Business Irish

Tuesday 20 February 2018

NAMA gave its support to Crosbie legal action on Dunnes

A file picture of Dunnes Stores supremo Margaret Heffernan. The store group has been involved in a second action backed by NAMA.
A file picture of Dunnes Stores supremo Margaret Heffernan. The store group has been involved in a second action backed by NAMA.
Donal O'Donovan

Donal O'Donovan

Bad bank backed Point Village case and Holtglen petition

TOXIC-LOAN agency NAMA backed a second legal action against Dunnes Stores – in addition to the high-profile action to have the supermarket wound-up over a €21m debt, that is due to be heard at the High Court later this month – the Irish Independent has learned.

The winding-up petition has formally been taken by the developer Holtglen, but the National Asset Management Agency (NAMA) is widely seen as the main instigator of the action against Dunnes Stores because it is the financial backer standing behind the bust developer it its legal battle to pursue the debt.

The state agency has backed the claim because Holtglen in turns owes the cash to NAMA.

This newspaper understands that NAMA also backed a separate and unrelated action against Dunnes in recent months. That was a legal case taken in October by the Harry Crosbie-linked Point Village Developments Ltd.

The Point Village case was part of a long-running dispute between the developer and Dunnes Stores over contracts in relation to an anchor-store site at a new shopping development in Dublin's IFSC.

The case ended in November and a written judgment by Justice Mary Laffoy was published earlier this week.

It amounts to something of a draw for the two sides.

Ms Justice Laffoy ordered Dunnes to fit out the anchor store – but only once seven other tenants have been secured to move into the largely vacant development.

It is understood that Point Development's case would not have gone ahead without the backing of NAMA.

Accounts filed with the Companies Registration Office show that the company's €3.6m of bank debt is in NAMA.

The original force behind the Point project, Harry Crosbie, resigned as a director on August 23, along with other members of his family.

Days later, NAMA registered a wide-ranging charge over the assets of the business, including over the proceeds of any legal actions, according to company filings.

The debts and charges give NAMA an effective veto over any significant corporate actions by Point Village Developments, including whether or not to proceed with costly legal action, such as the Dunnes case.

Dunnes Stores could not be reached for comment.

A spokesman for NAMA declined to comment on the case last night.

A third NAMA-linked borrower, The Square Shopping Centre in Tallaght, is also currently involved in a legal dispute with Dunnes Stores, but this is a relatively minor commercial dispute over an €800,000 claim.

Irish Independent

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