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Barrett buying China assets in instalments

Businessman Richard Barrett is paying in instalments for the Chinese companies he controversially bought from Treasury Holdings last week.

Embattled property giant Treasury Holdings agreed to sell two Chinese subsidiaries to Mr Barrett for €2.26m last week, just as the company faced liquidation at the hands of creditor KBC Bank.

Mr Barrett is one of the two owners of Treasury, along with businessman Johnny Ronan.

The companies which have just been sold manage a huge Chinese property portfolio on behalf of Treasury China Trust, a Singapore-listed investment vehicle 30pc owned by Mr Barrett and Mr Ronan.

The last-minute nature of the deal, combined with the fact that financial details were not initially disclosed, prompted Treasury's biggest creditor, NAMA, to join KBC in seeking to have the company liquidated.

Mr Barrett has defended the transaction. He said the sale meant Treasury's problems in Ireland would not trigger value destruction in Asia by prompting creditors there to call in loans owed by linked companies.

Mr Barrett said the price paid was fair and was the higher of two independent valuations, so there was no question of assets being stripped from Treasury Holdings.

The latest twist in the story came yesterday in an announcement made to the Singapore Stock Exchange, where documents filed show Mr Barrett will pay the €2.26m price of the units in instalments.

In the event of a failure to fully repay the €2.26m, Treasury will get its subsidiaries back, but there is no indication that the company has any other recourse to the businessman.

The High Court has already asked Treasury Holdings to provide a detailed report into the circumstances of the Chinese asset sale. It is due to be handed in next week.

The wider battle between Treasury and its creditors is due to resume in court in Dublin on October 9.

Irish Independent