At the end of last week, banks – NOT Anglo Irish Bank for what it is worth but said to be “Barclays, Certus and the Bank of Ireland” – sold the world-famous Belfry golf and hotel resort near Birmingham for an undisclosed price, but understood to be close to GBP 90m (€115m). The original owner of the Belfry is – according to the Guardian – one Sean Quinn Junior, son of former tycoon Sean Quinn, and currently doing a three-month stretch in Dublin’s Mountjoy Prison following contempt proceedings in a Dublin court.
The Belfry was bought in 2005 for a reported GBP 186m and it is understood the banks were still owed around GBP 105m before the sale, so it seems that there is still a loss to be made up by the Quinns. The new owners are an American private equity group KSL Capital Partners, who in turn own ClubCorp, a golf club operator, however in this case it is De Vere that will operate the club.
Despite being purchased with development in mind, and despite the lenders including NAMA bank, Bank of Ireland, NAMA mysteriously never acquired the Quinn loans, which given the Agency’s great play during High Court proceedings on the systemic value of Paddy McKillen’s loans which apart from €30m were non-development, is a particular mystery. The 50% decline in value of the Belfry is attributed to the UK’s credit crunch and 2007-onwards downturn.
The UK’s commercial property portal Costar quotes a statement from “Sean Quinn Junior and the Quinn family” which goes “we congratulate KSL Capital Partners on their acquisition of The Belfry, and wish them well. We would particularly like to extend our appreciation to the management and staff at the hotel for their hard work and dedication over the past number of years, and look forward to seeing the proud traditions of The Belfry continuing”
The defiance of someone jailed for contempt issuing what would otherwise be an everyday statement, is unsettling. How long before Sean Junior gets on Liveline to defend the family’s actions?