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Archive for January 4th, 2013

NCB

The Irish Independent today speculates that there will be further imminent consolidation amongst the six remaining Irish stockbrokers which have declined from a total of 16 in 1988. The six remaining ones are presumably Davy, NCB, Goodbody, Dolmen, Morrogh and Merrion. We are reminded today of the gawdawful property business managed by NCB Stockbrokers in the past decade with news from today’s edition of Iris Oifigiuil that a remarkable total of 26 companies in which NCB had controlling interests have been placed in liquidation on 17th December 2012 when David Hughes of Ernst and Young was appointed liquidator to each of the companies. The companies are

(1) Armston Properties Limited

(2) Arridal Properties Limited

(3) Amskey Properties Limited

(4) Arryton Properties Limited

(5) Austonville Properties Limited

(6) Atios Properties Limited

(7) Atara Properties Limited

(8) Ascal Properties Limited

(9) Astonbridge Properties Limited

(10) Arrell Properties Limited

(11) Armadale Properties Limited

(12) Ayers Properties Limited

(13) Akley Properties Limited

(14) Bastion Properties Limited

(15) Brazier Properties Limited

(16) Bayberry Properties Limited

(17) Bathos Properties Limited

(18) Bolero Properties Limited

(19) Beltane Properties Limited

(20) Belcanto Properties Limited

(21) Belcove Properties Limited

(22) Windhill Properties Limited

(23) Duskhill Properties Limited

(24) Brattice Properties Limited

(25)Dawnhill Properties Limited

(26) Fynbos Properties Limited

The companies all appear to be ultimately owned by Ardawn Developments PLC which is 95% owned by NCB (Development) Nominees Limited which is in turn owned by NCB Stockbrokers Limited; the other 5% of Ardawn is owned by Cova Properties Limited owned by Cova Property Holdings which is ultimately owned by Brendan Fizsimmons, Patrick Shine and William Mulrooney. Ardawn is managed by Cova Properties, which was involved in the redevelopment of Blessington town centre. In 2007 the Irish Times reported “Cova was set up in 1998 by Mr Shine, a former partner in PricewaterhouseCoopers, former estate agent Bill Mulrooney, and property developer Brendan Fitzsimons. The company has more than EUR 500 million in assets under management.’”

NAMA had receivers appointed to six of the above companies last September 2012, and it is unclear if NAMA has any involvement in the loans of the other companies.

NCB isn’t the only firm of stockbrokers to have been involved in duff land deals. Last week, NAMA had receivers appointed to assets in which Goodbody had an interest and clients of Davy were burned on perhaps the most famous flop of the property boom, the Irish Glass Bottle site in Dublin’s Ringsend, though there is still litigation apparently outstanding on that development.

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There have been some problems this week with accessing accounts from the UK’s Companies House, so it will be next week when the latest report and accounts for both Gannon Homes (UK) Limited and Ballymore Properties Holdings Limited are made available on here. Meantime, we have Gordon Deegan’s reporting in the Irish Examiner which says Ballymore notched up a loss of GBP 372m (€459m) in the year to March 2012. Ballymore is controlled by NAMA Top 10 developer, Sean Mulryan and is understood to be one of the three NAMA developers on a salary of €200,000 – the other two are understood to be Dundrum Shopping Centre’s Joe O’Reilly and Cork developer Michael O’Flynn.

It was the GBP 294m writedown in the value of UK property which is largely responsible for what is a remarkable loss in 2012, given the relatively stable UK commercial and residential markets. The highest paid director in 2012 was paid GBP 175,000 which at today’s exchange rates would translate to about €215,000 but applying the average rate in April 2011-March 2012 would be €200,000. It is understood that NAMA has not breached the €200,000 cap on salaries in any instance, but you should remember that NAMA has profit sharing arrangements in place which could earn millions for developers if certain targets are exceeded.

Gordon Deegan’s report in the Examiner states that in 2012, revenues comprised GBP 120m of property sales, GBP 13m of rental income and GBP 6m of hotel rental income.

