Sunday 18 March 2018

G Hotel owner to learn if business empire can be saved

Examiner Neil Hughes
Examiner Neil Hughes

Gretchen Friemann

Efforts by Galway businessman, Gerry Barrett, to refinance parts of his heavily indebted business and property empire are expected to come to a head this week.

According to sources, a court-appointed examiner to Edward Capital Group - which employs over 370 people and owns a vast network of assets including the Meyrick Hotel, the five-star G Hotel and Eye Cinema in Galway - is due to recommend a rescue plan for the group's companies within the next few days.

Last month the Court of Appeal confirmed the appointment of Neil Hughes of Baker Tilly Hughes Blake as examiner to seven companies controlled by Mr Barrett. The developer had hoped to secure fresh financing for some of the debts from Irish private-equity firm Cardinal Capital. But the attempt was opposed by Deutsche, the German banking giant which acquired Mr Barrett's debts from Nama in 2015 for an undisclosed sum and asserts it is owed over €690m.

Cardinal is understood to have offered over €70m to refinance loans linked to Edward Capital Group.

Deutsche reportedly described the approach as "unacceptable".

Cardinal has previously worked with Mr Barrett to refinance his Scotch Hall shopping centre in Drogheda.

After acquiring Mr Barrett's loans from Nama in 2015, Deutsche then moved to seize full control by appointing receivers to the Edward Capital Group companies.

The bank has demanded full repayment of the legacy debts.

However, the Court of Appeal heard that while the firm's directors - Gerry Barrett and Catherine Barrett of Drimbawn House Chestnut Lane, Lower Dangan, Galway - accepted the group was "very significantly indebted" to Deutsche Bank, they claimed that while they could service a certain level of the debt, a large amount of what is owed can never be repaid.

Mr Hughes has been appointed interim examiner over ML Meyrick Ltd, MT Mono Trading Ltd, Edward Leisure Assets Unlimited Company, Niche Hotels Unlimited Company, Style City Ltd, Radical Properties Unlimited Company, and Kitty Hall Holdings Ltd.

Irish Independent

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