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Satiric Video Wins Uniquely Dublin Competition


City branding is a tricky thing.  Cities are complex constellations of people, places, and events that although perhaps characterised by particular overarching ‘auras’ are nevertheless experienced in subjective ways.  Moreover, city branding is also generally concerned with presenting a marketable version of the city that can be used to attract inward investment.  So there is a constant tension then between giving voice to a version of the city that is reflective of the reality of urban life and presenting one that is going to be appealing to an external audience.  Even outside of such economic concerns, there are many different ways to represent the city in both positive and negative terms.  The city is a many-splendored thing that also encompasses the less desirable aspects of urban life that banding campaigns tend to obfuscate.

This may have been a lesson learnt by many in Ireland’s capital last week when the Uniquely Dublin competition announced its perhaps unlikely winning entry.  Uniquely Dublin was organised by Dublin City Council and the Little Museum, along with Tourism Ireland and Dublin Bus.  The competition website gave the following instructions:

“We’re looking for entries that celebrate Dublin today. If you have something original to say, we want to hear it. Show us something that surprises or delights us. It could be a cartoon of your favourite character or a poem on Sandymount Strand. It could be a poster for the new Dublin or a piece of local slang as we’ve never seen or heard it before. It could be a painting, a slogan, a piece of propaganda or even a song. Make us look at Dublin with fresh eyes. Your eyes.  All you have to do is make a piece of work in one of the competition categories [film, animation, photography, graphic design, written word, visual arts, music] and send it to us. Works will be shortlisted by our distinguished panel of judges and then the public will decide the overall winner”.

Some of the shortlisted entries (which can be viewed here and here) are earnest in tone, but the eventual winner took a more irreverent approach to representing the city.  The winning video entry entitled “Dublin City: a Radical Science Guide”, produced by Oisin Byrne and Gary Farrelly, has been described as “Flann O’Brien-esque satire” by the competition organisers.  In the video we are guided through a Dublin where Liffey water cures syphilis, the national parliament shares its premises with Europe’s largest brothel, and the Spire is a commemoration of Ireland’s space programme.  But as with any satire worth its salt, underneath the absurdity the video also presents an exaggerated depiction of current social realities in Ireland: gorgeous Georgian frontages masking cheap social housing and ‘Grafton Street’ a consumer wasteland of boarded-up shops.

Though tongue-in-cheek the video stands in clear contrast to the version of Ireland Inc that has been presented to the world, a depiction that frequently underplays the impacts of austerity in favour of putting a positive spin on the country.  That the overall winner of Uniquely Dublin was decided by public vote is perhaps significant.  Who knows, maybe the fantastical depiction of Dublin presented in Byrne and Farrelly’s video seemed more real to the voting public than the rosy outlook of the official discourse.

Cian O’Callaghan

via Satiric Video Wins Uniquely Dublin Competition | Ireland after NAMA.

via Satiric Video Wins Uniquely Dublin Competition | Ireland after NAMA.

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(Some) Irish super-rich bricking it as secretive offshore haven leaks confidential information | NAMA Wine Lake


We are expecting a comprehensive list by the end of this week, but the partial leaking of lists of directors and shareholders of companies in the secretive offshore tax, banking and corporate-regulation haven of the British Virgin Islands has already caused waves with the campaign manager for French president Francois Hollande being forced to reveal his business relationship with a Chinese partner, and a Mongolian politician saying he might have to resign. The partial and full lists are/should be, available here.

But in Ireland, we know that the BVI has been a destination of choice for Irish property developers, as well as businessmen and women generally. After all, its (hitherto!) secrecy and tax regime have been attracting such titans of Irish business as the (Sean) Quinn family and Ray Grehan. A BVI registered company is after NAMAed Paddy Kelly, now in Florida. There is nothing illegal or untoward about incorporating BVI companies, but there are long-held suspicions that the secrecy provided by the BVI has been abused. You cannot generally find out the shareholders, directors or financial information of companies incorporated in the BVI, it’s all hidden behind nominees like BVI solicitors. This leaking has changed all that.

