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Developers of shopping centre post €125m loss on project

The developers of what was meant to be the largest shopping centre in the mid-west, the Opera Centre in Limerick, have posted one of the largest losses on a retail property since the onset of the financial crisis. NAMA is now deciding on its fate.

A loss of €125m has been reported by Regeneration Developments Ltd, a company linked to developers David Courtney and Jerry O'Reilly. Anglo Irish Bank is also believed to have a share in the project, which it originally intended to sell on to private clients.

Some parts of the site, in the centre of Limerick, have now been added to the derelict sites register, the Limerick Leader reported earlier this month.

In the year to the end of 2009 the company had net debts of €129m and losses, after exceptionals, of €125m. All the loans behind the development have gone into NAMA.

"Discussions with NAMA are ongoing," stated the accounts and the future of the company is directly bound up with the attitude of its lenders.

The main factor behind the profit and loss is a €100m impairment, one of the largest for a retail property in recent years. The site is now worth €12.5m. Loans given for the site by Bank of Ireland have transferred to NAMA, with the company claiming that ordinary expenditure for the site can be met from "ongoing income''.

"However, interest is being rolled up on the bank loans used to purchase the various properties and no funding is currently in place to complete the project,'' stated the directors.

"The directors are of the view that the support of NAMA will be forthcoming but there is no certainty that this will be the case."


The valuation of the property was undertaken by estate agency Spain, Courtney, Doyle on a date in September 2010. David Courtney, a director of Regeneration Developments Ltd, is also a director of Spain, Courtney, Doyle, the accounts make clear.

Of the €142m of creditors, a large amount, €31.1m consists of shareholders' loans, which are unsecured and interest-free. The company also owes other group companies up to €19.8m.

The Limerick city manager Tom Mackey recently said he shared local people's frustrations with the site. "We all had high hopes for that site. If it had come on stream a few years ago, it would have been off the ground sooner. Unfortunately when planning permission was given, the steam had been lost from the Celtic Tiger."

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