Belfast Telegraph

Millionaire McKillen free to start investing

By Margaret Canning

Many borrowers of Ulster Bank and other institutions will be looking on enviously as Paddy McKillen, with the panache for which the south-of-France-dwelling millionaire is known, refinances around £100m in debt.

His deal with Bank of Ireland frees him from many alternative onerous outcomes.

One of the possibilities would have been answering to another, less appealing funder, such as Texan fund Lone Star, which has bought some of the other loans held by Ulster Bank in Project Achill. That could have opened up considerable uncertainty for a man who likes to know where he stands with his banker – and who managed to throw off the shackles of Nama.

McKillen, who is from Belfast, said the refinancing would now enable him to reinvest in his business.

That could mean returning to make property investments in the Republic of Ireland, a jurisdiction which has been less attractive to him in recent times.

And what might he do with his Northern Ireland assets?

Ards Shopping Centre is an asset which requires much investment and attention, and which received planning permission for an extension from the Department of the Environment two years ago – albeit eight years after it was first applied for.

He could even have his sights on top Irish retail asset, Dundrum Town Centre, which has been put on sale by Nama for €1bn.

Returning to make one of Nama's biggest deals would make sense to McKillen.

Belfast Telegraph