Wednesday 17 January 2018

Dental entrepreneur smiling as he tees up €15m golf resort deal

Irish entrepreneur Emmet O'Neill (inset) and Brehon Partners have acquired Mount Juliet
Irish entrepreneur Emmet O'Neill (inset) and Brehon Partners have acquired Mount Juliet
Sarah Stack

Sarah Stack

One of the country's most luxurious golf resorts has been snapped up by investors for €15m.

Irish entrepreneur Emmet O'Neill and Brehon Capital Partners outbid a US billionaire for the 500-acre Mount Juliet Resort in Thomastown, Co Kilkenny.

The 35-year-old and Brehon plan to invest another €4m by expanding its 86 bedrooms and upgrading the spa and swimming pool facilities.

Elsewhere, Portmarnock Golf Links was rescued from receivers when bought by an international real estate investment firm for €30m, securing the future for more than 100 members and 150 staff.

Kennedy Wilson Europe Real Estate is also planning more investment to upgrade the north Dublin seafront hotel, which features an 18-hole golf course designed by Bernhard Langer, 138 bedrooms and conference facilities. Mr O'Neill, who recently sold his Smile Dental chain for €36m, and Brehon acquired Mount Juliet and its Jack Nicklaus-designed course from the Mahony family's Killeen Group Holdings, which has owned it since 1987.

"As a visitor to the Mount Juliet Estate for many years I am absolutely thrilled to be involved in supporting the continued development and growth of the business," said Mr O'Neill.

"Mount Juliet is the pre-eminent golf destination in Ireland and will continue to hold this position under the new ownership."

Two of Brehon's directors – Michael McElliggott and James Byrne – were investors in Smiles when it was set up in 2005.

The three again joined forces for Mount Juliet, outbidding billionaire Irish-American businessman John Malone.

As part of the Portmarnock deal, land that should have been signed over to Fingal County Council several years ago under a planning deal – will eventually be given to the authority.

Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) sold the profit-making business on behalf of receiver Simon Coyle of Mazars, who had been appointed by NAMA. The state bad bank had a receiver appointed to the previous owner of the property, Capel Developments, in 2011.

Capel bought the hotel in 2005 for €70m.


Irish Independent

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