Breaking news that NAMA has appointed a receiver to the personal and corporate assets of Ray and Danny Grehan, reportedly one of NAMA’s Top 20 developers. Although not yet confirmed by NAMA, this would bring NAMA’s tally to seven of the Top 20 (Liam Carroll, Bernard McNamara, Derek Quinlan, Paddy Kelly, Paddy Shovlin and David Courtney/Jerry O’Reilly (Radora) and now the Grehan brothers) against which NAMA has taken recovery action. Sean Dunne was reported by Ireland’s Sunday Times a month ago (not online) in the context of a NAMA receivership but it seems that Sean has denied this and certainly there is no evidence of a NAMA receivership in Iris Oifigiuil.
Ray and his brother Danny are, or have been associated with The Grange apartment complex (Stillorgan/Blackrock, Dublin), the UCD Veterinary College, Ballsbridge One, Ballintyre Hall, St Edmunds (Palmerstown), Palma de Mallorca (apartment and yacht), The Forge (Canary Wharf), City Pride (Canary Wharf), The Arcadia (Ealing), Island Point (Isle of Dogs, London), Crowne Plaza (Shoreditch, London), Maynooth Business Campus, The Glenroyal Centre, The Glenroyal Hotel, Coach House Square, a development in Howth (Co Dublin next to Dart station) and Windsor House (Bedford Street, Belfast). Their principal company was Glenkerrin Homes. They are involved in the Windsor House development in Belfastwith the P Elliot Group which seems to be struggling with its own difficulties at present.
Remember that there is a regularly updated spreadsheet showing all of NAMA’s receiverships maintained under the Developers TAB, or directly accessible here.
UPDATE: 27th April, 2011. For once RTE seems to have the best immediate reporting of the Grehan story. The broadcaster claims that Michael McAteer and Paul McCann of Grant Thornton have been appointed joint-receivers in Ireland, and separately there will be an application on 10th May, 2011 in the UK to have Grant Thornton appointed as administrators to UK assets. It is not clear whether the UK assets will include an apartment, apparently bought by Ray Grehan, in the UK’s most expensive block, One Hyde Park.
UPDATE: 28th April, 2011. There is widespread reporting of the Grehan receivership in today’s Irish media. First up, the Irish Independent which mistakenly reports “Ray Grehan, the man who bought the most expensive site in Ireland” – there would seem to have been at least foursite purchases that were more expensive, at least on a per-acre basis. The Independent does provide more details though – Ray is reported to have signed a Memorandum of Understanding with NAMA in December 2010, his company is understood to owe €650m to the agency and this is claimed to be the first time NAMA has taken enforcement action against a developer who has signed a Memorandum of Understanding. There is a plaintive reaction from one “property source” – “what it means is that nobody is necessarily over the line yet”. The newspaper claims that Ray Grehan has expressed “bafflement”, “surprise” and “shock” at NAMA’s actions but doesn’t provide any detail. In a separate article in the Independent today, there is a claim that NAMA tried to install a non-executive chairman in Glenkerrin, the main Grehan company – “the move had not worked as far as Grehan was concerned”. Elsewhere the Irish Times reports that the Grehans “failed to meet some of the terms of a plan agreed with the agency [NAMA]” We get an actual quote from Ray Grehan “We were surprised by the aggressive move by Nama because we were finishing out an extension on a hotel in the UK [Crowne Plaza in Shoreditch in east London] and we had a buyer for the hotel” In another Irish Times article, it is claimed NAMA’s action in respect of the Grehans is a first – “NAMA’s bid to appoint an administrator to Ray and Danny Grehan’s London properties will be the first application made by the State’s assets agency to the British courts” – hmmm, I understood NAMA to be behind the administration application in respect of Beetham Organization back in February 2011. There are claims that the Grehans may be able to pay back their €650m NAMA debt through sales of assets in the UK, particularly London. The Irish Examiner doesn’t add much to the mix but does give a little on the personal background of the Grehans “Ray Grehan is the eldest of nine children who grew up on a dairy farm in Galway. He trained as a welder in Limerick before moving to Dublin in the mid-1980s to take responsibility for small building jobs.”
