Business Irish

Friday 19 September 2014

Lone Star rides in for IBRC, NAMA loan deals

Published 24/01/2014 | 02:30

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John Grayken, founder and chairman of Lone Star
John Grayken, founder and chairman of Lone Star

LOANS linked to Hickey's Pharmacies and Fields Jewellers could be handed over to US private equity firm Lone Star as early as next month.

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The Dallas-based investment group has been confirmed as the successful bidder for loans that make up "Tranche 14" of an IBRC loan portfolio known as Project Evergreen.

The tranche, or subset of loans, includes the Hickey's Pharmacies's and Fields Jewellers's loans.

The same buyer has also snapped up a portfolio of loans known as Project Holly from NAMA which is secured on offices, hotels and land in Dublin and Meath with an original value of €373m.

Lone Star is paying €220m for Project Holly, a 41pc discount, according to financial news website CoStar.

Major assets in Project Holly include office blocks and a hotel at City North in Dublin's Gormanstown and the 210,000 square foot Iveagh Court Complex in Dublin 2.

NAMA would not confirm or deny the sale.

The sale of the IBRC loans, meanwhile, awaits the approval of a Delaware bankruptcy court.

Liquidators will seek formal approval from the court to sell Tranche 14 to Lone Star at a February 14 hearing.

The court date is understood to be procedural and not likely to produce any stumbling block to the deal.

IBRC previously agreed to seek US court approval for sales of any loans where the underlying properties are located in the US, the borrowers are US residents, or the guarantors are from the US, when it applied for US bankruptcy protection last year.

The "Tranche 14" subset of loans includes loans attached to about 37 different borrowers, and is part of Project Evergreen's total portfolio of commercial and business loans.

So far 13 of those "borrower connections" have been packaged to be sold individually – 10 have been sold while three are set to transfer into NAMA.

WEALTH

The remainder were grouped into Tranche 14 and are being sold in one bundle to Lone Star.

Evergreen has a par value of approximately €2.5bn.

Lone Star's investors include corporate and public pension funds, sovereign wealth funds, university endowments, foundations and wealthy individuals. It was founded in 1995 by Harvard Business School alumni John Grayken.

Since its founding the firm has bought more than $85bn (€62bn) worth of mortgage-related distressed assets.

Irish Independent

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