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Treasury Holdings makes last ditch bid to line up investors

Treasury Holdings is desperately trying to save the business from receivership as NAMA gives it until the end of the month to repay almost €1bn in loans. Treasury is in talks with several US and UK property companies and funds in an attempt to re-finance its loans out of NAMA.

It is understood Ernst & Young are on stand-by if a receivership application is lodged by NAMA in the next fortnight. The company's assets in Ireland and the UK would be involved in any receivership (or administration) proceedings. Ernst & Young are already disposing of the Battersea site on behalf of NAMA and Lloyds Banking Group.

NAMA has been asking to give the company a "window'' to try and bring in fresh investment, but the scale of the debts involved will make this extremely challenging.

The company's relationship with NAMA has soured in recent weeks and it suffered a major setback when its linked company Real Estate Opportunities (REO) lost control of the Battersea Power station project.

Treasury declined to comment yesterday on how it intends to meet the latest demands from NAMA. The company did sign a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with NAMA in December 2010, but progress towards a more formal agreement -- known as a term sheet -- has been slow.

If the company is taken into receivership, it could have serious implications for the two main players in Treasury -- Johnny Ronan and Richard Barrett. NAMA, for instance, could seek to chase debts owed by them personally.

Treasury, an unlimited company, is heavily indebted, although its precise level of debt has not been disclosed.

It is the majority shareholder in REO, and that company had total debts of £1.7bn at the end of February. Of this, bank loans amounted to just over £1bn.

Apart from REO, Treasury also has a share in an Asian property company called Treasury China Trust, or TCT.

Treasury was founded in the late 1980s by Barrett and Ronan, who own the company. In recent years the company has recruited a number of outside figures, including John Bruder, a former AIB bank executive, a lawyer from Arthur Cox, and ex-civil servant Rory Williams.

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Ironically, the MOU, agreed with NAMA in 2010, provided fresh working capital for Treasury, but it appears NAMA has now started to question the company's long-term strategy.

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