Sean Mulryan is understood to be one of the select “saved” developers at NAMA with an agreed business plan for five years, and Ballymore’s John Mulryan, son of Sean described the Agency as “professional”, “supportive” and positive. The loss is curious as it was understood that Ballymore was going great guns at its development at Embassy Gardens in south central London, adjacent to the Battersea Power Station, with planning approval last year and it was reported that it had pre-sold apartments at prices of in excess of GBP 950 psf. It will be interesting to see next week if the detailed accounts provide any further clues for the remarkable write-downs.

The company has GBP 1bn of loans from NAMA and other lenders – that’s down from about €1.5bn originally owed to NAMA alone – and there is apparently a GBP25m personal guarantee from Sean himself on the loans. It’s not exactly clear what the prospects are of NAMA getting its loans repaid in full, the accounts apparently show a shareholder’s deficit of GBP 800m.

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ExchequerAugtoDec

The Exchequer statement for December 2012 issued by the Department of Finance yesterday is overall a very positive development for the economy – there was a spectacular bounce in tax revenues during the month which means that the €171m shortfall in year-to-date tax income recorded in November 2012 was reversed and we end the year an impressive €271m ahead of plan. Current spending however got modestly worse in December and we ended the year €666m behind plan, compared with an €654m adverse variance in November. But the third element of the basic national profit and loss account, capital expenditure, it really had an amazing turnaround in December because at the end of November 2012 we had spent €2.446bn of our capital budget which was a whopping €405m behind budget. This shortfall was the subject of trenchant criticism on here because what the Government was apparently doing, was cutting back on the capital budget so as to fund overruns in current spending, mostly in James Reilly’s Department of Health, and in the Department of Social Protection.

But by the end of December 2012, capital expenditure had climbed €843m from €2.446bn to €3.489bn and at year end, capital spending was just €145m behind budget. Amazing.

And slightly incredible, that one quarter of the total annual spend was in the final seasonal month of the year, The information released yesterday doesn’t give any breakdown of the spend in December 2012 by project but we do learn that Phil Hogan’s Department of the Environment spent €352m in December alone, and Leo Varadkar’s Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport spent €286m.

That we are spending our capital budget is to be welcomed because this is one way in which our tax euros get recycled back to us, and economists will tell you that shovel-ready construction in particular is one of the best ways of a government generating economic growth. By not spending €145m of the capital budget in 2012, we have lost 1-3,000 jobs based on Department of Finance and NAMA projections.

But did we really spend €843m on capital projects in the month of December? Because if we did, you would expect a big boost to employment figures which will be released at 11am today by the CSO. Somehow, though I have my doubts.

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BR6

A company called Burlington Real Estate Limited was incorporated in Ireland in October 2012. It has a website burlrealestate.com which was also registered in October 2012. The directors of the company are John Bruder (54), Niall Kavanagh (43) and Niall O’Buachalla (38). The company says on its website that it manages 3m square feet of property including “Irish HQs of Bank of Ireland, Vodafone, PWC, KPMG, Merrill Lynch Bank of America, FAS and Tullow Oil Plc” “Central Park/Leopardstown” and “Stillorgan shopping centre” – not bad for a newly formed company!

The regular audience on here will be particularly familiar with Messrs Bruder and O’Buachalla – John Bruder was the managing director of Treasury Holdings, the company owned by the formerly-dynamic duo of Johnny Ronan and Richard Barrett.  Niall O’Buachalla was the group finance director of Treasury Holdings.

Treasury Holdings is being liquidated and NAMA has had receivers appointed to a slew of Treasury Holdings companies – over 40 companies at last count on here.

What might confuse you a little is the reporting that some of the assets which Burlington Real Estate claims to now manage, are now under the control of NAMA – Central Park in Leopardstown, reportedly, for example.

So, on the face of it, NAMA or its agents have employed a newly-formed company comprising some of the most senior people at Treasury Holdings to manage some of its most expensive assets, at the same time as having receivers appointed to assets of Treasury Holdings and its group companies, eg here.  NAMA was asked for a comment yesterday, but there has not been any response at time of writing. An email sent to the email contact address for Burlington – info@burlrealestate.com – was returned as undeliverable.

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