Sunday 26 March 2017

Millennium Park owners aim to save taxpayer money with sale

development

Donal O'Donovan

Donal O'Donovan

THE owners of the Millennium Park industrial and retail estate in Naas, Co Kildare, say they are working with NAMA in an effort to recover money for taxpayers.

Accounts filed with the Companies Office showed that Oberstown Developments was sitting on losses of €285m and had debts of €300m after writing down the value of its property.

The company was behind one of the biggest property deals of the boom when it paid €315m for the 400-acre Millennium Park. The deal was backed by loans from AIB, EBS and Irish Nationwide that are now in NAMA.

Yesterday Gerry Prendergast, one of the three directors of the company, told the Irish Independent that it was partially servicing some NAMA loans and trying to sell property to start clearing its debt.

The NAMA loans were secured by a mortgage on 331 acres of land and 61,305 square feet of office space at Millennium Park and a guarantee of €129.3m from directors Tom Considine, Patrick Sweeney and Gerry Prendergast.

Accounts for the year to the end of May 2010 showed that the company had written the value of its property down to just €38m, based on a valuation by real estate agents CBRE at the end of 2009.

Mr Prendergast told the Irish Independent that the property values were at levels where there was a realistic prospect of selling factory development sites to foreign investors.

Mr Prendergast said the Naas business park was well placed to serve new foreign direct investment that can be attracted to Ireland and that bringing in investors was the best hope of a recovery.

Talks

The company had been in talks with a number of companies over the past 12 months, he said.

If a new sale of lease could be agreed NAMA would have the final say on whether a deal could go ahead, he said.

He added that there was no realistic chance of the company directors recovering any value form the deal.

"The ethics of what we are doing is to get NAMA -- the taxpayer -- back its money, then the banks and the chances of us getting any money back is zero," he said.

Oberstown was using income from tenants and from management fees to partially service some of its NAMA loans, Mr Prendergast said. He said the business was managing with a skeleton staff and that he was able to take a modest salary out of the business.

The company has been through the process of preparing a new business plan for NAMA and is now at the information stage -- and hoping to sign off on a consensual work out deal for the loans.

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