Sunday 22 April 2018

Glass Bottle developer to rebuild empire in Middle East

Dearbhail McDonald Legal Editor

DEVELOPER Bernard McNamara, who is financially 'broke' and facing debts of €1bn, is beginning the task of rebuilding his empire in the Middle East.

Mr McNamara (60) is acting as a private consultant to a company that has formed a joint venture to pursue property projects in Qatar in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The Irish Independent has learned that Mr McNamara has made frequent trips in recent times to the Gulf state, but the nature or scale of the developments the consortium is pursuing are not known.

Details of payments the Clare-born builder is due to receive for his consultancy work in the UAE have been sought by a group of private investors amassed by Davy Stockbrokers who backed the ill-fated acquisition of the former Irish Glass Bottle Site.

The ongoing row with the Davy investors is a matter of huge sensitivity to both parties and details of the Qatar venture, revealed in the course of the Davy proceedings, could not be confirmed by a spokesman for Mr McNamara last night.

Mr McNamara's pursuit of new business interests in the Middle East comes as difficulties mount for the developer at home. Last month the four-star Killeshin Hotel in Portlaoise was placed into receivership by Anglo Irish Bank, which bankrolled the Glass Bottle deal.

Anglo is believed to be owed some €20m by the hotel in which Mr McNamara has a 50pc interest.


The former Glass Bottle site, bought three years ago in a deal worth €426m by Becbay, a consortium led by Mr McNamara and including the Davy private clients, is now valued at less than €60m.

Earlier this year Ringsend Property Limited (RPL), a Jersey-registered company into which the interests of the Davy investors were transferred last year, sought and secured a €62.5m personal judgment against Mr McNamara.

As part of its efforts to execute the judgment, RPL got a High Court order to compel Mr McNamara to file a full statement of affairs detailing all of his assets and their value, whether those assets were held in Ireland or abroad and whether they were held solely, jointly or on trust.

RPL also sought details of all property transfers or assets to family members or connected parties and companies from 2005 to 2010 and details of Mr McNamara's shareholding in Michael McNamara and Co, the construction firm founded by his father.

Bernard McNamara, who resisted attempts by RPL to disclose details of any projects that Michael McNamara and Co is involved in -- claiming that they were "irrelevant" and not within the ambit of any information RPL was entitled to -- disclosed that he was acting as a consultant to the joint venture pursuing new opportunities in the Gulf. Last month the developer avoided having to publicly disclose the extent of the collapse of his personal and corporate wealth when he reached an agreement with the Davy investors to provide a full statement of affairs.

The judgment, the largest personal guarantee debt ever granted in the Irish courts, is still outstanding. However, the deal reached between RPL and Mr McNamara means that his personal wealth will not now be disclosed.

Irish Independent

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