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English court dismisses McKillen appeal against NAMA's sale of London hotel chain

NAMA says it is “delighted” at the ruling, which ensures a “very substantial financial recovery” for the agency.

The famous Claridges hotel in London is one of those involved in the €800 million deal.
The famous Claridges hotel in London is one of those involved in the €800 million deal.
Image: Andy Butterton/PA Archive

AN ENGLISH COURT has dismissed an appeal by Belfast property developer Paddy McKillen, giving its approval to a NAMA sale worth an estimated €800 million.

McKillen had taken action against NAMA, developer Derek Quinlan and the owners of the Daily Telegraph, Sir David and Sir Frederick Barclay, over NAMA’s decision to sell debts behind the Maybourne Hotel group.

NAMA had taken over those debts from Quinlan’s Coroin Ltd in June 2010, and sold them to the Barclays in September 2011 – thereby allowing the Barclays to take over some of London’s most prestigious hotels, including the Savoy and Claridges.

McKillen alleged that the transfer was invalid, however, claiming NAMA was required to consult with Coroin – and its other shareholders, including McKillen himself – before proceeding with the sale.

This morning the High Court in London has ruled that NAMA was free to transfer the loans without any restriction, ensuring that there was no impediment in NAMA selling the loans behind Coroin to the Barclay brothers.

While a ruling in separate claims against the Barclays has not been delivered yet, today’s partial ruling means that the remainder of the case can not have any impact on NAMA’s sale of the loans, copperfastening the €800m sale.

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NAMA chief executive said he was “delighted” that the court had upheld NAMA’s sale of the Coroin debts, and said this had led to “a very substantial financial recovery” for the State’s bad bank.

That deal was by far the largest single transaction concluded by NAMA to date; the second-largest transaction also related to a London property, the Battersea power station, which was sold off to a Malaysian group earlier this month for an estimated £400 million.

It is thought that the largest transaction completed to date within Ireland is the sale of the Montevetro building at Grand Canal Dock to Google for €99.9 million.

Previously: McKillen accuses brothers of acting ‘unlawfully’ in London hotel takeover

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Gavan Reilly

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