UPDATE: 28th April, 2011. There was a brief contribution by business journalist Ian Guider to a Newstalk radio programme this morning (clip and reporting are available here) – the transcript of which is “He said there is no reason why they [NAMA] should be doing this, he’s been working with them, he’s brought proposals to them that would see them recover some of his debts. He is consulting with his lawyers this morning to see if there is a possibility of challenging NAMA here in the courts in Dublin and also in the UK – NAMA wants to appoint administrators in the UK, that’s the equivalent of a receiver here – he may challenge that, that is going to happen in a couple of weeks time in May”
UPDATE: 29th April, 2011. Further details on the Grehan receivership are seeping out. Simon Carswell in today’s Irish Times reports that last week, NAMA presented the Grehans with 35 (thirty five) legal documents for signature which would have improved the security NAMA holds on Grehan loans. NAMA is also reported to have sought the appointment of Harry Slowey to the Glenkerrin board as non-executive chairman – the Irish Times reported that the Grehans were opposed to the appointment though apparently the matter had not yet been put to the Glenkerrin board. NAMA’s reported position on the appointment of Harry Slowey seems to be an expansion of a previous position which was that NAMA would vet proposals by the developer to make board appointments. The previous position, reported by Simon Carswell in January 2011 implied that it would be the developer who would select an appointee and then seek NAMA’s approval – it now seems to be the case that NAMA will nominate its own favoured candidates and potentially take foreclosure action if the nomination is not accepted; at least that seems to be the implication of the reporting of the Grehan case.
UPDATE (1): 30th April, 2011. Breaking news that NAMA will refrain from proceeding with its receivership of Grehan companies until Tuesday next week, 3rd May, 2011. The news has just been reported on RTE Radio 1 news and will be discussed on RTE Saturday View shortly.
UPDATE (2): 30th April, 2011. It seems to be the case that NAMA is “standing down” the receivership to give the Grehans until close of business Tuesday to repay a reported €650m in debt. There were unsubstantiated suggestions that there might have been procedural deficiencies in the way in which NAMA made the receivership application on Wednesday – Ray Grehan may not even have been served with a repayment demand. This has not been substantiated but the latest development in this receivership may not have anything to do with a change of heart on NAMA’s part.
UPDATE (3): 30th April, 2011. The Irish Times is now reporting the apparent U-turn and claims control of the Grehan’s companies was returned to the brothers at midnight last night.
UPDATE (1): 3rd May, 2011. It seems the Grehans have just 10 hours to come up with €650-660m for NAMA, otherwise the receivers “stand up”. The Irish Times today reports that on Saturday last, NAMA issued a new demand which gives the Grehans until 5pm today (yesterday was a holiday in most of Europe) to come up with the readies; otherwise Michael McAteer and Paul McCann of Grant Thornton get reappointed as receivers. The newspaper claims that the Grehans are seeking more time to deal with the demand and there are additional claims that the Grehans are in talks with Dublin-based Incisive Capital Management (previous known as “HVB Credit Advisors, a wholly owned subsidiary of UniCredit Group’s Markets and Investment Banking division”; Aogan Foley is one of the Grehan’s contacts at Incisive) to work out a solution. The newspaper claims that NAMA acted last week to appoint receivers after the Grehans allegedly failed to meet the terms of the Memorandum of Understanding which was signed with NAMA in December 2010. The agency also wanted to improve the quality of security it held over the Grehan loans – it is not clear if this means remedying defects in the existing security or obtaining additional security or both – but the Grehans sought legal advice instead of acquiescing to NAMA’s demands.
UPDATE (2): 3rd May, 2011. RTE seems to be on point on this story this evening and reports that it “understands” that the Grehans didn’t manage to come up with the €660m in readies by 5pm this evening. Further, RTE report that NAMA is consulting with its advisers this evening. Although there may be a slim chance of the Grehans reaching a revised agreement with NAMA or correct whatever breach of the memorandum of understanding which reportedly led to the original appointment of a receiver last Wednesday, the more likely outcome would appear to be the re-appointment of Grant Thornton as receivers.
UPDATE (3): 3rd May, 2011. There are reports, not yet on the main stream media, that receivers Grant Thornton have been re-appointed (not even NAMA would try the term “stood up”!). This was the likely outcome of the drama over the past six days though there may well be some twists and turns in the Grehan story in the coming weeks.
UPDATE (4): 3rd May, 2011. The Irish Examiner is the first mainstream media outlet to claim that receivers have been re-appointed to the Grehan companies and assets. Still no confirmation from NAMA.
UPDATE (1): 4th May, 2011. The Irish Times today reports that at 9pm yesterday, Michael McAteer and Paul McCann of Grant Thornton were re-appointed as receivers to the Grehan and Glenkerrin companies and assets. The rent roll on the UK assets is said to be €11m per annum and next Tuesday 10th May, 2011 an application by NAMA to have administrators, understood to be Grant Thornton, appointed to the UK assets will be heard by UK courts. The Irish Times also attributes last week’s move to the Grehans failing to comply with the memorandum of understanding, and nothing else. It remains unclear whether the Grehans will take legal action and they are said to have sought an extension of time for the repayment of the loan from NAMA in order to arrange the sale of the loan to an investment fund – Dublin-based Incisive Capital Management is mentioned again in this regard.
