Belfast Telegraph

'Bad bank' Nama seizes key retail and office spaces

By Claire Weir

Around 60 properties and land banks in Northern Ireland have now been added to the Republic’s bad debt agency, Nama.

Now on the list are properties formerly owned by Co Tyrone property developer Peter Dolan, who owned the Jermon group of businesses.

This means Nama is now 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.

Killymeal House, an office complex in the Gasworks complex on the Ormeau Road in Belfast, rented by the offices of the Industrial Tribunal and The Fair Employment Tribunals, is also on the list, as well as office and retail space in Dungannon and Moygashel, which was also once part of the Jermon portfolio.

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

His companies began to run into trouble in 2010 and, one by one, properties had receivers and administrators appointed by a number of different banks.

Earlier this year an administrator’s report revealed that Jermon Ltd had debts of around £100m.

Several building developments owned by bankrupt Ballycastle developer Mervyn McAlister have also been absorbed by Nama in recent months.

It was announced last month that Nama had effectively repossessed some of Belfast's best known pubs.

The agency appointed an administrator to two companies, Lanyon Trading and Lisk, controlled by two Co Clare businessmen — Sean Lyne and Noel Connellan — which owned the freeholds of The Bot, The Kings Head, Madison's hotel, The Globe and The Northern Whig and leased them to Botanic Inns.

The move does not affect Botanic Inns — which is now leasing the bars from Nama — and the bars are operating as normal.

Also on Nama’s list are a large number of developments which remain unfinished or have not yet commenced, mainly in counties Fermanagh and Tyrone.

The National Asset Management Agency’s updated list includes 105 properties just added, including 57 to which receivers were appointed during October.

The total number of properties now listed by Nama in Northern Ireland and the Republic is 1,040, including residential, development, retail, office, agricultural and industrial assets.

Last week Finance Minister Sammy Wilson warned that the spectre of Nama could badly effect businesses in Northern Ireland|if a ‘fire sale’ of properties took place, but earlier this month Nama chairman Frank Daly insisted that no such sale will take place.

Story so far

Nama was set up by the Irish government in 2009 to buy the land and property development loans of the six failing Irish banks. Its objective is to obtain the best achievable financial return for the Irish state on this portfolio over an expected lifetime of up to 10 years. More than £3.3bn of Irish Nama loans are secured on assets in Northern Ireland. The debt covers an estimated 150 different firms and individuals.

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