Thursday 23 November 2017

NAMA defends €800m loan deal as McKillen ponders court action

'Closed' sale hands control of top hotels to Barclay twins

Siobhan Creaton

NAMA has defended its €800m deal to sell the loans attached to three of London's top hotels without consulting developer Paddy McKillen -- one of the major shareholders in the group.

A NAMA spokesman said yesterday the deal with billionaire Barclay brothers David and Frederick has been "closed" and the €800m has been paid to the agency.

However, in doing this deal NAMA has effectively handed control of the Maybourne Hotel Group to the Barclays -- a move that Mr McKillen said could damage the value of his investment in the company.

Despite owning 37pc of the hotel group, Mr McKillen claimed NAMA kept him in the dark about the sale of the loans and he was now examining whether he could undo it in a court action.

Mr McKillen is looking to see whether NAMA has breached the terms agreed amongst the company's original shareholders in the way it sold the loans to the Barclays, who already own about 28pc of the group.

It has been suggested that shareholders were obliged to give each other the first option to buy their shares before they could offer them to another investor.

The Irish Independent has learned that NAMA's deal gives the twin brothers control over more than 50pc of the company. This pitches Mr McKillen in a battle with the billionaires to protect his investment.

His lawyers will also look at any undertakings that NAMA gave to Mr McKillen and the other shareholders when they took over the loans about how the agency could sell them in the future.

The deal that was struck on Wednesday saw NAMA selling the €800m of loans to Maybourne Finance Ltd, a company owned by the Barclays. Some sources suggest this is unusual as the loans would normally be transferred to another bank or financial institution rather than to a new company set up for this deal.

Interestingly, the Barclays have been doing deals in the past few weeks to mop up any other shares in the group not owned by Mr McKillen, and the Irish Independent has learned they now control the stake owned by Mr Quinlan as a result of another deal NAMA completed during the summer. Mr Quinlan's stake was believed to be between 22pc and 35pc

Some months back, the agency sold Mr Quinlan's share of the Maybourne loans to a Malaysian sovereign wealth fund and businessman Robert Tchenguiz for an estimated €60m.



Wealth

As part of this transaction, Mr Quinlan signed away any voting rights attached to his shares; however, he is still registered as owning the shares.

But last week, as NAMA was finalising the deal with the Barclays, the billionaire brothers purchased the Quinlan loans from the Malaysian sovereign wealth fund and businessman Robert Tchenguiz.

This gave the Barclays control over another 22pc of the company. Coupled with the loans they bought this week, the Barclay brothers now control more than 50pc of the group.

Howver, last night Mr McKillen insisted he remains the largest shareholder in the group.

Mr McKillen had been actively involved with refurbishing and expanding these prestigious hotels and has said he will not be selling his stake.

Irish Independent

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