Business World

Monday 21 October 2019

Smyth's UK switch 'not about filing for bankruptcy'

Noel Smyth
Noel Smyth

Gordon Deegan

DEVELOPER and solicitor Noel Smyth said a recent move to the UK is "absolutely not" about pursuing a bankruptcy filing.

Mr Smyth's UK-based property group plunged into the red last year after writing down the value of investment properties by £38.9m (€47.5m).

Accounts just filed by UK-registered Alburn Holdings show the group recorded a pre-tax loss of £26.4m after recording the writedown.

Documents filed with the Companies House in the UK show that Mr Smyth's principal place of residence is now England, with the Dublin solicitor changing his service address from Sandyford in Dublin to a flat on Tooting Bec Road, London, effective from November 4 last year.

In an interview yesterday, Mr Smyth said the change was made "for tax purposes", adding: "It's no big deal".

"If the suggestion is that the change is being done to pursue bankruptcy in England, absolutely not," he said. "I have a successful business in Ireland, I have a successful business in the UK. It is tough at the moment, but I am getting on with it."

Speaking from London, Mr Smyth said that he had worked in the UK for the last 25 years.

He said: "I live in Dublin, but I would work in the UK a couple of days each week."

Mr Smyth said he would not be commenting on his dealings with NAMA, which were "off-limits" after he signed a confidentiality agreement.

The figures show that Alburn Holdings Ltd's loss in the 12 months to the end of June last followed the group recording a pre-tax profit of £8.2m in 2010.

Mr Smyth's most high-profile property business here holds the largest stake in the Square at Tallaght. Last year, NAMA took possession of Mr Smyth's entire art collection of almost 400 pieces as part of a down-payment on debts owed by Mr Smyth's Irish-based Alburn.

Figures show that at the end of June last, the group had a shareholders' deficit of £15.7m.

A write-down in investment properties resulted in the value of the group's tangible assets decreasing from £170m to £133.6m.

Irish Independent

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