Business Irish

Sunday 26 March 2017

Ulster Bank fights developer's claim it wasn't entitled to install receivers

Tim Healy

ULSTER Bank has disputed claims by developer David Agar that it was not entitled to appoint receivers to one of his properties in Dublin city centre.

The bank earlier this month appointed joint receivers to the Harcourt Building, at the junction of Harcourt Street and Adelaide Road, but Mr Agar then secured an interim injunction from the High Court restraining them acting or dealing with the property.

The matter came before Mr Justice Peter Kelly yesterday in an application by the bank to have Mr Agar's case fast-tracked to the Commercial Court.

Mr Justice Kelly agreed to transfer the case and fixed March 15 for hearing Mr Agar's application to have the injunction continued pending the outcome of the full hearing.

The case relates to various facilities advanced to Mr Agar related to the Harcourt Building and a number of interest swap contracts.

Mr Agar has claimed he is entitled to rescind swaps related to borrowings of some €87m and is also seeking to be indemnified for any loss or liability arising from the bank's execution of the swaps, plus damages for alleged breach of contract and alleged breach of duty by the bank.

The bank claims it was entitled to appoint David Carson and Lorcan O'Connor of Deloitte as receivers in circumstances of a number of alleged defaults by Mr Agar.

It said Mr Agar has been a customer since 2000 when it funded the joint acquisition by him and Patrick Shovlin of the former Shell garage site at the corner of Harcourt St/Adelaide Road. It later funded the redevelopment of that site into a retail and office property at an additional cost of €22m.

The bank claims the property carried total debt of €33.8m by the end of 2005 when still jointly owned by Mr Agar and Mr Shovlin. In March 2005, it advanced €36m to Mr Agar to purchase the property outright from Mr Shovlin.

It claims Mr Agar bought Mr Shovlin's 50pc interest in a non-cash transaction whereby he exchanged his shareholding in another property-related company with Mr Shovlin in return for full ownership of the Harcourt property.

Discussions

In July 2007, the bank claims it agreed to advance a €50m facility to Mr Agar and they held discussions resulting in an agreement related to five interest swaps concerning facilities totalling €87m.

It claims it later held discussions with Mr Agar about breaking those swaps and had understood agreement was reached with Mr Agar as of September/October 2011.

Mr Agar was later advised if he did not sign a new facility letter to meet increased costs of breaking the swaps, the bank would have no option but to demand payment of the loan and swaps, the bank claims.

The bank said proposals from Mr Agar were not acceptable to it and it was entitled to appoint the receivers.

Irish Independent

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