The Revenue Commissioners and NAMA will be just two state agencies chomping at the bit to get their hands on the lists which might expose omissions in tax returns and disclosures of assets. NAMA has already reported two developers to the Gardai, apparently for false statements made in connection with business plans, which you might recall required developers (and sometimes their spouses) to provide sworn affidavits. NAMA has engaged lawyers in the BVI previously.

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via (Some) Irish super-rich bricking it as secretive offshore haven leaks confidential information | NAMA Wine Lake.

via (Some) Irish super-rich bricking it as secretive offshore haven leaks confidential information | NAMA Wine Lake.

NAMA may not be included in forthcoming extension of Freedom of Information legislation


NAMA may not be included in forthcoming extension of Freedom of Information legislation

 

Democracy is more than the ballot box without information democracy becomes a farce

What are they hiding?

Although An Taoiseach committed to reforming the Freedom of Information legislation by the end of 2012, and although that is another timed-commitment missed – like the Seanad referendum – commitment, it seems that in 2013, there will at least be a new Bill, though it’s by no means certain that the new legislation will extend as far as NAMA.

Yesterday, the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Brendan Howlin appeared before the Oireachtas Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform committee and discussed the extension of Freedom of Information legislation to several new organizations including An Garda Siochana and the Department of Defence. Of primary interest on here is NAMA, but it remains uncertain if NAMA will be included in the new Bill, and if so, to what extent its activities will open to scrutiny.

Minister Howlin stressed that NAMA’s commercial remit may make some requests unacceptable.

This concern is really a diversion on the Minister’s part, because there are existing exclusions under our FoI legislation to protect the necessary commercial sensitivity of transactions undertaken on our behalf by the State. The assessment on here, over the past three years, is NAMA is intrinsically opposed to transparency. We saw this with the extraordinary resistance to the determination by the Information Commissioner Emily O’Reilly that NAMA be subject to environment requests – that resistance is still being played out in the High Court.

The resistance is understandable. NAMA is a new Agency with colossal power and money, and is under constant pressure from those wishing to take a bite out of that power and money. NAMA is not excessively resourced compared to its competitors and dealing with FoI requests can take considerable time. And NAMA will not want mistakes, which it like any large organization will inevitably commit at some point, brought to light where they can undermine the morale and effectiveness of the Agency.

When are we likely to see the new Freedom of Information legislation? The changes will be published in the forthcoming session, says Minister Howlin, which means by the end of March 2013. Will NAMA definitely be included? Not “definitely”, although Minister Howlin was emphatic on “Tonight with Vincent Browne” on 10th October 2011 when he said “we will introduce FOI to NAMA”. Will Freedom of Information which excludes requests which might be deemed commercially sensitive, be of any use? Oh yes indeed, I for one would like to see the independent valuation report which NAMA claims it had before selling a property in Lucan to Enda Farrell, okay, the figures might be redacted but it would put to bed once and for all the doubt over whether NAMA did get an independent valuation.

[Juno McEnroe in the Irish Examiner today has a detailed report on yesterday’s Oireachtas committee proceedings, the transcript of which won’t be available for a few days]

via NAMA Wine Lake.

via NAMA Wine Lake.

Budget 2013: Property and NAMA


Budget 2013: Property and NAMA

December 5, 2012 by namawinelake

This afternoon in the Dail, the finance and public expenditure and reform ministers, Michael Noonan and Brendan Howlin presented Budget 2013. All the associated documents are here. These are the tax measures. These are the cuts to services and welfare. Overall, the Government presented a positive assessment of the economy overall and confirmed that it expects to beat the deficit target for 2012 with an actual of 8.2% versus the target of 8.6% in the Memorandum of Understanding with the programme finance Troika. So, what about the NAMA and property aspects of the Budget 2013 announcements?

