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Smyth to lose control of UK portfolio

Property developer Noel Smyth and his Alburn Real Estate company are set to lose control of a UK property portfolio valued at its peak at £200m (€233m).

Financial advisers, Brookland Partners, brought in to advise on the portfolio, have recommended that all the assets be sold off, after they rejected a rescue plan put forward by Mr Smyth.

Brookland claims the assets will make no more than £140m, even though the debts behind the assets are considerably larger.

Brookland recommended the assets in the portfolio be sold down, either through a consensual sale process or through an insolvency process.

Mr Smyth, a solicitor and experienced property investor, has been battling hard to keep control of the UK property, which has suffered in declines in value.

Mr Smyth could not be reached for comment on the latest developments yesterday.

It is understood that Mr Smyth recently put forward an offer to lenders that he hoped would block efforts to sell off the company.

But Brookland recommends a "managed sell down of the assets''

The bankers claimed Mr Smyth failed to provide "satisfactory evidence'' that his scheme was viable.

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 is in default on some of the loans and faces calls from lenders for a fire sale to repay debts.

Last-minute offer

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

Mr Smyth is working consensually in Ireland on his Irish debts with NAMA and it recently took control of his large art collection.

It is understood Mr Smyth is hoping to reduce his Irish debts further through asset disposals. He recently told the Irish Independent he was happy to work with NAMA and had agreed to meet any targets they require of him.

Mr Smyth's key asset is the Square in Tallaght, one of the largest retail complexes in Dublin.

Irish Independent