UPDATE (2): 4th May, 2011. RTE reports this morning that “the Grehans say that their legal team is working on a response”. Somehow I don’t see the Grehans going “gentle into that good night” on this one.
UPDATE (3): 4th May, 2011. The Irish Independent reports that (a) legal action is “likely to result” from NAMA’s decision to re-appoint receivers (b) the Grehans had three bidders for their debt with NAMA and (c) NAMA became “worried” last week that it had not given the Grehans enough time to repay the debt and (d) the appointment of Harry Slowey as chairman to the group “appears” to have caused tension between NAMA and the Grehans though a NAMA spokesperson has said the appointment was agreed (the two sources may both be correct).
UPDATE (1): 6th May, 2011. Watch out for Emmet Oliver at the Independent today that he doesn’t fall over from the dizziness from all the spinning he’s doing on NAMA’s treatment of the Grehans. In today’s edition, he portrays the appointment, standing down and re-appointment of receivers to the Grehans as a victory for NAMA. The details of NAMA’s machinations over the past week have not been revealed and the case may yet be the subject of legal action, but one interpretation of the week’s events is that NAMA cocked-up the procedural aspects of the receivership, were challenged by the astute Grehans and having considered their legal position, concluded it was better to dot the “i”s and cross the “t”s and give the Grehans another couple of days to consider the repayment demand than to proceed with a receivership, the basis of which was shaky – to stress, that is but one of many possible scenarios. Another is that NAMA was displaying brinkmanship in making the receivership application to show clearly to the Grehans that the agency was serious, but if that is the case then wouldn’t the re-appointment of receivers show that the brinkmanship was unsuccessful? Emmet Oliver does refer to the Paddy McKillen case in today’s article and that was indeed a display of legal incompetence on NAMA’s part – the failure to ratify a decision after the agency had legally come into being, and we will shortly learn how much that cock-up will cost as there is to be a costs hearing in the courts in May 2011. NAMA is apparently close to reaching a decision in respect of five developers which might result in foreclosure action or agreeement to loan workout terms; media should be careful not to become an organ of the agency, or indeed developers, when reporting news.
UPDATE (2): 6th May, 2011. In what seems like a bizarre twist, there are reports this evening, including this one from the Irish Times that NAMA has taken control of the Grehan-owned Crowne Plaza Hotel in Shoreditch, east London. There is still apparently a court hearing scheduled for next Tuesday, 10th May, 2011 in which NAMA will seek to have Grant Thornton appointed as administrators over the Grehan’s UK assets. This pre-emptive action is curious. “NAMA felt it was necessary to take direct action to protect its security,” said a spokesman for the agency” is as much detail as is presently available from the mainstream media. It is not entirely clear how NAMA has legally taken control of the hotel, but this unscheduled action would seem to indicate continuing strain between NAMA and the Grehans.
UPDATE: 8th May, 2011. The Sunday Independent reports today that although the Grehans will be meeting their legal advisers tomorrow in advance of the application on Tuesday to have administrators appointed to their UK assets, it is “unlikely” that they will seek to try to block the application. The reporting also carries the implication that the Grehans will accept the Irish receivership also “They’re looking for a ‘quick death’ now. Hopefully the receivership process will be done within the next four or five months, and after that, they’ll be ready to start again” according to a “source” cited by the newspaper.
UPDATE (1): 10th May, 2011. In the end it was just a 15-minute formality at the High Court in London this morning. As reported by RTE, Grant Thornton has been appointed as administrators to “an apartment block and an undeveloped site near Canary Wharf in east London and a shopping centre in west London”. Although it hasn’t been clearly reported, it seems that administrators were appointed on an emergency basis to the Crowne Plaza hotel in Shoreditch, east London last Friday.
UPDATE (2): 10th May, 2011. The Irish Times adds a little detail to the appointment of administrators this morning. The specific properties subject to the application today are “City Pride and Island Point sites in London docklands, The Forge residential apartment block in docklands, and the Arcadia Centre and Villiers House, a shopping centre in Ealing (pictured here) which has 40 to 50 shops and an annual rental income of £4.5 million (€5 million)” and “Malcolm Brian Shierson and Martin Gilbert Ellis of accountants Grant Thornton UK” were appointed as administrators
UPDATE: 17th May, 2011. News from RTE that two companies in the Grehan group, Glenkerrin Properties Ltd and Glenroyal Leisure Ltd have gone to the High Court today where they are seeking to have the receivers, Grant Thornton, stood down in respect of the Glenroyal Hotel. It looks like there’s little love lost with claims that Ray Grehan is persona non grata on certain property and that the receivers are contemplating selling the hotel without consulting the directors (presumably the Grehan brothers). NAMA was represented by the former Attorney General, Paul Gallagher who also represented NAMA at the Paddy McKillen High Court case last October 2011. There are other aspects to the claim. The case has been adjourned to next Tuesday, 24th May 2011 when it is expected that a date will be sought for an injunction hearing.
