Quinn Group helicopter facing the chop
Published 13/08/2010 | 05:00
THE Quinn Group is in negotiations to sell the luxury chopper which has flown its executives around the globe for close to a decade.
The group last night declined to comment on the sale, but sources confirmed the Agusta 109 helicopter was "on the market".
Founder Sean Quinn was one of the pioneers of Ireland's helicopter class, with a profile describing a chopper as his one luxury as far back as 1995.
The Agusta is officially owned by the Quinn Group and used for business purposes, but anecdotes abound of Sean Quinn using it to travel to GAA matches and the like.
The chopper was also famously loaned to then-Taoiseach Bertie Ahern for a jaunt to Donegal in the run-up to the 2002 general election.
It is understood the Quinn Group has decided to offload the chopper since it's less active in the international property and leisure scene.
The group is also in negotiations with its lenders over a multi-billion euro refinancing, while insurance arm Quinn Direct is now in administration.
The timeline for selling the chopper and the likely price are unclear -- Agusta 109's are on the market for $1m to $5m, with valuations dependent on interior spec and flying time.
Fellow Irishman Noel Smyth sold his Agusta 109 last year and it fetched close to €2m.
"It was on the market for a while before it sold," he told the Irish Independent back in May.
Ballymore Properties boss Sean Mulryan, beef baron Larry Goodman, supermarket boss Ben Dunne and developer Bernard McNamara have also shed their choppers in recent times.