Saturday 27 December 2014

US bond wizard may buy Ritz Carlton

Published 20/02/2013 | 04:00

Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsey opened his first Irish restaurant in the hotel in Wicklow

A US bond market wizard named in classic book 'Liar's Poker' is expected to buy the luxury Ritz Carlton Powerscourt hotel after the Wicklow venue went into liquidation last night.

The company behind the five-star, 200-room Ritz-Carlton Powerscourt Hotel was put into liquidation at the High Court after a 100-day examinership failed to save the business.

Liquidation could threaten almost 300 full-time and part-time staff at the high-end venue.

However, the Irish Independent understands that US-based investor Ranieri Partners is in rescue talks to buy the hotel and a deal could be closed imminently.

Accountant Declan Taite of RSM Farrell Grant Sparks was appointed as liquidator of Carrylane, the company behind the hotel, yesterday. He was previously appointed as examiner.

Carrylane went into examinership in November last year, following the liquidation of its parent company Treasury Holdings – controlled by Johnny Ronan and Richard Barrett.

The hotel has debts of €47m owed to NAMA.

As well as Treasury's Mr Ronan and Mr Barrett, the Wicklow hotel was part-owned by as many as 200 investors in tax-driven schemes that helped finance the development.

Liquidation means all staff have automatically been made redundant, but they are being kept on on weekly contracts.

The US firm that is understood to be close to sealing a deal is owned by Wall Street titan Lewis Ranieri. The larger-than-life bond market guru was a major character in 'Liar's Poker', the book about Wall Street bankers in the 1980s written by Michael Lewis.

Mr Ranieri is credited with creating the multi-billion-euro global market for IOUs backed by masses of home loans and commercial mortgages.

Ironically, some analysts blame overheating of that market for the global crisis that has led, at least in part, to the liquidation of the Co Wicklow hotel.

Irish Independent

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