Sunday 24 September 2017

McKillen in attack on NAMA after hotel deal

Siobhan Creaton

RECLUSIVE property developer Paddy McKillen says NAMA will lose billions because it lacks the skills to manage valuable assets.

Speaking to the Irish Independent through his spokeswoman, he says NAMA should be dismantled as it has been making "bad deals" for Irish taxpayers.



His criticisms come at a time when NAMA is being reviewed, with changes expected to be made to its board.



Mr McKillen has been known to refer to Nama's chairman Frank Daly as a "custom's man" because of his long career at the Revenue. And as the agency's chief executive, Brendan McDonagh, is a career civil servant, Mr McKillen believes neither have the skills or experience to run the bad bank.



NAMA insists it is highly regarded as an asset-management company.



Mr McKillen has found all of his dealings with NAMA frustrating and has now accused it of "facilitating a hostile takeover" of London's top hotels. This could damage his investments.



Yesterday, his lawyers started a legal action in London's High Court against 'Daily Telegraph' owners Frederick and David Barclay and a number of their associated companies.



His spokeswoman said he was taking the case to "protect his shareholding".



This case was triggered when NAMA sold €800m worth of loans attached to Claridges, the Connaught and the Berkeley hotels to the Barclays, two weeks ago.



The hotels are part of the Maybourne group and Mr McKillen is its biggest shareholder. He owns 37pc of this company.



The Barclays own 28pc and have been trying to take control of it.



The Barclays paid €800m to the agency for the loan, which NAMA says returned a profit and was a good result for the taxpayer.



Mr McKillen said the deal showed the lack of experience at the top of Ireland's bad bank when it came to managing valuable property assets.



These loans are unlike those attached to hotels in places like Donegal and Kerry, he says, where the properties are now worth far less than the loans and their business prospects are uncertain.



These are loans made to some of the world's top hotels that are trading strongly, he claims.



"They are not hotels, they are institutions. These properties only come on the market once in a lifetime," he said.



As the Barclays now own 90pc of the company's loans, Mr McKillen fears NAMA has given them the opportunity to squeeze him out and make a killing.



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