Archive for December 4th, 2012

Today’s Allsop Space auction in the Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin has concluded and it can be judged a success with 88 of the 103 Lots that were ultimately up for grabs being sold, representing a sale success rate of 85.4%. The total auction raised €13.6m which was 36% over the maximum reserves for the 88 Lots sold.  Allsop Space should be very pleased with the results today, because this auction was  a departure from previous auctions in that it focused primarily on commercial property and also the auction takes place just a day before one of the toughest budgets ever.

The results are shown below – click to ENLARGE. The online catalogue is available here. Analysis later but in summary there were about 500 punters today, down on previous auctions, but there was plenty of money around. The garden square in Ranelagh attracted controversy on the day with its erstwhile owner coming along to protest at the sale, in the end there were no bids for the 2-acre square which had a maximum reserve of €140,000. Gary Murphy did the honours at the podium but the IT system was dogged with problems throughout, with stops to correct the Euro/Sterling exchange rates and on the Internet, there were problems with actual results – no doubt, gremlins because in the past, the IT system was slick.



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Progress update on NAMA

The National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA) has published the latest version of its investor roadshow presentation it uses to attract investment in Irish bonds. Included in the presentation, is a section on NAMA and we some information not otherwise in the public domain.


(1) Qualifying Investor Funds (QIFS). QIFs are managed investment funds which in NAMA’s case will focus on property, probably mostly in Ireland. The presentation says that the launch of the first QIF is now scheduled for Q1,2013 which represents a slippage from the planned launch “by the end of 2012”. It remains unclear why NAMAhas been so slow with appointing the professionals needed to manage the QIF, and NAMA hasn’t offered any explanation.

(2) The NTMA refers to the “possible introduction of REIT legislation” without giving further details. A REIT, or “Real Estate Investment Trust” is a managed property investment fund that allows smaller investors to invest in property shares in a convenient, tax-efficient manner. These were promised by Minister Noonan but whenever he is asked about progress with introducing the legislation, he just says that his Department is keeping the subject under review.

(3) The NTMA says NAMAis “well positioned to achieve long-term objectives”

(4) NAMA has approved €1.6bn in new advances to developers of which €0.75bn has in fact been handed over in cash.

(5) NAMA has generated a staggering €9.5bn in cash, comprising disposal of assets of €6.2bn and other income of €3.3bn which will include rent receipts and loan repayments.

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Today’s Iris Oifigiul reveals that NAMA has had receivers appointed to two more companies controlled by Galway developer and hotelier Mike Finn. On 29th November 2012, NAMA had Aiden Murphy of Crowe Horwath appointed to Carmel Quay Limited and Deveronne  Investments Limited.  Carmel Quay Limited is 100% owned by Deveronne  Investments Limited which is in turn 50% controlled by Mike Finn (Michael Finn) and Claire Finn. These appointments follow two appointments to Finn companies reported here last week.

The Finns are associated with a number of developments in and around Galway including The House Hotel and Spanish Arch Hotel.

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

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Although the Irish Examiner report doesn’t say, it is understood that the NAMA versus Enda Farrell (and wife) case returned to the Commercial Court division of the High Court in Dublin yesterday, and as this case is now seemingly drawing to a close, NAMA was seeking a costs order against Enda Farrell and his wife Alice Kramer (Alison Kramer). And NAMA has hit a snag.

Whilst Enda Farrell, the former employee accused of leaking confidential information whilst employed at the Agency, has agreed to the costs order, his wife hasn’t, and there will now be further steps to establish her role in the affair. The Examiner is reporting that the wife claims she was unaware of the content of the 29 emails that her husband had sent her at her work email address – she was employed by Ernst and Young until September 2012.  These 29 emails were forwarded by Alice to her personal email address.

The Examiner goes on to report “she said she never looked at the emails or their attachments or the contents of a document which her husband asked her to scan onto her work email address, which she then forwarded to him.”

Mr Justice Peter Kelly was presiding over the hearing yesterday and the costs order against Alice Kramer has been adjourned to January 2013, before which, presumably, Alice will be setting out why she believes she should not bear costs in this case.

No figure is given anywhere for what NAMA’s costs are likely to be, but if you throw in the cost of the internal investigation and a very robust legal action which included obtaining and executing a rare Anton Piller order to secure data on Enda’s home computer, but in mitigation, consider that Enda is reported to have fully cooperated with the NAMA investigation, you are probably still looking at NAMA costs well over €100,000. With no news of either Enda or his wife back working – he parted company with Forum Partners and she parted company with Ernst and Young – and with a career outlook that may be challenging, NAMA’s legal costs might be very substantial indeed to the couple.

As for the meat of the case, NAMA has been claiming that it hasn’t suffered material loss from the alleged leak, and accordingly hasn’t claimed damages from Enda (or wife) though the Examiner reports that it has reserved its right to do so in future. So, if any NAMA developer feels they have suffered loss, and pursue and are successful in their claim, then Enda may face further financial claims by NAMA. Enda may also face action by the Gardai and Data Protection Commissioner, to whom NAMA made complaints.

So, we’ll return to this matter in the New Year. Meanwhile it looks as if it will be a frosty Christmas in the Farrell/Kramer house.

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