Back in November 2012, we examined the mystery of why one of Ireland’s allegedly richest men, Denis O’Brien was not in NAMA. After all, he had huge – “systemic”, some might say – borrowings at a NAMA bank and he has dabbled in property. Denis isn’t the only mystery - Sean Quinn has €2.9bn of borrowings with Anglo and famously, has amassed a property portfolio.
Today, we find out that Denis is now buying NAMA property directly from NAMA. Nothing major for the time being, it seems, as the Irish Times reports that Denis has just paid €1m for two adjoining warehouses on the quays in south Dublin Docklands, riverside buildings that seem destined to be transformed into restaurants to serve this bustling commercial area of Dublin. And good luck to him with the development.
Now, Denis was none too pleased when the Sunday Independent reported on his borrowings with Anglo, or IBRC, though the Sindo did stress that Denis “has not missed an interest payment and is considered the bank’s best-performing large borrower” The paper stopped short of reporting if the loans were performing or were in breach of any loan covenants including Loan to Value covenants, but it should be stressed that there is no evidence whatsoever that there is any such non-performance or breach. The paper went on to report that Denis was “understood to be hoping” to reduce his borrowings at Anglo to €300m in 2012 – there was no word of borrowings, if any, at other NAMA banks.
Of course, by remaining out of NAMA, Denis is free to buy NAMA assets even if – and to stress, there is no evidence of this at present or of there being a prospect of it in future – he were to be in default on his loans.