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Archive for May 11th, 2011

Interesting today to see a deluge of new properties for sale by Cork-based developer, the Fleming Group which is reportedly one of NAMA’s Top 30 developers. The properties all appear to be on estates developed by Fleming Homes and they are:

(1) 15 properties at Cooline, Ballyvoloon, Cobh, Co Cork

(2) Six properties at Ardfield, Douglas, Cork City Suburbs

(3) 30 properties at College Wood, Mallow, Co Cork

(4) 16 properties at Tir Cluain, Midleton, Co Cork

(5) Seven properties at The Glenties, Macroom, West Cork

(6) 15 properties at The Orchard, Macroom, West Cork

(7) Seven properties at Ard Sionnach, Shanakiel, Cork City Suburbs

(8) Three properties Cois Cuain, Courtmacsherry, Co Cork

(9) Three properties at The Pines, Cobh, Co Cork

(10) Four properties at Buttery Court, Mallow, Co Cork

(11) Six properties at Inis Alainn, Inch, Cork

Having had a quick look at the property details and with prices pitched close to the €300 psf level, it doesn’t seem that these are bargain basement. It should also be remembered that these may not be NAMA-backed properties, but I would have said the betting would be that they are. Interestingly it is the Fleming Group that is handling the sales rather than an estate agent.

Various companies within the Fleming group have had receivers and administrators appointed. Last month, the Irish Examiner reported that a substantial Fleming development in Wembley, north London had apparently been sold by administrators, Baker Tilly. John Fleming, the founder of the Fleming Group applied for bankruptcy in the British courts in December 2010.

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It was on 5th April, 2011 that there was a lot of hullabaloo when the publisher Business and Finance produced a story online (which has since been pulled) which suggested that entrepreneur and political activist, Declan Ganley was setting up a bank, and that prominent economists, Constantin Gurdgiev and David McWilliams were associated with the venture. It seems that the story had some truth to it in that a new venture, St Columbanus AG, had now formally announced its launch in May 2011 and its management committee (shown here) comprises Declan Ganley, Constantin Gurdgiev, Andrew Jamieson and Gregory Tutton – there doesn’t appear to be any mention whatsoever of David McWilliams. The venture describes itself as an asset management company and it will “offer a range of products and services to address concerns from the safety of fully insured savings deposits and long term inheritance planning.” It is not quite clear what the products will entail and my word processor is telling me there is no such word as “rebanking” but the venture’s website does say that it will deliver its offering “through our own products as well as with a limited number of selected Swiss partners who have the highest credit ratings and stable business models”

The Irish Independent reports that both Declan and Constantin are shareholders in the new venture and that Constantin will “take on a full-time job as director of research at St Columbanus in June. He’ll be based in Dublin”

With deposits apparently continuing to flee Irish banks and the country still being relatively wealthy and with lingering concerns over the solvency of the banking system as well as the State, it seems that this venture might be a bit of a no-brainer. It will be interesting to see how Constantin in particular deals with this new private commercial role as he is a widely respected economist and commentator on Ireland’s financial crisis. I wish them well.

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