Thursday, August 9, 2012

Nama sells £100m of Gannon portfolio - The Irish Times - Tue, Aug 07, 2012

SIMON CARSWELL, Finance Correspondent

THE NATIONAL Asset Management Agency has sold a £100 million (€121 million) portfolio of UK properties previously owned by property developer Gerry Gannon, one of the agency’s 10 most heavily borrowed debtors.

Two British property companies, Development Securities and the Pears Group, have exchanged contracts on the portfolio, which was put up for sale last February, UK publisher PropertyWeek said.

The portfolio comprised 38 development and investment properties, including residential blocks in Victoria, Chelsea and Covent Garden in London, covering more than 300,000sq ft.

The properties, known as the Chrome Portfolio, generate £6.4 million a year in rental income – £4.1 million from the commercial properties and £2.3 million from the residential properties – according to the sales brochure published by estate agents Savils.

More than 90 per cent of the properties are occupied and more than 75 per cent of the income is generated in London and the southeast of England. Just over half the properties are in London.

Jonathan Rose, managing director of the Pears Group, told The Irish Times that he could not comment on the report as the two companies were bound by confidentiality agreements.

Nama and Development Securities also had no comment to make.

Development Securities said in February that it was in discussions to buy the properties from Nama.

The company purchased an unoccupied 122-apartment block next to the Olympic Park in east London last April with Canadian property company Realstar.

Nama, which acquired €74 billion of loans from five Irish lenders with debts of €32 billion, has primarily focused on property sales in the stronger UK market to reach the target of repaying €7.5 billion of its debts by the end of next year.

Nama said last month that it had approved asset sales of €9.2 million and that there were a further €2.2 billion of active sales in the pipeline.

Businessman Michael Smurfit, former chairman of packaging group Smurfit Kappa, bought out 49 per cent of the K Club owned by Mr Gannon to take outright ownership of the Co Kildare hotel and golf resort for more than €40 million in a deal completed in May

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