Business Irish

Thursday 25 May 2017

NAMA pulls the plug on major property player Quinlan

Bad bank to sell nine properties as IOUs top €600m

Derek Quinlan outside his Claridges Hotel in London
Derek Quinlan outside his Claridges Hotel in London

Siobhan Creaton

Ireland's bad bank has pulled the plug on financier Derek Quinlan, appointing a receiver to sell nine properties he and his immediate family own to pay off their debts.

These include properties on Dublin's Shrewsbury Road and Ailesbury Road, an apartment in the Merrion Hotel, and investment properties on Raglan Road and Fitzwilliam Square. Mr Quinlan, his wife Siobhan and their family moved to Switzerland in 2009.

In a statement yesterday, the National Asset Management Agency (NAMA) said the receiver, Paul McDowell of auctioneers Knight Frank Ireland, was taking over these properties after Mr Quinlan and his family failed to present and agree an appropriate business plan to repay loans transferred from the banks to the agency.

Mr Quinlan is said to personally owe €600m, which includes €300m to Anglo Irish Bank.

Derrymore, his family home on Dublin's Shrewsbury Road, is already up for sale for €7.4m which is less than half the price of another house being offered for sale on the same road. The Quinlan's extensive home is a large five-bedroom semi-detached house with a swimming pool in the garden. He is believed to have purchased it in the mid-1990s for around €1.9m

He owns two further houses on the road bought at the height of the boom for a reported €27m.

He got permission to convert them into a 21,000sq ft mansion but it is unlikely this will ever go ahead. Those houses are estimated to be worth around €6m now.

Earlier this month NAMA forced the man who was one of Ireland's leading property investors to put a London skyscraper on the market to clear a €300m debt that he owes to the taxpayer.

Citigroup's Canada Square headquarters in Canary Wharf is said to be up for sale for more than €1bn.

Mr Quinlan owns the 45-storey building with British property investor Glenn Maud. They bought the tower from Royal Bank of Scotland in 2007 for €1.5bn when prices were at their peak.

Mr Quinlan personally invested more than €700m buying his share of the building, borrowing around €300m of this from Irish banks. These debts were transferred to NAMA last year.

The receiver will only deal with properties owned by the Quinlan family and will not work with Quinlan Private, the company he founded that invested billions for wealthy professionals and business figures since the 1990s.

At the height of the property boom it managed assets of more than €11bn for its wealthy clients.

Jurys

Quinlan Private's big investments included the purchase of the Jurys Inn hotel chain in 2007 for €1.1bn. It also joined an Israeli partner to buy the Marriot Hotel Group for €1bn the same year, and in 2006 it purchased Bank of Ireland's former head office in Dublin for more than €200m and Eircom's new headquarters for €190m.

The purchase of some of London's most upmarket hotels firmly put Mr Quinlan in the spotlight. His audacious bid for the Savoy Hotel Group, that included the Connaught, Berkeley and Claridges hotels, was astonishing.

In 2004 he managed to outbid Saudi Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal to pay more than €1bn for the group. It was headline news here and abroad. He was also an investor with Bernard McNamara in the Glass Bottle site in Dublin that they hoped to develop.

As his personal wealth swelled he was putting his own money as well as that of his clients into big deals. In 2008 he acquired a share of the Santander headquarters in Madrid for €1.9bn as well as offices in New York paying around €19m and invested in U2's Clarence Hotel in Dublin.

Mr Quinlan stepped down from this company in 2009 when he left Ireland.

A NAMA spokesman warned the agency's other debtors could face similar actions in the future. "If debtors are unrealistic or uncooperative in their dealings with NAMA, we won't hesitate to appoint receivers to protect the taxpayer's interests," he said.

In 2009 the Quinlan family quietly moved to Lausanne in Switzerland for "tax and personal reasons".

Irish Independent

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