UPDATE: 20th May, 2011. The Grehans have spoken with the UK’s Property Week in which they give their side of the story. They claim they were “low lying plums” with a strong portfolio in which buyers were interested. They express shock at then decision of NAMA to appoint receivers and for the first time on record, make it clear they were not happy with the proposed appointment of Harry Slowey as chairman. However the brothers express hope that they will yet be a part of the Glenkerrin portfolio as it is claimed there have been several approaches to NAMA to buy out their €660m debt and the brothers hope that they will yet work with any new buyers of the debt. There is no mention of the ongoing High Court battle to stop NAMA in its tracks in relation to the appointment of receivers to the Glenroyal Hotel. Interestingly, the brothers claim that NAMA has not explained to them why it took the enforcement action.
UPDATE: 1st June, 2011. The Grehan High Court application to have the receivership reversed at the Glenroyal Hotel and Leisure Centre wends its way through the system. The Irish Times reports that there was a mention of the case at the High Court last week when it was said that both NAMA and the Grehans wanted to see if the issues could be resolved without the assistance of the court. Yesterday both sides agreed that those talks had not concluded satisfactorily and that the application by the Grehans for an injunction, claiming their loans did not entitle the lender to appoint a receiver, will proceed tomorrow for directions and next week for a substantive hearing.
UPDATE: 3rd June, 2011. It seems that the case is proceeding to examine the substantive issues without any delay. Yesterday, lawyers for the Grehans argued that because AIB, the bank from whom a loan for Glenroyal was obtained, hadn’t a floating charge on company assets, then it was illegal for a receiver to be appointed on foot of that loan. The absence of a floating charged is conceded by NAMA but the agency argues, it seems from reporting in the Independent, that it is nonetheless entitled to appoint receivers. The Grehans argue they should have been consulted as directors and now compensated, they are seeking an injunction preventing NAMA’s appointed receivers exercising control over “the business or its undertakings, custom, goodwill, fixtures, fittings, stock, bank accounts and book debts”, according to the Irish Times. The case is continuing.
UPDATE: 9th June, 2011. The media reporting of the Grehan High Court case has been lamentable. The Irish Times today reports that “Glenkerrin’s legal action challenging the legality of Nama’s appointment of Grant Thornton as receivers to the Glenroyal Hotel and Leisure Centre in Maynooth, Co Kildare will continue later this year”. The same newspaper article seems to peg the price of two UK assets: the Crowne Plaza apparently was subject to negotiations where there was reportedly an offer of GBP £83m and the 188-apartment Forge development on the Isle of Dogs in London’s Docklands is selling for GBP £34-38m as one lot, though it is estimated it would sell for GBP£42m on an individual apartment basis.
UPDATE: 14th, June 2011. It seems the Grehans have comprehensively lost their fight in the High Court to stop the appointment of receivers. The Irish Times reports that in Dublin’s High Court yesterday, the judge dismissed the application after the Grehans had reportedly failed to establish the solvency of their companies, sources of funding, and having failed to disclose information. A bitter blow to the Grehans no doubt. Was NAMA refraining from appointing receivers to other developers pending the outcome of this case? Certainly new receivership activity by NAMA has collapsed in the past month.
UPDATE: 30th June, 2011. In what is looking like a jamboree for the consultants, the Irish Independent today reports that Grant Thornton, the receivers appointed to the Grehan’s Irish assets last month have prepared and submitted a fresh business plan to NAMA, which apparently proposes a “sit and hold” stance on the Grehan’s assets, that is rent where possible, otherwise effectively mothball for the time being.
UPDATE: 29th August, 2011. On Saturday last, Emmet Oliver reported in the Independent that the administrator’s report for the Grehan’s showed that their UK assets were worth 59c in the euro and that consequently a loss of GBP 70m is in prospect on the book value of the loans (it is not clear how much NAMA paid for the loans, but it is likely that NAMA’s loss, if any, will be far less than GBP 70m). A copy of the report was requested from NAMA on Saturday but there has not been any response so far.
UPDATE: 4th October, 2011. Exactly a month ago, RTE broadcast a Prime Time special on NAMA entitled “NAMAland” in which Ray made some remarks about NAMA and his future plans. Iris Oifigiuil today confirms that NAMA sought winding up orders at Dublin’s High Cout on 19th September, 2011, for two Grehan companies, Glenroyal Leisure Limited and Glenkerrin Properties Limited. The petitions are set to be heard on 17th October 2011. NAMA had already appointed receivers to these companies on 5th May, 2011.
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