(1) NAMA is to ramp up its provision of residential property for social housing in 2013. This is grossly unfair on NAMA which has already made 3,800 homes available to Government which has only overseen the acquisition of 133 homes to date, including 58 in 2011. So much for environment minister, Phil Hogan’s fanfare last December 2011, indicating that NAMA would provide 2,000 homes in the short term.

(2) NAMA has spent €650m of the €2bn investment announced in May 2012.

(3) The property tax will come into effect from 1st July 2013. Residential property will be self-assessed by homeowners and the tax will be collected by the Revenue Commissioners. The tax is payable by owners rather than occupiers unless they’re both the same of course.

(4) So far, claims the Government – opponents have different figures – 66% of households have paid the €100 household charge in 2012 which was supposed to have been paid by 31st March 2012. From 1st July 2013, the Revenue Commissioners will collect arrears on this charge, and from 1st�July 2013, the arrears will rise from €100 to €200.

(5) The property charge will be 0.18% on homes worth less than €1m and will be 0.25% on homes worth more than €1m, but only on the element in excess of €1m. If a home is worth less than €100,000 then the assessed value will be €50,000. Above €100,000 there are bands of €50,000 and the assessed value will be the midpoint of the band, eg your home is worth €130,000 then the assessed value will be €125,000, if your home is worth €205,000 then the assessed value will be €225,000.

(6) In 2013 only, only 50% of the annual charge will be payable.

(7) There will be exemptions for three years for first time buyers in 2013, and buyers of homes which were previously vacant and unlived in.

(8) There will be no waivers, only deferrals so if you can’t pay, the charge will be added to a tab� which will be payable when you sell or die.

(9) In 2013, if you have a second property and are presently paying the non principal private residence tax of €200, you will continue to pay that tax in 2013, IN ADDITION to the new charge. From 1st January 2014, you will only need pay the property tax, with the NPPR abolished, but only from 1st Jan 2014.

(10) Rental income will be subject to PRSI, typically about 4%.

(11) Real Estate Investment Trusts will be introduced in 2013. REITs are managed property investment funds and allow ordinary investors to invest in property without investing large sums with tax incentives. Typically, you buy a share in a property fund and then you get income on your share from rent and if property is sold at a profit. If you want out of the fund, you can sell your share. REITs have been promised since this administration came into office.

(12) There was no change to the incentives offered in last year’s budget, but mortgage relief for first time buyers will be ended as previously indicated by the end of December 2012. However first time buyers in 2013 will be exempted from the new property tax for three years.

Estate agents and property consultants Lisney have been quick out of the gates and have provided a response to the Budget 2013 announcements. They criticise the structure of the new property tax for a variety of reasons including no account of stamp duty and that it should be on occupiers rather than owners. With respect to REITs, James Nugent, the managing director of Lisney has this to say:

“REIT’s are publically traded property companies, where the majority of the assets of the company are income producing real estate assets. This will provide liquidity to the market and will allow investors participate in areas of the property market that they would not traditionally have had the opportunity to enter, i.e. it will allow them invest small sums of money in large-scale commercial properties. Given the relatively small size of the Irish market, it is likely that there will only be a limited number of REIT’s established, perhaps two or three. It is positive that this is being introduced at a time when property values are low. This is contrary to the situation in UK when they were introduced at the height of the market in 2007 and suffered large losses within a short period of time due to the falls in property values. REIT’s are also positive from the point of view that they will provide a new source of funding for property companies. A return of a listed property sector is to be welcomed, the added benefit of no taxation at company level is good news for the investor.”

via NAMA Wine Lake.

via NAMA Wine Lake.

Killilea Dunne ‘faces trial by the tabloids’ –


NAMA’S case against Gayle Killilea Dunne “is going to be tried in the tabloids and no place else”. That’s the blunt assessment of the former social diarist-turned-property developer’s US attorney, Philip Russell, after going head-to-head with the toxic loan agency’s lawyers in Connecticut last week.

