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Friday 20 September 2019

Dunne plans to co-operate with NAMA takeover

Sean Dunne. Photo: Courtpix
Sean Dunne. Photo: Courtpix

Emmet Oliver Deputy Business Editor

Developer Sean Dunne last night said he would take NAMA's moves against his property empire "on the chin" and he planned to fully co-operate with the bad bank over €350m of outstanding debt.

Speaking to the Irish Independent, Mr Dunne said there was no plan to take legal action against NAMA and he accepted there could be consequences from not being able to repay the funds borrowed by companies linked to his DCD Builders Ltd firm.

"I've lost €165m of my own money in the company remember, in terms of equity invested," he said.

"They've taken down bigger men than me," added Mr Dunne.

NAMA has put several of his Irish properties into receivership, which will be handled by Grant Thornton.

Among the buildings caught up in the receivership are Hume House in the centre of Dublin and also the Riverside complex of offices on Sir John Rogerson's Quay.

Mr Dunne's overseas assets are, however, not impacted -- at least not at this point. It also emerged last night that his headquarters building, at 67 Merrion Square, will be part of the receivership, too. The process will be led by experienced insolvency expert Paul McGann, who was involved in the administration of Quinn Insurance.

"At the end of the day it's only money," said Mr Dunne. "I would swap it all for the health of my children.

"I will be fully co-operating," he said of the receivership.

Mr Dunne's firms took loans from Irish Nationwide and Bank of Ireland to build up a largely Dublin-based property portfolio. But these loans are now held by NAMA, which sent in receivers last night.


Mr Dunne described the decision in a statement as disappointing, although the developer will continue to operate the D4 hotels in Dublin, where about 250 people are employed.

Asked how he would cope with losing so many of his Irish assets, Mr Dunne said he was not worried or apprehensive.

"I'll take it on the chin and roll on," he said.

He said NAMA and his company had worked well together for months, but something had changed in recent weeks.

"It was a shock given that the progress made on our Nama business plan to date was excellent, and well beyond expectations in very tough market conditions.

"There was no indication of any deterioration in our relationship with Nama, and indeed they specifically complimented my team, and I, for our full co-operation."

The developer said he had no idea whether NAMA would pursue him further over outstanding debts, but he said he had given extensive personal guarantees and NAMA could pursue these. But he added there was nothing NAMA could do to stop developers bouncing back in time.

"They don't have a hold over people's skills," he said.

NAMA declined to comment on why the action was taken against Mr Dunne at this time. It is understood the Co Carlow developer had committed to selling a large range of assets, but it now appears this was deemed insufficient.

Mr Dunne said in his statement: "We proposed that NAMA send in a representative to work alongside and supervise our dedicated team, which would be more cost-effective than the appointment of receivers. Unfortunately, this proposal was declined."

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