Saturday 16 December 2017

Nama sold its prime Mayfair site too early

TRANSFER: Derek Quinlan
TRANSFER: Derek Quinlan

It's watch through your fingers stuff.

A Derek Quinlan-led consortium bought a multi-storey car park in Audley Street in Mayfair during the boom.

It was described as one of London's ugliest buildings - but Quinlan and his backers were going to level the building and develop luxury apartments for the super rich bang in the centre of the upmarket London neighbourhood.

When the crash came, Quinlan's loans transferred to Nama. At the height of the financial crisis in 2011 and just two months before the Troika jackboots were heard, Nama offloaded the valuable site to telecoms billionaire John Caudwell for around stg£155m (€211m).

Pro-Nama media trumpeted the fact that the state body had made a €96m profit on the transaction, as the stg£125m in Quinlan loans had transferred to the agency for just stg £40m.

That sale looks anything but smart now. Last week Caudwell unveiled plans to create a €2.73bn luxury apartment scheme on the site, with flats selling for over €100m.

While Nama will defend the deal, it's pretty clear that the taxpayer could have done much better by holding on rather than selling in the midst of financial panic.

Wouldn't you just love to play poker against them?

Sunday Indo Business

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