Business Irish

Sunday 4 December 2016

NAMA tries to protect its position at builder Chieftain

Receiver to be appointed after transfer of loans from Anglo

Emmet Oliver Deputy Business Editor

Published 11/02/2011 | 05:00

NAMA has acquired loans to Chieftain by Anglo Irish Bank. Photo: Getty Images
NAMA has acquired loans to Chieftain by Anglo Irish Bank. Photo: Getty Images

NAMA has moved to protect its interests in the Chieftain Construction company, one of the biggest housebuilders in Munster, which also has interests overseas.

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Early in January Chieftain Construction went into voluntarily liquidation after a creditor's meeting was called, but NAMA has now decided to put in its own receiver into the company and related subsidiaries.

Notices are due to appear today appointing Gearoid Costelloe of Grant Thornton as a receiver for all the property and assets belonging to Chieftain.

NAMA is able to take this step after acquiring loans to Chieftain by Anglo Irish Bank.

NAMA has been stepping up its activity in recent weeks against developers and construction companies.

The latest quarterly report on its financial performance is due to be published shortly.

Chieftain is most associated with managing director and well-known yachtsman Ger O'Rourke.

The company was founded in 1992 and claims to have €2bn of construction projects under way, spread between the UK, the US, South Africa and Ireland.

According to its own website Chieftain has projects planned in Limerick, Cork and Wicklow. It has also been looking to buy development land in recent years as part of an expansion drive.

The company hit the headlines last year when it surrendered its landmark Chicago €75m apartment tower to private-equity venture ST Residential, led by Starwood Capital and TPG Capital.

Investors

Chieftain had raised more than €8m from 47 Irish investors and $84m (€69m) from US-based Corus Bank in 2006 to finance the construction of the 35-storey Lexington Park condominium tower near Chicago's main street, Michigan Avenue.

The site had previously been the location for the gangster Al Capone's headquarters during the Great Depression.

The 333-unit apartment tower was the city's "biggest condo tower to be taken over by its lender in the current housing crisis", according to the reputable local business magazine, 'Crain'.

Some Irish buyers were among those who had paid deposits on about 180 of the units and who had not closed their sales because construction work was not completed. Sales had been completed on only three units.

Irish Independent

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