Tuesday 21 January 2020

Developer says he'll repay €24.9m loans to US firm

Peter Flanagan

DEVELOPER Michael O'Flynn has offered to repay his personal loans to the US investment company that is seeking to take control of his construction empire.

Mr O'Flynn said he has the money available to repay all of his personal loans, amounting to tens of millions of euro, with Carbon Finance Limited, a subsidiary of US private equity giant Blackstone.

He confirmed he has written to Carbon, stating he has "funds available not only to immediately repay the loans in respect of demands which were served on him and total some €16.7m, but also to repay all of his personal loans with Carbon Finance Limited totalling €24.9m."

Carbon moved two weeks ago to appoint an examiner to four of Mr O'Flynn's companies, which will smooth the way to take over the O'Flynn construction empire.

Mr O'Flynn has gone to court to have the interim examiner removed. A decision is expected in the High Court today.

Blackstone paid NAMA €1.1bn in April to buy business and personal loans tied to Mr O'Flynn that had a face value of €1.8bn. At the time of the sale by NAMA, it had been expected that the US investment giant would work with Mr O'Flynn to develop his business, however that relationship quickly turned sour.

Blackstone subsidiary Carbon Finance sought the immediate repayment of some €16m worth of loans from Mr O'Flynn. If Mr O'Flynn was unable to repay the loans, that would trigger a default on more than a billion worth of corporate loans.

The O'Flynn loans include borrowings secured against a host of assets across Ireland, the UK and Germany, including the 17-storey Elysian Tower in Cork city, the highest residential building in the Republic.

According to Mr O'Flynn, Carbon demanded the repayment of his personal loans on July 29, and "followed up in a matter of hours with a series of steps including the appointment of receivers over the assets of a number of O'Flynn Group companies".

When Carbon had the interim examiner appointed, Mr O'Flynn said he was "completely surprised and shocked" by the move. "The O'Flynn Group loans and some separate personal loans are fully serviced and all payments are up to date," he said.

"Since NAMA completed on their loan sale, I have been in discussion with representatives of Blackstone with a view to agreeing a framework to take the business forward.

"This development represents a very unexpected and aggressive move on the part of Blackstone Group," he said.

In court, the developer claimed the interim examiner application was an improper takeover attempt.

Irish Independent

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