Belfast Telegraph

Administration of Lough Erne Resort cost £650,000-plus

By Gordon Deegan

Auditing giant KPMG was paid fees and expenses of £650,000 over the administration of the five-star Lough Erne Resort, new documents show. The Co Fermanagh resort was put into administration in 2011 following a High Court application by Bank of Scotland, and was sold to a group of US investors headed by financier Michael Saliba in July 2015.

Now KPMG administrators John Hansen and Stuart Irwin - in their new report about the administration lodged with Companies House - state that their fees total £648,562, along with expenses of £8,285.

They state that the total time incurred by the joint administrators and their staff amounted to £789,430.

Following the £8.26m sale the administrators immediately paid the Bank of Scotland £5m from the deal - the amount fell far short of the £26.4m owed to the bank at the time that KPMG was appointed as administrators in May 2011.

In July 2015 the Bank of Scotland sold all rights to its security and amounts owing from the charge on the hotel company's assets to Dublin registered property firm Feniton Property Finance Ltd.

The administrators' 16-page document shows that Feniton Property Finance Ltd last year received two separate payments totalling £781,991 made up of a £650,019 payment last February and a further £131,972 in November.

The five-star, 600-acre property sits on its own peninsula between the shorelines of Lough Erne and Castle Hume Lough, close to Enniskillen.

Businessman Jim Treacy developed the combined hotel and golf course with the aid of the £26.4m loan from Bank of Scotland. The business fell into difficulty following the financial crisis, resulting in it being placed into administration.

Leaders from around the world, including US President Barack Obama, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Russian President Vladimir Putin, descended on the Co Fermanagh resort for the G8 June 2013 summit.

In an interview with Business Telegraph yesterday, resort general manager William Kirby said it saw year-on-year growth. "All trends are pointing north. Visitor numbers are up. The upturn of wedding business is good."

The administrators' figures show that while the Bank of Scotland has received a fraction of what is it owed, unsecured creditors owed a total of £3.5m were left empty-handed.

The hotel's administrators state: "Due to insufficient asset realisations, there shall be no dividend to unsecured creditors in this matter."

As a result of KPMG lodging the new report, the Castle Hume Leisure Ltd firm will be dissolved in March as a new company continues to operate the hotel.

The total costs directly attributable to the sale total £2m. The administrators state that a significant aspect of their time and their staff's time was taken up with corresponding with creditors and customers, and dealing with legal issues as well as trading and statutory appointment work. The average hourly rate incurred by KPMG partners was £230.79.

Mr Treacy and his wife Eileen were disqualified as directors for four years over their conduct at the helm of Castle Hume Leisure in November last year. Misconduct included failing to fully co-operate with administrators and failing to pay around £725,000 in tax.

Belfast Telegraph