Central to Nama’s claim against Ms Killilea Dunne is its belief that she acquired millions of dollars worth of properties in the exclusive town of Greenwich using money provided by her husband, the erstwhile Baron of Ballsbridge Sean Dunne. The Dunnes, for their part, insist there is no basis to Nama’s claim and say they are ready and able to disprove it in court.

But according to Ms Killilea Dunne’s lawyer, it’s unlikely she will ever have to take the stand.

Speaking to the Sunday Independent after meeting lawyers for Nama last Monday, Mr Russell said it was his view that they were now “hoping they can go back and curl up and make believe this (case) never happened”.

Following a hearing before Judge Douglas Mintz last July, Nama served papers seeking access to documents from the real estate agency Sotheby’s relating to property deals in Connecticut that it believes will support its case. While lawyers for the Dunnes had objected initially to the subpoena, last Monday they withdrew their objection.

Asked to describe what had happened in the case since Nama first filed their action against Ms Killilea Dunne last June, Mr Russell was scathing.

He said: “In June, Nama said under oath that they had an emergency basis to seek an injunction and that they had no other adequate remedy and they needed the court to intervene to stop Mrs Dunne from committing irreparable harm to property which was the property of Nama.

“The judge denied that application in July, but he said: ‘However, I will give you an opportunity to come in and have a hearing on October 22’. So Nama accepted that invitation from the court and we fully expected them to be there with their evidence as to why their claim should not be thrown out or denied again. Essentially, last Monday was the time for them to quote: ‘put up or shut up’.”

Asked to describe last Monday’s events at Stamford Superior Court, Mr Russell said: “When they came to court with four highly paid partners from the law firm of McCarter & English, one from New York, one from Hartford, one from Boston and one from Newark; when they showed up with these four titans of the law, we expected we would have our hearing. What we got instead was that the matter would be postponed until January 15.

“Now, usually in my limited experience, when you call the fire department to report a fire, you don’t tell them when they get there that you’d like them to wait six months before coming into the house. But apparently these four guys from McCarter & English are much smarter than I am. They understand things that I cannot.”

Asked what the response had been from Nama’s US attorneys to offers from Ms Killilea Dunne for full disclosure of her financial affairs on the condition that they sign a non-disclosure agreement in return, Mr Russell claimed: “They scoffed at it. We didn’t want the case to be tried in the press and it is. Apparently from their behaviour on Monday, my distinct impression is that it’s going to be tried in the tabloids and no place else, because later the same day, we resisted the application to go to January, we said we would like an immediate hearing. We said let’s come back in a week and hear it. When we did that, they withdrew their application and said ‘well, we’ll renew it if and when it’s appropriate’ which tells me they’re hoping they can go back and curl up and make believe this never happened.”

Commenting on Nama’s inclusion of newspaper clippings as evidence to support its original submission to the court, Mr Russell said: “It was an embarrassment and it still is. They have pursued every person Mrs Killilea Dunne has had business dealings with.

“They’ve served papers on them and made them sit for depositions under oath as if Mrs Killilea Dunne was someone sinister and as if she wasn’t worthy of credit and didn’t enjoy a good business reputation. We are looking at Mrs Killilea Dunne’s options when Nama either abandon this lawsuit or we convince the judge to dismiss this outright. This case is like Seinfeld, it’s the lawsuit about nothing.”

Asked by the Sunday Independent for comment on Nama’s action against Ms Killilea Dunne and her husband, a spokesman for the agency said as a matter of policy it does not comment on ongoing court cases.

via Killilea Dunne ‘faces trial by the tabloids’ – Courts, National News – Independent.ie.

via Killilea Dunne ‘faces trial by the tabloids’ – Courts, National News – Independent.ie.

Reilly had talked to NAMA about primary care centres


James Reilly: says no address was mentioned in discussions

HEALTH Minister James Reilly faces fresh questions about the location of a health centre in his constituency after it emerged he had discussed primary care centres with NAMA six months ago.

