Monday 20 November 2017

The Punt: Is Project Jewel going to turn out glittering for its new owners?

The Dundrum Town Centre
The Dundrum Town Centre

Did Hammerson and Allianz Real Estate over-pay for the loans tied to Dublin's Dundrum Town Centre? That is the question posed by analysts from Bank of America Merrill Lynch in a new research note for clients.

Merrill's Mike Bessell and Sam Warwood wonder if the Project Jewel loans portfolio, "will prove to be carat diamond or cubic zirconia".

Apart from the Dundrum loans, Jewel also contained loans tied to holdings in the Ilac Centre and Pavilions in Dublin.

Messrs Bessell and Warwood question the amount Hammerson forked out for the loans. By looking at comparable property deals, they suggest the price paid was on the high side. The other big issue the analysts see is whether Hammerson will ultimately be able to take control of the shopping centres outright.

Finally, Merrill notes the "history" surrounding the potential development of an area beside the Ilac Centre and the sensitivity there may be to an overseas firm seeking to build there. Clearly, Merrill isn't sold on Project Jewel just yet.

Swede smell of success as Virgin Media's Ireland boss gets new job

Having overseen the transition from UPC to Virgin Media, including acting as Richard Branson's foil at this month's massive media launch, Magnus Ternsjo is leaving Ireland for pastures new.

The Swedish executive is taking up a new role as head of UPC Hungary - a sister company within Liberty Global.

He's been in Ireland since June 2013 when he took over from Dana Strong when she moved on to become chief operating officer at Virgin Media UK.

Since Ternsjo's appointment, the former UPC Ireland has launched Horizon and a new mobile service for consumers, and earlier this month unveiled the Virgin Media brand to Ireland.

UPC's parent, Liberty Global, also bought the TV3 broadcasting business here this year.

In his new role, Magnus will be responsible for a business with 1200 employees, serving more than 700,000 cable customers. An announcement about a successor as head of the Irish business will be made "in due course", Virgin Media said yesterday.

Irish Independent

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