Business Irish

Monday 20 November 2017

'Unknown' bankrupt developer racked up €250m debt

Tom Lyons

A businessman whose companies had debts of €250m has gone bankrupt in the UK – the latest in a raft of once high-flying Irish developers to do so.

Michael Conway Jnr joins a long list, which includes Bernard McNamara, John Fleming and Paddy Shovlin, of Ireland's exiled property bankrupts.

Conway Jnr, who hails from Dripsey, Co Cork, quietly went bankrupt in Chelmsford County Court in Britain last May. He is due to be discharged in three months' time.

Conway Jnr's business interests, held primarily through the Conway Partnership with three other businessmen, was valued at over €500m at the peak of the boom in an accountants' report based on Ireland's then crazy property values.

The Conway Partnership and a variety of other business interests of Conway Jnr's owed Bank of Ireland alone over €60m when Ireland's property market crashed.

This money related to housing developments and a major mixed redevelopment Conway hoped to build at City Square, Watercourse Road, Cork.

Another €40m was owed to Anglo Irish Bank and €130m to Ulster Bank by partnerships and companies in which Conway had a stake.

Loans from Ulster Bank were drawn down in 2006, 2007 and 2009 after his companies found themselves with expensive landbanks in Dennehy's Cross, Cork, with planning permission for 143 residential units, and a 63-acre site at Castletreasure, Douglas, Cork. Both sites saw their value wiped out when property crashed.

The Conway Partnership's other three partners are Conway's father, Michael Snr, and businessmen Padraig 'Paudie' Dennehy and Kieran Conway. Dennehy also went bankrupt in Britain in Croydon County Court in December last year. He is now living in Surrey and describes himself as a project manager in his bankruptcy petition.

Irish Independent

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