The minister has been accused of stroke politics in recent weeks, after two towns in his Dublin North constituency — Balbriggan and Swords — were added to a list of locations for primary care centres.

Yesterday it was confirmed that a meeting with NAMA took place on April 20 and a number of primary care locations were discussed, including Balbriggan.”However, no specific address was mentioned,” stressed Dr Reilly.

He added: “Within its commercial remit NAMA advises that it is at all times open to proposals which can contribute to the achievement of broader social and economic objectives. In this context many issues of interest to the health services were discussed.”

The confirmation by Dr Reilly that he met with the NAMA officials came in a parliamentary reply to Sinn Fein TD Pearse Doherty.

A spokesman for the minister said there had been “no discussion of any specific primary care site — NAMA would be precluded from so doing”.

But Mr Doherty raised further questions about whether Minister for Health James Reilly was “hands-on with the issue of the selection of a primary care centre site in Balbriggan”.

Divulge

He added: “Why did Minister Reilly not divulge this information before now?”

He said the minister had repeatedly stated that he had nothing to do with the choice of the site for the Balbriggan primary care centre.

During an Oireachtas debate in September, Dr Reilly said:”I had no hand, act nor part in this.”

The recent controversy over the location of primary care centres escalated after it was revealed that a Fine Gael associate, Seamus Murphy, originally owned the site in Balbriggan chosen for the primary care building.

However, it later transpired the site was in NAMA and the original owner would not benefit from its sale.

Mr Doherty said there continued to be unanswered questions about the Balbriggan site.

via Reilly had talked to NAMA about primary care centres – National News – Independent.ie.

via Reilly had talked to NAMA about primary care centres – National News – Independent.ie.

Nama sues two businessmen in effort to recover loans of €90m –


THE NATIONAL Asset Management Agency has sued three companies and two businessmen in an effort to recover more than €90 million arising from loans made by Allied Irish Banks for property developments in Dublin.

One of the businessmen, Reginald Tuthill, with an address at Cranmer Court, Whiteheads Grove, London, and a former address at Tower Road, Clondalkin, Dublin, was adjudicated bankrupt in England on August 29th last, the day before the Nama proceedings were served on him, the Commercial Court has heard.

Nama had appointed a receiver over the three companies after failing to be provided with statements of the assets and liabilities of Mr Tuthill and Derek O’Leary – with an address at Cubitt Building, Gatliff Road, London, and formerly of Oakmount, the Birches, Foxrock, Dublin – in the context of a business plan for the companies, the court also heard.

Mr Justice Peter Kelly agreed yesterday to enter summary judgment for about €90.5 million in favour of Nama against two of the three companies but adjourned the application for judgment against the third due to service issues. It was not expected there would be any opposition to judgment against it, he was told.

Judgment was entered against Sandyford Forum Developments Ltd and Blackthorn Securities plc but adjourned against Maycombe Developments Ltd, all with addresses at Oakmount, the Birches, Foxrock, and all in receivership.

On the application of Andrew Fitzpatrick, for Nama, the judge granted summary judgment for some €24.2 million against Mr O’Leary arising from loans and guarantees by him and Mr Tuthill, up to a maximum €24 million, of the liabilities of the companies, plus a facility for some €200,000. A solicitor for Mr O’Leary said he was consenting to judgment.

Because Mr Tuthill was adjudicated a bankrupt the day before the proceedings were served on him, the application for summary judgment for some €25 million against him was adjourned. That sum is made up of some €24 million allegedly due under personal guarantees of liabilities of the companies and a separate loan facility provided to Mr Tuthill to buy two apartments in Smithfield, Dublin.

The proceedings arise from several loan facilities advanced by AIB, including a €41 million facility of December 2008 to Blackthorn to part-finance its acquisition of a five-acre site at Sandyford, with repayment to be made by the end of September 2009 on terms including that repayment would be made from the sale of an office development and car parking spaces at South County Business Park in Leopardstown.

