Tuesday 25 September 2018

Ballymore aims for flotation in five years

SHANE ROSS

THE launch of Sean Mulryan's Ballymore International Developments is set to be completed this week, following a series of successful presentations to investors in recent days.

One of the principal attractions of the launch is the promoters' commitment to a medium term "liquidity" event. Documents seen by the Sunday Independent refer to the "objective of a stock market flotation within a five- to eight-year time frame".

The fund raising represents a first-ever opportunity for outside investors to buy into Mulryan's enterprises.

The company does not intend to seek a public quotation yet, but its shares will be quoted on the "grey market" within three years. This will enable initial investors to exit before the shares apply for a full quote.

The grey market will be operated by Davy stockbrokers working outside the stock exchange dealing rules. But the promoters are insistent that the offering is targeting long-term investors, with horizons of more than five years.

Ballymore International is seeking to raise 250m for a portfolio of assets in city centre locations globally, all to be developed for mixed use. This follows its successful pattern in an already widening territory of investments.

Ballymore Properties, Mr Mulryan's principal vehicle, is putting 250m of its assets into the new company. The deal is structured to give him a clear majority interest. Further equity will be provided by gearing of 500m

The new company is raising funds from a mix of institutional and high-net-worth clients. The minimum investment will be 500,000.

It is understood that presentations have already been made to London brokers and that Davy presented before institutional investors and pension funds last week. A bookbuilding exercise is to take place in the coming days to determine the price.

Last night a spokesman for Ballymore said that, "the response from potential investors is way above our expectations".

Ballymore Group is 99.5 per cent owned by Sean Mulryan. It was founded in 1982 with operations in Ireland, the UK and continental Europe. Today it develops properties in Hungary, the Czech Republic, Romania and France.

It opened a London office in 1992 and is now the largest developer in the Docklands there. Its latest venture is expected to take the Mulryan interests further afield, in an ambitious drive to bring the company's experience into the US, Russia,China and India.

According to company sources, Ballymore currently has 50 projects under construction with an estimated gross development value of over 30bn.

Ballymore founder Sean Mulryan chairs a high-profile board which includes Michael Smurfit, formerly chairman and chief executive of Smurfit Group, until his retirement last year.

It also includes Dr Peter Bacon, famous for the Bacon Report on property which advised the Government on how to control prices in the property market.

The fourth member of the board, Brian Fagan, the Group Finance director, is a former employee of DCC.

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