Tuesday 28 February 2017

Treasury Holdings NAMA challenge back in High Court next month

Donal O’Donovan and  Independent.ie reporters

The Westin Hotel in Dublin, one of Treasury's landmark buildings
The Treasury Building

A HIGH Court challenge by Treasury Holdings to the appointment of NAMA receivers to a number of its assets will be heard on February 21.

Talks between the property developer and the bad bank broke down yesterday prompting NAMA to threaten that receivers would be appointed to seize control of a swathe of landmark properties in Dublin.

Lawyers for Treasury Holdings dashed to the High Court to block NAMA from taking some of the property giant's best assets into receivership.

The two sides have been locked in talks about debts of around €2bn owed by the developers Johnny Ronan and Richard Barrett's property business.

The real estate includes Dublin landmarks such as the PwC headquarters in the IFSC, the Westin Hotel in the city centre, Central Park in Leapordstown and Ballymun Shopping Centre.

Security

The race to the courts came after days of talks. Yesterday afternoon, the board of NAMA took the decision to appoint receivers to properties that have been pledged as security for around €500m of loans owed to the State-owned bad bank.

Last night, Treasury Holdings said it had: "complied in every material way with NAMA's requirements from the outset and has honoured the terms of the memorandum of understanding agreed in December 2010".

It added that it was "extremely disappointed" by NAMA's decision. NAMA opted to make the move against Treasury after a "standstill agreement", that allowed the borrowers to breach the terms of their loans without losing control of its buildings, expired at 4pm.

The decision was taken after NAMA rejected two bids from international investors for the Treasury loans.

The receivers have been lined up to take control of properties owned by two Treasury Holdings subsidiaries called Real Estate Opportunities and Spencer Dock Development Corporation.

The receivers, understood to be from Ernst & Young and PWC, were not appointed, however.

NAMA held off on the appointments after Treasury's lawyers raced to the courts to block the move.

The lawyers are understood to have made it to Mr Justice George Birmingham's court by 5pm.

The judge gave Treasury permission to bring an application for a judicial review aimed at blocking the appointment of the receiver.

Offers

That case will go ahead today at 11pm. Both sides will be represented by lawyers at today's hearing.

The offers are understood to have been made by US investor Hines Real Estate and Australia's Macquarie.

Talks between NAMA and the two bidders went down to the wire, but Treasury Holdings was never involved in three-way discussions, and the negotiations ultimately failed to result in a deal.

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