Another €18.85 million facility was advanced to Sandyford Forum Developments in December 2008 to part-finance the Leopardstown development, while a €20 million facility was provided to Maycombe, also in late 2008, to buy a two-acre site in Sandyford.

via Nama sues two businessmen in effort to recover loans of €90m – The Irish Times – Tue, Oct 23, 2012.

via Nama sues two businessmen in effort to recover loans of €90m – The Irish Times – Tue, Oct 23, 2012.

Nama case against Dunne and wife reaches stalemate –


THE NATIONAL Asset Management Agency case against Seán Dunne and his wife Gayle Killilea Dunne reached stalemate yesterday with the lawyers for the developer claiming Nama has no evidence against the couple, while those for Nama were granted more time to seek further documentation.

Nama is seeking to enforce a judgment for €185 million obtained through the Irish courts against the property developer.

Nama, operating as National Asset Loan Management Ltd in the US, filed papers in Stanford, Connecticut, in July alleging Mr Dunne and his wife had “utilised a number of lawyers . . . and shell companies to hide assets from creditors”, and asked Judge Douglas Mintz to freeze the couple’s assets. This request was refused on the grounds the documents provided by Nama were insufficient to prove its argument.

Nama subsequently served papers seeking access to documents from the real estate agency Sothebys relating to property deals in Connecticut that it believes will support its case. Lawyers for the Dunnes had objected to the subpoena but yesterday withdrew that objection.

Lawyers for Nama, who have not yet been able to access the documents they requested in July, had been expecting to argue that case before a judge yesterday morning.

Attorney Peter Nolin, representing Mr Dunne, told the court that all documents falling within the scope of Nama’s subpoena would now be produced.

The attorney representing Gayle Killilea, Philip D Russell, told reporters yesterday that the couple had originally intended to litigate against Nama’s request but subsequently decided against it.

“Sothebys will go ahead and furnish the documents. We walked away from that fight,” he said. Mr Russell went on to say that Nama was on “a fishing expedition” insisting there was no evidence to back up the agency’s claim.

Nama’s case hinges on a December 2010 “statement of affairs and declaration to Nama” signed under oath by Mr Dunne, in which he disclosed information concerning his financial affairs but omitted details of the transfer of his one half-share of an apartment in Geneva to his wife in February 2010, which he sold a month later for Swiss Francs 5.3 million (€4.7 million). The agency also alleges that the couple, operating through a string of limited liability companies, has bought and sold a number of properties in Conneticut using funds diverted from Mr Dunne’s former property empire.

Attorney Peter Nolin yesterday claimed that there were jurisdictional issues relating to the Geneva property and that Gayle Killilea Dunne had bought the Connecticut properties without involving her husband. “She has her own money,” he said.

via Nama case against Dunne and wife reaches stalemate – The Irish Times – Tue, Oct 23, 2012.

via Nama case against Dunne and wife reaches stalemate – The Irish Times – Tue, Oct 23, 2012.

Irish Life sells Nama stake to UK company –


A FORMER Barclays banker who is among the new shareholders in the National Asset Management Agency’s ownership company was involved in a scheme to remove toxic assets from Barclay’s books that a top UK regulator described as “pushing the envelope too far”.

Nama yesterday said Irish Life had sold its 17 per cent stake in the special purpose vehicle that owns the loans agency to London company Walbrook Capital. One of the firms’s three founders is Australian lawyer Michael Keeley, who worked for the structured credit division of UK bank Barclays.

Mr Keeley, as a member of a 45-strong structured credit team at Barclays, was involved in a scheme designed by the bank to move $12.3 billion (€9.4 billion) of toxic credit market assets off the balance sheet of the bank in 2009.

The executives were asked to manage the run-down of the assets through a New York hedge fund called C12 Capital Management in a scheme the bank called Protium.

The scheme was later reversed by Barclays after UK regulators raised concerns with the bank.

