The Irish Independent today reports on the sale of a property in England – you can read the “what” here. The property is called “PGS Court” and is located in a town called Walton-on-Thames which is a few miles outside London. It is a 31,000 sq ft office block on 1.6 acres and you can see an advertisement for the building in 2009 here. There are two players in this story. Firstly, there’s the Dunner himself, Sean Dunne who has recently filed for bankruptcy in Connecticut. And secondly there is Michael Fingleton junior, the 31-year old son of the former CEO of Irish Nationwide. Here’s the chronology, money is shown in sterling (GBP)
1999 Sean Dunne buys the property for GBP 9.3m
2012 (January) Sean sells the property for what the Independent says was “half that sum [GBP10m]” or GBP 5m. It is unclear who Sean’s estate agent was, but in 2009, it was being marketed by a small firm of estate agents, Quinton Scott, based in Wimbledon, south west London
The buyer appears to be an Isle of Man company called Kulio (IOM). However, another company, Hibernian Capital Limited incorporated in the UK and whose sole director is Michael Fingleton junior, has been described as the landlord of the building and according to the Independent, “his name appears on planning application documents” relating to the building.
2013 (February) Hibernian Capital leases the building to Kia Motors on 15-year lease. Hibernia was reportedly represented by Quinton Scott. Kia was represented by Savills.
2013 (April) Michael Fingleton junior is now selling the property with asking price of GBP 12.3m (selling agents reported to be Savills)
The reason this transaction is of direct interest to you is that the sale in 2012 was, according to the Independent, at the behest of creditors, namely Bank of Ireland which we 15%-own and in which we have €1.5bn of preference shares, and Bank of Scotland.
Of course the GBP 12.3m now reported is an asking price, but does anyone else think that it is a remarkable increase in 14 months, from GBP 5m to GBP 12.3m? According to IPD, commercial property generally in the UK has declined by 3.8% in the past 12 months.
Sean Dunne had a long standing relationship with Irish Nationwide. According to the Richard Curran special on RTE in February 2013, Sean owed Irish Nationwide €131.5m in December 2006.
If the Independent article is correct, particularly as regards the sale price last year and the asking price now, surely Bank of Ireland should be asking how the building has more than doubled in value in the space of 14 months.