Grehan loses bid to keep UK assets out of NAMA
Developer's legal team tells court he will not contest plan
Developer Ray Grehan has finally accepted defeat in his battle to keep his property empire after NAMA was successful yesterday in getting an order to place his UK assets into administration.
Mr Grehan's legal team Simmons & Simmons yesterday told a London court the developer would not be contesting the NAMA application, leaving the way clear for Grant Thornton (UK) to seize the assets.
Among the properties being seized are apartment blocks, property in Canary Wharf and a shopping centre in west London. Mr Grehan runs a company called Glenkerrin with his brother Danny.
The court hearing was billed as a test of NAMA's powers in the UK, but the hearing and application was heard in just 15 minutes. The decision by Mr Grehan not to contest helped speed up the process, said sources last night.
Mr Grehan said he would work with the administrators and it is possible that after some of the UK properties are sold there will be a surplus. This could be used to pay down some of Mr Grehan's Irish loans, it is understood. Mr Grehan said he was disappointed with the outcome of the last few weeks after he signed a memorandum of understanding with NAMA in December.
The developer's Irish assets were placed into receivership by NAMA after attempts by him to refinance his €650m of loans with interested parties failed to convince the state loans agency. Mr Grehan had three bidders for his debts, it is understood, but NAMA experts were sceptical of the plans and the receivership in Ireland went ahead.
Mr Grehan, the man who bought the most expensive site in Ireland during the boom, has been in talks for several weeks with interested buyers. Some have been interested in refinancing his loans, with others simply wanting to purchase assets he owns, particularly in the UK.
Two weeks ago the developer expressed shock and bafflement that NAMA moved against him, as he had signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the agency.
Mr Grehan was a top 20 developer and tried at the tail end of the property boom to boost the market by providing interest-free loans to buyers.
The developer hit the headlines in 2005 when he paid €171.5m for the two-acre former UCD veterinary college site.
This worked out at €85.75m an acre, the most paid by any developer for land in the capital. The site is now operated as a car park and is valued at €40m.
Among the assets NAMA seized in Ireland were the Grange apartment complex in Stillorgan, the former UCD site in Dublin 4, the Glenroyal Hotel in Maynooth, and a residential project near Liffey Valley, called St Edmunds.
AIB was the bank that backed the project, though Mr Grehan had also taken loans from Bank of Ireland over the years.
It is believed NAMA wanted a non-executive director, banker Harry Slowey, at Glenkerrin over recent months, but this appears to have caused some tension between the two sides.