Friday 24 October 2014

Mulryan's Ballymore back in profit, set to exit Nama

Published 29/08/2014 | 02:30

Sean Mulryan

Sean Mulryan's Ballymore Group is back in profit for the first time since the crash. The Irish construction group is now on course to exit Nama by the end of the financial year with its loans paid off in full.

The group has repaid €1bn to Nama and other lenders since the downturn and is back building in Ireland after focusing on London during the crash at home.

The group generated a profit after interest and tax in the year to the end of March of €43.2m - its first profit since 2008, according to the latest set of accounts.

That was primarily driven by a 73pc increase in turnover.

"Ballymore has come through a very difficult period in our 35 year history. It is a cyclical business. However, the last downturn was no ordinary trading cycle. Ballymore restructured immediately and implemented a business plan in conjunction with Nama and our other financial institutions such as Ulster Bank," Paul Keogh, Ballymore's chief operating officer, told the Irish Independent.

He said the business is on course to have fully paid off its debts, including to taxpayers through Nama, by the end of the current financial year.

"Ballymore expects to have paid back its full par debt in the current financial year and looks forward to capitalising on its strengths in the London market as well as building significant numbers of family homes in Ireland in the future," he said.

In 2012 Ballymore struck a deal with Nama setting out how it would repay debts owed to the bad bank.

The company is understood to have met its cash realisation target with the agency during the past year - including from proceeds of a number of high-profile asset sales.

In London that included the sale of the 40 acre Royal Wharf site at the Royal Docks, close the Canary Wharf business district, for £200m (€250m) to Oxley Holdings Limited, a Singapore based property developer.

Ballymore also sold the historic Spitalfields Market on the edge of the City of London for £105m.

Closer to home, the revival in demand for family homes in the greater Dublin area has seen Ballymore return to the Irish home building sector.

The group is currently building around 750 new homes at four sites in and around the capital at College Square in Terenure, Portmarnock and Royal Canal Park - all in Dublin - and at Pipers Hill near Naas, Co Kildare.

It has hired Lazard and CBRE to raise almost €2.5bn to fund its Nine Elms development in London.

Irish Independent

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