Thursday 22 February 2018

Smyth in last-ditch battle to block UK assets sale as debts hit €214m


Noel Smyth
Noel Smyth

Donal O'Donovan

NOEL Smyth is battling hard to keep control of a UK property portfolio with debts of €214m, the Irish Independent has learned.

The developer and solicitor is locked in a struggle to keep control of Alburn Real Estate Capital, a company that owns a portfolio of 45 British properties valued at £130m (€150m).

It is understood that Mr Smyth has put forward an offer to lenders that he hopes will block efforts to sell off the company, leaving him with huge losses.

It's the latest twist in a long- running and increasingly complicated saga. Alburn was bought with money borrowed via complex multi-layered debts.

Now it's in default on some of the loans and faces calls from lenders for a fire sale to repay debt. If that happens Mr Smyth and many of the lenders would be left with nothing. The properties are valued at £130m, but £184m is owed to bondholders.

Mr Smyth's last-minute offer is thought to involve buying back some of Alburn's debt at a steep discount in order to regain control of the assets.

Irish Independent

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