Thursday 19 July 2018

Bert Allen and his family enjoyed a big payday in 2016 from the sale of Slaney Foods to Larry Goodman's ABP Foods, with €250m estimated to have been paid for a 50pc stake. The firm had about 6pc of the Irish market, mainly in beef and lamb and big contracts with the likes of Lidl and McDonald's which made it a prize for ABP.

Allen also has a stake in renewable energy outfit Gaelectric, but the fate of his share in that looks uncertain. A group of several financial organisations provided debt to back the firm's ambitions, as did US private equity outfit Lone Star, according to reports. But it has undergone a restructuring in the past year and lost several key senior executives. The original investors, including Allen, may have taken a hit.

KPMG was hired last October to seek buyers for some of the firm's assets after a partnership deal with Chinese giant CNGEE that should have helped address the debt problems went sour, after it had bought €400m of wind farms from Gaelectric. The level of the debt may result in a break-up of wind farms and solar projects. The family also has other interests, however. They made an expertly-timed sale of the Bewleys Hotel Group for €580m in 2008, just before the economic crash, which is thought to have netted them about €200m at the time.

Owned in a complex web of UK and offshore companies is an extensive property portfolio worth at least €450m throughout Germany that generates a rent roll of over €40m. Net debt is about €190m. It includes nursing homes, land, apartments, office blocks and a car park. There is also a chateau in France run as luxury hotel. He is also developing an apartment block at Harold's Cross in Dublin and is involved in a joint venture in Cork to develop its port facilities.

Allen (79) collects Eileen Gray furniture and has restored her Brownswood family home near Enniscorthy in Co Wexford. One of the designer's chairs was worth €22m. Meanwhile, Bert's son, Bertram, is a successful showjumper.

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