Business Irish

Thursday 13 December 2018

Lone Star plots IPO for massive Dublin housing land bank

Private equity giant has land with the potential for thousands of homes

Billionaire Lone Star founder John Grayken. Photo: YOUNG HO/SIPA/Newscom
Billionaire Lone Star founder John Grayken. Photo: YOUNG HO/SIPA/Newscom

Gavin McLoughlin - Business Correspondent

Private equity giant Lone Star is exploring listing a vehicle on the stock market, as part of its strategy for building out its Irish assets.

The Texan company owns land with the potential for thousands of homes to be built at a time when residential development land is in strong demand. Assets in Lone Star's Irish portfolio include large sites at Adamstown in west Dublin and Portmarnock in north Dublin.

No final decision to proceed with an IPO has been made, the Sunday Independent understands.

The key players for Lone Star's operation here are Eddie Byrne, the former head of lending in North America, and Michael Hynes, a former portfolio manager at Nama and also formerly a senior employee at Bernard McNamara's Grattan Property.

Lone Star did not respond to a request for comment on this story. The company has been active in buying loans connected to property here on the back of the financial crash and the subsequent establishment of Nama.

In tandem with listed housebuilder Cairn Homes it bought a portfolio from Ulster Bank known as Project Clear for €500m in 2015.

At Adamstown, Lone Star and others are financing the development of a new town centre.

It has been working in partnership with Sean Mulryan's Ballymore Development in Portmarnock, and with developer Bernie Carroll in Skerries.

Lone Star subsidiary Quintain has also been seeking to enter the build-to-rent sector here, and has submitted a bid to be the development partner for Diageo's planned new urban quarter around St James' Gate in the Liberties in Dublin.

Quintain itself has reportedly been put up for sale and is expected to fetch strong interest. Private equity tycoon Guy Hands has been exploring a potential bid for the business, according to a report by Sky News.

The company is best known for its transformation of London's Wembley Park area - one of Europe's largest high-density regeneration projects - covering 85 acres of land around Wembley Stadium.

Magnet Networks, the Irish telecoms business owned by Columbia Ventures Corporation, an American private equity firm, is working with Quintain on that project.

Lone Star was founded by billionaire John Grayken, who has Irish citizenship. He was ranked Ireland's third richest person in the Sunday Independent 2018 rich list, with a fortune of €5.8bn.

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