Business Irish

Wednesday 29 March 2017

Smurfit on course for talks with NAMA over prestigious K Club

Michael Smurfit
Michael Smurfit

Emmet Oliver Deputy Business Editor

Michael Smurfit, one of Ireland's richest men, is hoping to reach an agreement with NAMA over the future of the prestigious K Club in Co Kildare as losses at the property start to level off.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with the Irish Independent from Monaco, Mr Smurfit also revealed the toll the recession had taken on his own wealth, including the losses to date at the K Club.

"I just about have the resources, but to say I wasn't impacted by the downturn would be wrong. Smurfit shares went from €20 to €1 at one point, so we all got battered. I had bank shares for instance," he said.

In relation to the K Club, which hosted the Ryder Cup in 2006, Mr Smurfit said: "It has been difficult. The American market has dried up, although it has come back a little bit, but we've just got to stay the course. My partner is Gerry Gannon and he is in Nama, so we have to come to an arrangement with Nama with regard to the K Club.

"I have been funding the losses up to this year personally."

He declined to elaborate any further on who could end up owning Mr Gannon's 49pc share, which is reported to be up for sale.

Mr Smurfit said there was only room for one or two K Club-style properties and other hotels were facing a bleak future.

"What amazed me was that anybody who had a castle or a country-type house felt the need to build a golf course alongside it, and then houses. The over-building has been horrendous."

Irish Independent

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