Business The Punt

Friday 20 April 2018

The Punt: Bids in for Project Abbey

NAMA's headquarters in Dublin city centre
NAMA's headquarters in Dublin city centre

The auld vultures (if that's what they really are) just can't help themselves some times.

A host of major international funds have bid for loans being sold by Nama tied to developer Pat Doherty's Harcourt Developments.

US firms Oaktree Capital Management, Starwood Capital and Apollo Global Management have all bid for the portfolio, known as Project Abbey, as have America's Davidson Kempner and Germany's Deutsche Bank. They have submitted a joint bid for the loans.

Pat Doherty was one of the highest profile developers on both sides of the border.

His signature Titanic Quarter in Belfast is not included in the portfolio. Instead, the Park West retail park in Dublin along with five regional centres, a number of hotels, and a development site in Los Angeles are included.

According to industry website CoStar, second round bids will be due in the middle of next month.

Abbey, which has a par value of €750m, is one of three Nama portfolios in play at present. It is also selling Projects Emerald and Ruby.

First round bids for those - which have a par value of €4.7bn - went in last week.

A Leave of absence row

Vote Leave's chief executive, Matthew Elliott, isn't endearing himself to the MPs on the Commons Treasury Committee. Elliott has had his knuckles rapped for not appearing before the Committee as planned. And it's not the first time.

Committee chairman Andrew Tyrie said Elliott's failure to appear before members in recent days was "unacceptable".

He pulled out of an earlier hearing for what was described by the committee as "understandable personal reasons".

However, the committee said that after being asked last week to attend today, Elliott had just informed them he would not be appearing as he had a prior arrangement to meet politicians in Switzerland.

Mr Tyrie said: "Mr Elliott's decision is unacceptable, and does not reflect well on Vote Leave. Vote Leave's response to requests to give evidence is not making parliament's job any easier."

The committee has questioning various individuals from both sides in the debate.

Boris Johnson, who campaigns for Leave, and former Marks and Spencer boss Lord Rose, who heads up the official Remain campaign, are among those to have received a rough ride when they appeared. Running scared, Matthew?

O'Driscoll still plugged in

Sean O'Driscoll isn't planning on turning down the heat in his new role as president at Glen Dimplex.

The Irish owner of brands such as Morphy Richards and Belling announced sweeping management changes this week. O'Driscoll, the long-time chief executive, has taken on the new mantle of president, as founder and the incumbent in the role, Martin Naughton, steps down from executive involvement in the business.

O'Driscoll (58), who'll remain full-time at the company, has been succeeded as CEO by Naughton's son, Fergal, who was deputy CEO.

Glen Dimplex and its management are generally media-shy. But in an interview with the Irish Independent in 2013, O'Driscoll recounted that he had dreamed of being an accountant. His father was a creamery manager in Drimoleague, west Cork, (which is where the new RTE director general, Dee Forbes, also grew up).

"I woke up one morning after doing my Inter Cert and decided I wanted to be an accountant," O'Driscoll said in the interview, noting that his first year of his commerce degree in UCC included diverse subjects such as medieval English and applied psychology. He joined Glen Dimplex in 1990.

Irish Independent

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