Andrew Bailey, the highest-ranking UK bank supervisor, attended a board meeting of Barclays in February and queried the buccaneering culture at the bank.

The Protium scheme was described by the regulator as “pushing the envelope too far”. Details of the intervention emerged in the controversy over Barclays’ role in the rate-rigging Libor scandal which led to the departure of chief executive Bob Diamond.

A spokesman for Walbrook and Mr Keeley declined to comment on Protium, while a Nama spokesman also had no comment.

A source close to Walbrook said Mr Keeley was part of the Barclays team asked to manage the Protium assets but this was led by the bank rather than the team itself.

Walbrook was set up in 2011 by Geoff Broomhead and Simon Haworth who worked with Mr Keeley at Barclays Capital. They left Barclays in 2009 to manage Protium but ties with C12 and Walbrook have since been severed.

The sale of Irish Life’s 17 per cent stake in National Asset Management Agency Investment Limited keeps loans of €74 billion at the country’s “bad bank” off the balance sheet of the Government.

The vehicle was structured to give private investors a 51 per cent stake in Nama’s ownership to satisfy EU accounting rules that the agency’s liabilities were sitting off the State’s books.

Irish Life was an original 17 per cent shareholder in the Nama vehicle with the fund management units of Bank of Ireland and AIB.

The Government’s takeover of Irish Life as part of the bailout of Permanent TSB threatened to bring ownership of Nama’s SPV into majority State control given that the Government had 49 per cent of the Nama vehicle.

Walbrook’s acquisition of the stake for an undisclosed sum, understood to be less than the €17 million Irish Life originally paid, puts Nama’s SPV back into majority private hands.

Mr Keeley, a senior partner in Walbrook, said the decision to invest in Nama “followed a careful assessment of the outlook for the Irish economy and in particular its property sector, which we believe is now close to stabilisation.”

Walbrook said that it invests in long-term credit, property and renewable energy assets.

via Irish Life sells Nama stake to UK company – The Irish Times – Tue, Oct 23, 2012.

via Irish Life sells Nama stake to UK company – The Irish Times – Tue, Oct 23, 2012.

World comes crashing down on Irish developers’ global empire


TWO OF the State’s most ambitious developers, Johnny Ronan and Richard Barrett, will see the end of their globe-spanning company, Treasury Holdings, next week after conceding defeat in litigation taken by one of its banks.

Liquidators are expected to be appointed on Tuesday to the insolvent property business by the High Court after the company said it was no longer resisting an application by KBC Bank to have the company wound up over a debt of about €55 million. The rejection of a last-minute offer by US bank Morgan Stanley to buy the company’s debts from the State’s National Asset Management Agency (Nama), which supported KBC’s action, has led to the imminent failure of the group, sources close to the company said.

One of Nama’s top 10 debtors, Treasury has total debts of €2.7 billion, including more than €1 billion with the State loans agency.

Mr Barrett and Mr Ronan have given personal guarantees on a small amount of Treasury’s debts, while Mr Ronan has his own property portfolio and related debts with Nama.

Mr Barrett and Mr Ronan turned Treasury from one of the State’s biggest developers into an international business with projects in Britain, France, Sweden, Russia and China.

Treasury was behind landmark projects, including the five-star Westin and Ritz-Carlton hotels in Dublin and Wicklow, the Convention Centre in Dublin’s docklands, and the Central Park and Spencer Dock office complexes in Dublin.

The hotels and offices will remain open as they are solvent despite the pending liquidation of the parent company. The Convention Centre is owned by the State.

The High Court was told yesterday that, given Treasury’s decision not to fight the winding-up application by KBC, the bank will seek to appoint Paul McCann and Michael McAteer of accountants Grant Thornton as joint liquidators of the company and 16 related companies next week.

Lawyers for the Belgian-owned bank said the winding up of 17 companies was necessary given the scope of Treasury’s property interests.

