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Aviva takes legal action over sale of bank building

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Photo: PA

Photo: PA

Photo: PA

LEGAL action aimed at finalising the €5.5m sale of the Bank of Ireland building in Balbriggan, Co Dublin, has been admitted to the fast-track Commercial Court.

The action, by Aviva Life and Pensions Ireland, is against Elkstone Capital Partners, and arose from a contract last February under which Aviva agreed to sell, and Elkstone to purchase, the BoI building at 24 and 26 Dublin Street, Balbriggan, for €5.5m.

In its action, Aviva claims the full sum under the contract was to have been paid by March 11, 2020, but that has not happened.

It claims Elkstone paid a deposit of €277,500 but the balance of €5,272,500 due on March 11 has not been paid.

A completion notice was served on March 19 and, on April 15, the day before that notice was due to expire, solicitors for Elkstone disputed the manner of service of the notice on "technical grounds", Aviva claims.

In that April 14 letter, solicitors for Elkstone referred to the Covid-19 pandemic as a reason for not closing the sale in accordance with the contract.

Aviva's solicitors replied the same day saying it was ready, willing and able to complete the sale and asked the defendant to arrange a completion appointment.

Solicitors for Elkstone confirmed on April 17 it intended to complete the purchase but it has failed to do so, Aviva claims.

When the case came before Mr Justice David Barniville, Bernard Dunleavy SC, for Elkstone, said, leaving aside the concerns about service of the completion notice, the sale would be closed on July 24.

To allow for that, counsel asked that Aviva's application to have the proceedings admitted to the fast-track Commercial Court list be adjourned for two weeks.

Payment of the money would mean the matter would not be appropriate for the court, counsel said.

Mr Dunleavy also said a mediation declaration should have accompanied Aviva's application to the court.

If the money is not paid, his side will agree to such directions as would ensure the matter can return on the date originally envisaged, he added.

Counsel for Aviva said there was "nothing to mediate" as the sale should have been completed in March.

Mr Justice Barniville said he would admit the case to the court's list but, in light of the defendant's offer, would adjourn it for two weeks.

Irish Independent