Business Irish

Tuesday 28 January 2020

Quinlan is Nama's best Irish client

Tom Lyons

Derek Quinlan, the property financier, has along with companies linked to him repaid the most of any Irish client of the taxpayer-owned National Asset Management Agency, the Sunday Independent has learned.

The London-based businessman has repaid Nama €150m since 2009 taking his personal borrowings from about €380m to €230m. Mr Quinlan's "corporate debts" to Nama and Irish banks have fallen by a whopping €2bn from €3.2bn in 2009 to €1.2bn today. Corporate debts relate to investments where Mr Quinlan was involved in putting the original syndicate together to purchase property as founder of Quinlan Private and where he also had a shareholding.

Mr Quinlan has worked with Nama and Irish banks on achieving a number of mega-profitable sales. Last year Quinlan Private, his old firm, sold the Knightsbridge Estate in London for £580m (€712m) repaying Nama £485m. Mr Quinlan repaid Nama about £20m from his 22 per cent stake.

In October last year the Audley Street site in London was sold for £140m, repaying Nama £125m. Mr Quinlan paid back Nama another £15m relating to his 75 per cent stake in the building. In August 2011, The Glebe site in Chelsea was sold for £75m and AIB was repaid £45m with Mr Quinlan paying back another £5m from his stake.

A development property at 20 Charles St in Mayfair was sold for £25m with all proceeds to Bank of Ireland; in May 2011, Nama sold €80m of Mr Quinlan's debt secured on his 13 per cent equity in the luxury Maybourne hotel group for €50m. In September 2011 an entity controlled by the Barclay Brothers purchased the £660m debt relating to the Maybourne Hotel Group from Nama.

A rake of other house, property investments and debt sales also contributed to the reduction in his debts.

Mr Quinlan's Achilles heel, however, is his investments in the Irish Glass Bottle site in Ringsend in Dublin and the Georgia Club, a golf resort in Georgia in the US, where he has substantial personal debts.

Mr Quinlan received €2m in loans in 2010 from four Irish businessmen to fund what Nama called "day-to-day expenses" in an epic courtroom battle in London for the Maybourne hotel group last week.

The Sunday Independent understands that one of the four people who loaned Mr Quinlan money was Denis O'Brien, the telecoms entrepreneur. Mr O'Brien, Nama and Mr Quinlan all declined to comment.

The money from the four businessmen was used to fund the financier when he needed to hire up experts to help him repay the billions he owed the taxpayer as well as pay his travel bills.

Last week the High Court in London dismissed an application by Mr McKillen, the Belfast-born property investor, to keep his financial position confidential as part of the Maybourne battle. This clears the way for it to emerge how much Mr McKillen has repaid taxpayer-owned Anglo Irish Bank to date as well as the full scale of his assets.

Sunday Indo Business

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