Tuesday 25 October 2016

O'Reilly's firm is out of Nama, but it's not out of the woods

Published 30/09/2015 | 02:30

Developer Joe O'Reilly.
Developer Joe O'Reilly.

Joe O'Reilly is out of Nama at last, but his joy at exiting the state bad bank may be relatively short lived.

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Like other developers before him, Mr O'Reilly's company, Chartered Land, is not debt free.

Instead, its banker has been replaced with a new one.

Since the Chartered Land loans were transferred into Nama back in 2010, the agency has been effectively the company's lender.

Now that those loans have been sold to Hammerson and Allianz, those two firms have become Chartered Land's creditor.

This is no small difference. Nama was willing to work with Mr O'Reilly and Chartered Land as long his team played by the rules and kept up their repayments.

The agency was always going to sell on the loans, but it had little interest in taking over the assets themselves if it could be avoided.

Allianz, and in particular Hammerson, are a different story altogether.

London-listed Hammerson is a property specialist that is focused mainly on shopping centres. It is very much focused on taking over Dundrum, the Ilac Centre, and the Pavilions.

Where Allianz is likely to be something of a passive investor, Hammerson is regarded in the industry as being very hands-on.

Speaking to the Irish Independent, Hammerson boss David Atkins said it was early days in the deal yet.

"This is the first day of a journey," he said.

"We have a lot of respect for Chartered Land, and our primary objective is to enter into a consensual arrangement [with Chartered] that would be in their interest as well."

When asked if his company may look to enforce the loans it now holds over Chartered, Mr Atkins was matter-of-fact: "We are a professional company, and we wouldn't rule out anything."

It seems the hard part starts now for Mr O'Reilly.

Irish Independent

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