Archive for March 13th, 2012

Iris Oifigiuil today shows that NAMA has had receivers appointed to Dauphin 2 Aviation Limited, a Dublin company apparently associated with developer Michael Ryan. The Agency has had Jim Stafford of Friel Stafford appointed to the company which operates a Eurocopter Dauphin 2 helicopter – pictured here at Punchestown racecourse.

At least on this side of the Border, NAMA is delivering on its promise to rein in the use of yachts, Bentleys and helicopters. When will it start to apply equal treatment on the other side of the Border?

Remember you can see a comprehensive list of Irish foreclosure actions by NAMA here and in this regularly updated spreadsheet.

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Whilst developers on this side of the Border complain that they are forced to contemplate life in a semi-detached house and no more than a Ford Cortina for day-to-day transport, NAMAed developers on the other side of the Border can still engage in the sport of kings. Today in the 15:20 at Cheltenham, Hurricane Fly, ridden by Ruby Walsh,  is being tipped for glory, particularly after its success at Leopardstown in January. Hurricane Fly is part-owned by Rose Boyd, wife to Frank and until recently a director of a major Northern Irish property company, Killultagh Estates Limited  , whose loans have transferred to NAMA. Killultagh claims to be “one of Northern Ireland’s largest companies engaged in managing property for rental and investment” and its loans have transferred to NAMA, and are in technical default, by which I mean the accounts say “the company’s banking facilities have expired and are repayable on demand”. Frank Boyd is now the sole director of Killultagh and that company appeared to owe NAMA a total of GBP 228m (€190m) in 2010 with the assets of the company, valued by Frank himself, worth GBP 242m (€202m).

Frank and Rose continue to live in one of Northern Ireland’s great country homes, the Rademon (or Radaemon) Estate in county Down and the recent accounts for William Ewart Properties – published two weeks ago and available here – which is owned by Frank Boyd and Andrew Creighton, show that company still having a helicopter depreciation policy which implies – it’s not at all clear from the accounts – that it still has a helicopter. The accounts also state “included in fixtures and fittings are pieces of fine art and racehorses”.It is not apparent from the accounts if William Ewart is in NAMA -the accounts merely state that lending facilities have been transferred to “another provider”.

According to the Belfast Telegraph “the horse [Hurricane Fly]  is partly owned by Rose Boyd who breeds horses at Radaemon, near Crossgar.  Rose is also a well known personality in the point to point world and is Master of Killultagh Harriers” – aah, is that where “Killultagh Estates” Limited got its name?

Now Rose resigned from Killultagh in 2010, so you might say she is no longer clearly a NAMAed developer and is now merely the spouse of a NAMAed developer. But would NAMA, on this side of the Border, tolerate loans in technical default – “expired and repayable on demand” – and the developers still ostensibly living the life of Reilly? NAMA chairman, Frank Daly would have you believe not, but is Frank only concerned with newspaper headlines in Dublin, and is Belfast out of sight, out of mind?

UPDATE: 12th March 2013. Although it came just third last year, it seems that hopes are high at Cheltenham this afternoon in the 15:20 Stan James Champion Hurdle, though it looks as if start times are being delayed by 30 minutes on account of the poor weather.  Seems Ruby Walsh will be riding the Willie Mullins’s trained horse. Hurricane Fly is the 9/4 favourite this morning.

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The view on here towards the workers in Vita Cortex and their dispute on redundancy payments, is mixed. On one hand, you have workers who, in some cases, have spent a life-time working for a company which was closed in December on the eve of Christmas and have received redundancy pay of two weeks per year of service, paid for by the State in an accelerated payment in February 2012 from the Social Insurance Fund. The workers claim they were promised 2.9 weeks per year of service and say those terms were given to other staff in the Vita Cortex group made redundant. In protest at their treatment, the workers are now on Day 89 of a sit-in at the factory site on Kinsale Road in Cork. They’ve had visits from politicians and celebrities, and messages of support from around the world. They’ve protested outside the Dail, they’ve appeared on the Late Late show and have done a great job of promoting their grievance and they’ve garnered the sympathy of the nation. They’re back at the Labour Relations Commission later today.

On the other hand, it seems to be agreed that the Vita Cortex group company which employed the staff in Cork doesn’t have the money to pay any redundancy. The 0.9 weeks of additional redundancy payment are said to be worth a total €374,000.The case has already come before the LRC which said “NAMA have to be careful that they also, in their circumstances, are not diluting assets to the benefit of someone who is in NAMA and who probably, privately, has the capacity to pay”. It seems that the wider Vita Cortex group is prepared to making some ex-gratia payments available to the workers – totalling €180,000 according to reports last week, but this offer has apparently been declined.

The “mixed” view comes from the fact that the Vita Cortex group company doesn’t have the funds to pay the redundancy – that has been established by the LRC – and although the 32 workers have put in a total of 847 years of service (an average of nearly 30 years apiece) the sit-in may be preventing some of the younger workers from moving on with their lives.

Meanwhile AIB to which this State has given €20bn during the past three years is making 2,500 of its 23,000-strong workforce redundant and the banking union, the Irish Bank Officials’ Association is negotiating between 5-6 weeks redundancy per year of service. Or to put it another way, if the 2,500 staff have an average of 20 years service each and annual salary of €70,000 they are set to get a total of up to €404m, compared with €60m if they were paid the basic statutory two weeks which is subject to a maximum of €600 per week, as has happened in the case of Vita Cortex. There are suggestions that the AIB deal might also involve some additional concessions to staff with AIB mortgages.

There seems to be something deeply unfair in the disparity of treatment – workers in a manufacturing concern in Cork which was allowed go bust get one third of the compensation that workers in Dublin (mostly) get in a business which would be bust to the tune of nearly €20bn, were it not for state assistance.

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