Tuesday 12 December 2017

NAMA recoups €800m in its biggest loan sale yet

Claridge's hotel
Derek Quinlan

Siobhan Creaton

NAMA has struck its biggest deal yet bringing in €800m through the sale of loans associated with Claridges, the Connaught and the Berkeley hotels in London.

Although last night the hotel group's biggest shareholder, developer Paddy McKillen, was considering mounting a legal action to scupper the deal, claiming he wasn't consulted.

Ireland's bad bank said it sold the huge debts at a profit to British billionaire brothers David and Frederick Barclay who already own 28pc of the Maybourne Hotel Group.

The €800m is a huge amount of cash for the agency to recoup and has been done at a time when property prices are strong in London. The agency said it made a profit and recovered all of the money owed plus interest.


A spokeswoman for the Belfast-born developer, who earlier this year won a major victory in a court battle against NAMA to stop it from transferring some of his other loans to the agency, said he was concerned.

"He is investigating the deal and is concerned about how the sale may affect his shareholding," she said. Mr McKillen, she added, has no intention of selling his stake in the hotels.

It was claimed that NAMA did the deal with the Barclay brothers at a time when Mr McKillen was working with the billionaires to re-finance these loans with a view to repaying the agency in full. Mr McKillen, who owns 36pc of the Maybourne Group, is now investigating whether he can mount a legal action to block it.

NAMA sold the loans to Maybourne Finance Limited, a company controlled by the Barclays. Ahead of any potential court battle Mr McKillen is likely to focus on the terms of the original shareholders' agreement.

They included: financier Derek Quinlan who led the Irish investors' audacious €1.2bn bid for the hotel group in 2004; Riverdance producers, John McColgan and Moya Doherty; and Kyran McLaughlin of Davy Stockbrokers. Mr McKillen's lawyers will also review any undertakings given by NAMA as to how it would sell the loans.

The €800m debt is due to be re-financed shortly and Mr McKillen may be concerned he could be forced to relinquish his shares to the Barclays.

Earlier this year NAMA did a deal with a Malaysian sovereign wealth fund and businessman Robert Tchenguiz to take the shares still owned by Mr Quinlan after it appointed a receiver to sell off his assets to repay his €400m of loans. The billionaires have already bought shares owned by another shareholder, the Manchester-based Green family, as well as the 3pc owned by Mr McLaughlin. Mr McColgan and Ms Doherty sold their shares shortly after they made their investment.

The huge loans were taken out to finance the Irish syndicate's €1.2bn purchase in 2004.

Irish Independent

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