Thursday 14 December 2017

Vulture comes in to roost

Glenveagh Properties new COO Stephen Garvey and CEO Justin Bickle, the MD of Oaktree. The new company will float on the Dublin and London stock markets next Tuesday
Glenveagh Properties new COO Stephen Garvey and CEO Justin Bickle, the MD of Oaktree. The new company will float on the Dublin and London stock markets next Tuesday
Donal O'Donovan

Donal O'Donovan

Glenveagh CEO Justin Bickle is as far from the archetypal shovel-handed Irish builder as its possible to get, but he is no stranger to Irish construction.

In 2010 he led US investment giant Oaktree's rescue bid for McInerney Homes, one of the country's biggest house builders. The bid failed because of resistance from McInerney's lenders, but Oaktree has stuck around.

The US firm, which managed a massive $99bn of assets, has gobbled up billions of euro of distressed Irish property loans from Nama and other Irish banks - overseen by Bickle from Oaktree's London office.

The English solicitor is a senior executive at the LA-headquartered 'vulture fund' and was previously a London-based partner at Cadwalader. That law firm specialises in advising bondholders in often bruising corporate insolvency cases. He's also chairman of the English National Ballet.

On the ground in Ireland, Oaktree has developed a close working relationship with Nama. As well as buying Nama loans, in 2013 Oaktree, Nama and Irish builder Bennet Group struck a deal to combine their sites in Dublin's South Docks into a qualifying investor fund, managed by Oaktree, that has developed major offices in the area.

Less happily, Oaktree was widely criticised last year when tenants at the Strand apartment block in Limerick were given notice their leases wouldn't be renewed, and homes sold, following Oaktree's acquisition from Nama of loans secured on the properties.

Irish Independent

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