Friday 19 January 2018

And those relegated from exclusive league

The toll which the property crash took on some of Ireland's richest people are reflected in comparisons of Estates Gazette Rich Lists of leading wealthy people in UK property.

Gone from the list are more than 20 Irish people including Sean Quinn who had been ranked as high as the third wealthiest person in Britain with wealth of almost £2.3 billion. Last week he declared himself bankrupt in Belfast.

On the otherhand EG may not have been right to drop Paddy McKillen after he successfully challenged NAMA when it tried to take over about €1 billion worth of his loans.

In 2009 EG estimated his wealth at a relatively modest £66m and ranked him as 212 on the list. His interests include shareholdings in a number of up market London hotels such as Claridges.

But even higher than him has been dropped. Sean Mulryan, possibly the best known Irish developer in UK property circles, was estimated to have wealth of £510m in 2008 and, even after it fell £230m to £280m in 2009, he was still ranked 62 in the 2009 list.

Dr Michel Smurfit, a sometime investor with Mr Mulryan, has also been dropped from the list. In 2009 the wealth of Ireland's consul in Monaco and his family was estimated to have fallen by £104m to £294m but nevertheless he was still ranked as high as 60 on the list.

Joe Moran, who bought out DCC's stake in Manor Park Homes and Charlie Haughey's former demesne, was ranked 136 on the list in 2009 when his wealth was estimated to have fallen by £30m to £120m. Last month a receiver was appointed to some of his property empire when it was reckoned to have debts of up to €170m.

Johnny Ronan, of Treasury Holdings, was estimated to have seen his wealth fall by £142m in 2009 but with £65m still remaining he was ranked 214 that year. Now with Treasury having secured a co-operation deal with NAMA, and the jet setter keeping a low profile, he has been dropped from the list.

Ironically the six Irish people who appeared on the list for the first time last year are not on this year's list. Bert and Maurice Allen, owners of Slaney Meats the Wexford meat processor who netted around £190m from the sale of Bewley hotel chain in 2007 and reinvested some of this in German property had been ranked at 72 last year.

In at 172 last year were hoteliers and developers Noel & Miriam O'Callaghan who own a number of Dublin hotels including St. Stephen's Green, Mont Clare, Alexander and The Davenport and were then reckoned to be worth £80m. John Byrne and family, owners of Carlisle Trust and a building which overlooks O'Connell Bridge in Dublin, has not re-appeared this year. Nor has Tony Leonard, who owns half of Clarendon Properties, where the other shareholder is Paddy McKillen. It owns Powerscourt Centre.

Others off the list are The Kenny family of Clancourt and hotelier Jim McGettigan. In some cases their omission may not be in any way related to their wealth or assets and may possibly be due to their desire to adopt low profiles.

Irish Independent

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