Business Irish

Sunday 21 January 2018

Investor trying to obstruct Coroin deal, court told

Shane Hickey

INVESTOR Paddy McKillen is suing the Barclay brothers so he can obstruct their takeover of three London hotels and buy time to mount his own bid, the brothers have told London's High Court.

In documents submitted to the court yesterday, the Barclays also described Mr McKillen as a man who flies between his property interests so often he cannot say where he lives, in a lifestyle which is funded by the Irish taxpayer.

The claims are made in closing statements to a long-running legal action, where the brothers are described as businessmen with "impeccable standing and financial credentials" who make no secret of wanting to take over Coroin, which runs the upmarket Claridges, the Connaught and the Berkeley hotels in London.

"The company (Coroin) is substantially over-leveraged. Unlike Mr McKillen, the Barclay interests are ready and willing to provide the £200m (€247m) of equity needed to put the business on a sound financial footing for the future," the closing argument said.

Mr McKillen's action is an attempt to stifle this takeover attempt while he tries to buy time to find a party who will put up the money to fund his own takeover attempt, it said.

The manner in which the case has proceeded is described as "highly regrettable" said the extensive statement from four different Barclay-associated companies.

"Mr McKillen's case has since become a sprawling and disparate collection of allegations which call into question almost everything done by the Barclay interests, often on unintelligible grounds," it said.

There were "gratuitous" attempts to embarrass financier Derek Quinlan about his lifestyle while Mr McKillen's behaviour has been worse than what he complains of, according to the statement.

A statement directly from twins Frederick and David Barclay said their initial denial of allegations against them has only been reinforced through the trial.

They said the court should dismiss the allegations of the claim.

They said Mr McKillen had acted badly in seeking sums for the management of the hotels by potential investors and subsequently reneged on an agreement for refinancing.

"The trial has confirmed that these proceedings were initiated because Mr McKillen cannot afford to remain a significant shareholder of Coroin," the statement from the Barclays said.

"It is a fact of life that, if you want to be a shareholder of a company with a value approaching £1bn (€1.23bn), but you have no money, you are likely to lose out in the end."

Irish Independent

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