| 19.8°C Dublin

Browne to work with McKillen on refinancing

Former Anglo Irish Bank executive hired to help developer with loans

Tom Browne, the former Anglo Irish Bank executive, has been hired by property developer Paddy McKillen to help him refinance his loans out of the now State-owned bank that formerly employed him.

Mr Browne, who is separately suing Anglo, now renamed IBRC, over debts of €50m, has been working over the last year to secure new financing for Mr McKillen's Irish assets.

Mr McKillen is working with Le Bruin, a boutique debt-management firm co-founded by Mr Browne, to both reduce the Belfast property investor's exposure to IBRC and to unlock cash from his older assets.

Le Bruin has approached international investors about refinancing the Jervis Centre in particular, which has a rent roll of €20m per annum and debts believed to be about €80m.

Mr McKillen is understood to value the Dublin shopping centre, which houses brands like Forever 21 and Argos, at upwards of €300m.

Some investment sources have doubted this valuation but there is no dispute that there is substantial equity in the centre, which Mr McKillen co-owns with Padraic Drayne, his wife's cousin.

"Le Bruin has attracted the interest of a number of international funds into the Irish market," a spokeswoman for Mr McKillen said. "They are actively looking at a number of options for refinancing, including the Jervis Centre."

She said Le Bruin was advising on a "range of funding sources".

Mr Browne led Anglo's lending team at a time when it expanded explosively, but he left the bank in November 2007 to pursue other interests.

He alleges that Anglo's then management team deliberately did not inform of their knowledge from September 11, 2007, that Sean Quinn had built up a gigantic gamble on the bank's shares because he had already indicated that he planned to leave the bank.

Mr Browne is claiming in a court action that he has no liability to Anglo for debts of €50m on the basis that the bank was guilty of fraudulent misrepresentation by not informing him of Mr Quinn's position when it lent him millions at the end of 2007 to buy more shares in the bank.

Mr Browne has said he would never have invested so much in the bank's shares if he had known.

IBRC's new management is disputing this claim and Mr Browne is in the thick of a giant discovery action against the bank to prove his claims.

Ironically, Mr McKillen ended up being one of a group of 10 clients who were asked by Anglo's then management to try to stabilise the bank by taking up some of Mr Quinn's shares. The move came too late, however, and Anglo was nationalised in January 2009.

Le Bruin was set up during the boom to be a multi-family, wealth-management business but it changed its focus to debt advisory after the property bubble burst.

Sunday Indo Business