Tuesday 19 September 2017

McNamara faces fresh pressure over fate of Radora €20m

Bernard McNamara
Bernard McNamara

Siobhan Creaton

Bernard McNamara is expected to face fresh pressure from creditors this week when insurer Friends First asks the High Court to wind up Radora Developments, which developed the Elm Park office and apartment complex in south Dublin.

Meanwhile, the receiver appointed to his construction company, Michael McNamara, is also expected to move to seek the repayment of loans made by this company to others controlled by Mr McNamara.

Last week, the National Asset Management Agency (NAMA) used its powers to put the Michael McNamara company into receivership as part of its efforts to recover the billions owed to Irish banks.

A number of other big developers who owe millions to the banks could also face the same fate in the coming months.

The legal actions come as NAMA works its way through business plans submitted by the big property developers, to figure out which parts of their operations may be viable and which should be shut down.

The agency has an 80-strong team -- including insolvency experts -- that has been working with the cash-strapped developers to work out how it can get them to repay the maximum amount of money owed.

The writing was on the wall for Michael McNamara Construction from last Wednesday when NAMA rejected its business plan and went to court to have a receiver appointed.

On Thursday, Farrell Grant Sparks was appointed to take control of the business. It has shut down the company's sites, laid off half of its 110 staff, and the receiver will shortly put the company's assets on the market.

That company owes more than €20m to creditors and subcontractors. It had made profits of €6m in the previous six months and had not been seeking funding from NAMA to continue its work.

But it was the debts owed by other companies controlled by McNamara that prompted NAMA to seek to wind the company up.

It took the view that there was no prospect of these debts being paid and that this undermined the viability of the construction company.

Receiver

The receiver is now expected to move against some of McNamara's other companies as part of its efforts to deal with the €1.5bn in debts he personally owes to Irish banks.

The agency has extensive powers and can force developers to sell their assets to realise as much cash as possible from a liquidation process.

NAMA is slowly working through the process of evaluating the business plans prepared by Ireland's top 10 developers after their loans were transferred to the agency last March. It works with the developers to develop a blueprint they must follow to fully discharge their debts. So far, it has approved less than a handful of these business plans.

In recent months NAMA has been taking decisions on asset disposals and other debt repayments for those who are awaiting final approval for how they should proceed.

Already, properties in Ireland and the UK valued at more than €500m are being put on the market with more expected to be released before the end of this year.

Irish Independent

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