Nama rejected an offer by Morgan Stanley to buy the group’s debts and an alternative proposal that Mr Ronan and Mr Barrett step aside to allow Treasury be sold by public tender, sources said.

The company felt it had no option but to accept the liquidation of the business as it believed Nama was unwilling to accept any scenario where Mr Ronan and Mr Barrett would remain as owners.

A spokesman for Nama said it had no comment to make.

Relations between Treasury and Nama fell apart earlier this year in a dispute over the agency’s rejection of offers to buy the group’s debts and the decision to seize properties within the group.

Treasury lost a court case in August aimed at stopping Nama.

The court was told yesterday that KBC did not accept an explanation for a transaction in which assets of a subsidiary of Treasury had been transferred to a company in the Channel Islands beneficially owned by Mr Barrett.

via World comes crashing down on Irish developers’ global empire – The Irish Times – Sat, Oct 06, 2012.

via World comes crashing down on Irish developers’ global empire – The Irish Times – Sat, Oct 06, 2012.

€75m of Irish bank-controlled property comes onto market in one job lot


€75m of Irish bank-controlled property comes onto market in one job lot

October 1, 2012 by namawinelake

There is now a steady stream of bank-owned Irish property coming onto the market in spite of the uncertain economic outlook and the certain scarcity of finance. On Saturday last, the Belfast Telegraph reported that Bank of Scotland/Certus was bringing a GBP 7m (€9m) portfolio to the market, a portfolio which comprises 14 pubs, an hotel and commercial space. Osborne King are the selling agents – though the portfolio doesn’t yet appear to be online. The BelTel reported that the property was owned by pub landlord Harry Diamond.

And last week, it was Neil Callanan, the former business editor at the Sunday Tribune, now at Bloomberg who reported that on this side of the Border, the Royal Bank of Scotland/Ulster Bank is bringing a mixed portfolio, dubbed “Project Gemini”, to the market with a price tag of €75m according to Bloomberg. The selling agents are Savills and the listing is here and the brochure is here. The portfolio comprises 640 apartments, most in Dublin-some in Cork, an hotel and 200,000 sq ft of commercial space. With an annual rent roll of €5.5m, the reported asking price represents a notional yield of 7.3%. Who would buy such a mixed bag? Difficult to say, the Irish generally don’t have the finance but the portfolio looks as if it needs local management.

We should shortly get a trading update from NAMA as the Q2, 2012 accounts were due to be delivered to Minister for Finance Michael Noonan last week, but according to the Comptroller and Auditor General’s report on NAMA published over the summer, NAMA is generally hoarding its Irish assets as it focuses on disposing of the overseas globally dispersed assets. Outside NAMA, AIB has been flogging loan portfolios. Bank of Ireland appears to be reining in its disposals and IBRC seems to be mirroring NAMA (again!) with not very much coming onto the market. It may be the two British banks that lead the way with imminent disposals as they run for the hills.

via NAMA Wine Lake.

via NAMA Wine Lake.

I wonder who the buyers are? Maybe the friends of the friends

Confusion Over NAMA Property Lists


You would think that after the month NAMA has had, with criticism over its sales processes and transparency, that NAMA would at least let us know what new properties have been added to its list of foreclosed property but no, you will need trawl through each of the 1,328 properties now on its website to identify the new ones. The total of 1,328 properties which represents the foreclosure position at the end of August 2012 is up from the 1,281 at the end of July but you can’t deduce from this that 47 new properties have been added.

You can’t even sort NAMA’s foreclosure list by “date added”

So yet again, despite being NAMA’s most sought-after piece of public information – the first list in July 2011 attracted over 100,000 hits on the NAMA.ie website – we must go through the 1,328 properties line-by-line to identify the changes. NAMA doesn’t even issue a press release any more to indicate when its website has been updated. And NAMA wonders why it is the butt of so much public and professional criticism.

via NAMA Wine Lake.

via NAMA Wine Lake.

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