Back in the spotlight - not that he ever really left in first place
Published 02/04/2015 | 02:30
Johnny Ronan has become the highest profile developer to exit Nama in recent months, and brings him firmly back into a spotlight that he never really left in the first place.
Mr Ronan was one of the faces of the boom, and alongside Richard Barrett, his Treasury Holdings firm became renowned in Irish business. It built some of the best known properties in the country, including the likes of the Convention Centre, the Central Park business Park in Leopardstown, and Connaught House on Burlington Road. Its Treasury Building on Grand Canal Street houses the NTMA and Nama, while previous tenants included investment bank Merrill Lynch.
Mr Ronan's luxury Maybach saloon - often seen parked up outside the Treasury Building - became something of a symbol of the Celtic Tiger, but when the crash came, things went wrong in a big way.
Treasury Holdings ultimately went into liquidation with debts of more than €1bn owed to Nama alone.
Treasury's sprawling business included numerous other vehicles with interests in China and London. It included the iconic Battersea Power Station in London, which its Real Estate Opportunities vehicle bought for €532m in 2007.
Crucially, Mr Ronan had substantial personal borrowings transferred to Nama - it is those that have been repaid today.
With such large debts owed to the State bad bank, it was perhaps no surprise that the developer lowered his profile around town significantly.
Although he became a low-key figure, he never really abandoned the property business. He is believed to have advised a number of investors, and is involved in a consortium that took on a site on Burlington Road for €40m last year. He has also been linked with a group reported to be preparing to bid for the €1bn-valued Dundrum Town Centre.
He had teamed up with US firm Colony Capital and London-based property firm Development Securities for the Burlington Road site, and now Colony has refinanced his borrowings with Nama.
Yesterday's deal is a victory for Mr Ronan. And with Nama being wound down, this will not be the last big exit we see this year.