Business Irish

Monday 18 December 2017

Net liabilities increase to over €500m at developer's Lalco property group

Developer John Lally’s Humewood Castle was sold to billionaire John Malone in 2012
Developer John Lally’s Humewood Castle was sold to billionaire John Malone in 2012

Gordon Deegan

Net liabilities at the property development group of companies owned by Galway developer John Lally have risen to more than €500m.

New figures lodged with the Companies Office show that net liabilities at subsidiaries of Lalco Holdings have increased by €66m to €506m.

The holding firm has just lodged three sets of accounts with the Companies Office for the years 2011 to 2013 that show the increase in the firms' liabilities.

A note attached to the accounts states that the directors have an agreement in place with the National Asset Management Agency (NAMA) that provides for a repayment plan of the companies' debts concluding in 2020.

The note states: "There are certain guarantees, securities and default conditions in place under the agreement."

The accounts show that Lalco Holdings' accumulated losses increased marginally from €54.52m to €55m in 2013.

The note adds that the directors consider that the company will be unable to recover the deficit as at the balance sheet date as the company has limited income and limited prospect for future income.

The undoing of Lalco's property development arm was a number of high profile and expensive land acquisitions in the Sandyford area of Dublin.

The accounts show that individual firms, Devano Developments, had a deficit of €203.2m at end of December 2013 with Brackville Holdings having a deficit of €174.4m. Another firm, Sova Properties, had a deficit of €80.1m.

One of the firms, Fifes of Wiltshire, had a deficit of €2.69m at the end of 2013. The firm secured planning permission for a €250m tourism development at John Lally's Humewood Castle in Kiltegan, Co Wicklow, in 2009 for a five-star hotel, leisure centre, tourist lodges and a golf course.

Mr Lally purchased the castle for €25m. However, his ambitious plans never materialised and Humewood Castle was bought for €8m by US billionaire John Malone in 2012.

Mr Malone also purchased the Westin hotel as part of his spending spree on Irish hotels.

The mounting losses at Mr Lally's construction firms are in sharp contrast to the growth of his hotel interests over recent times.

The Lalco Hotel Group last year purchased the five-star Glenlo Abbey outside Galway while it also signed an agreement to operate Mr Malone's five-star Westin hotel in Dublin.

Lalco Hotel Group has an impressive portfolio, comprising the Hilton Dublin Kilmainham; Hilton Dublin City; Trinity City Hotel, all in Dublin; The Limerick Strand Hotel; and The Harbour Hotel in Galway.

The hotel group employs more than 1,100 people. Efforts to make contact with Mr Lally were unsuccessful.

Irish Independent

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