Belfast Telegraph

Property firm has debts of £100m, report reveals

By Clare Weir

A Northern Ireland property company has debts of over £100m, a report has revealed.

Jermon Ltd was founded in 1997 by Co Tyrone pharmacist Peter Dolan and his wife Jacqueline.

According to the administrator’s report, the company operated from a base in Dungannon, acquiring and developing a number of retail and office properties throughout Northern Ireland.

The company continued to grow by acquisition both in Northern Ireland and further afield, from significant bank borrowings.

As a result of the downturn in the local property market, the company experienced “severe working capital pressures” in late January.

An administrator was appointed on January 27 on Mr Dolan’s instructions and HMRC had additionally issued a winding-up petition against the company.

The administrator’s report has revealed that Jermon Ltd currently has assets worth £91m, but owes £191m, meaning a net deficit of just over £100m.

AIB is owed £63m of the money, £25m is owed to the Bank of Ireland and £103m to Anglo Irish Bank and Bank of Scotland Ireland.

Assets include a helicopter worth £300,000 and properties worth £90m. Bank loans and overdrafts are worth £189m out of total liabilities of £195m — almost half of the remaining amount owed to other creditors is made up of tax bills.

Tom Keenan of Keenan Corporate Finance was appointed administrator to Jermon Ltd by First Trust and other banks two months ago.

Jermon Ltd is landlord for a number of key retail and office properties in Belfast, including the Scottish Mutual Building in Donegall Square South, HMV and TK Maxx in Donegall Arcade and Mothercare in Castle Place. The company also owned retail properties in Dungannon.

Parts of holding company Jermon Developments' property portfolio including Fanum House in Belfast, Laharna Retail Park in Larne and Strabane Retail Park were put up for sale last year after a receiver was appointed by Anglo Irish Bank.

The company is one of a number of big name property firms to have hit hard times since the housing market slump.

The Carvill Group — the company behind the multi-million pound revamp of the former Sirocco site in Belfast — has announced it is seeking a voluntary arrangement with creditors in a bid to survive.

In February, Ballycastle builder Mervyn McAlister was declared bankrupt in the High Court on February 18.

Many of his prominent developments have been placed into receivership by Anglo Irish Bank, including the site of his most famous project, the 37-storey Aurora skyscraper in Belfast.

It has also been revealed that Ulster Bank can expect to lose £20m on loans it made to a Co Down house building firm.

Thompson Lennox owes the bank around £23m but its assets — including sites in Moneymore and Lisnaskea — are worth just £3m. The firm was placed into receivership earlier this year and owes one insured creditor more than £2m.

Belfast Telegraph