management about a refinancing deal, but NAMA was determined to follow through on its original decision taken last week to put the firm into receivership.

Grehan, the man who bought the most expensive site in Ireland during the boom, has been in talks for several weeks with interested buyers. Some have been interested in refinancing his loans, with others simply wanting to purchase assets he owns, particularly in the UK.

A separate application by NAMA will now have to be made in the UK, most likely next week. Grehan has the option to challenge this application.

Last week Grehan expressed shock and bafflement that NAMA moved against him, as he'd signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the agency.

Mr Grehan was a top 20 developer and tried at the tail end of the property boom to boost the market by providing interest-free loans to buyers.

Mr Grehan hit the headlines in 2005 when he paid €171.5m for the two-acre former UCD veterinary college site.

This worked out at €85.75m an acre, the most paid by any developer for land in the city. The site is now operated as a car park and is valued at about €40m.

Among the assets NAMA was scheduled to seize was the Grange apartment complex in Stillorgan; the former UCD site in Dublin 4; the Glenroyal Hotel in Maynooth; and a residential project near Liffey Valley, called St Edmunds.

AIB was the bank that backed the project, though Mr Grehan has also taken loans from Bank of Ireland over the years.

It is understood that NAMA wanted a non-executive director, banker Harry Slowey, at Glenkerrin over recent months, but this appears to have caused some tension between the two sides.

In recent weeks NAMA and Mr Grehan were also working on issues relating to the security underlying some of his loans.

NAMA has stepped up its enforcement activities in recent weeks, seizing assets from Jim Mansfield, Derek Quinlan and Paddy Kelly. Further enforcement action is also expected against at least five other developers.

Irish Independent

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