Joint liquidators appointed to Treasury Holdings

Tuesday 09 October 2012 17.54
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Treasury Holdings has debts of €2.7 billion
Treasury Holdings has debts of €2.7 billion
Dublin Convention Centre was one of Treasury's developments
Dublin Convention Centre was one of Treasury's developments

The High Court has appointed joint liquidators to insolvent property company Treasury Holdings.

The move follows a decision by Treasury not to resist a winding up application by one of its banks, KBC, over a debt of €55m.

Treasury has debts of €2.7 billion. €1.5 billion is owed to NAMA.

Michael McAteer and Paul McCann of Grant Thornton were appointed joint liquidators to Treasury and 16 related companies.

The court was told KBC bank still had "deep concern and serious suspicion" about a recent transfer of assets from a Treasury subsidiary in Singapore to a Channel Islands company owned by one of its co-founders, Richard Barrett.

The court heard there was "a vast difference of opinion" on the value of the assets ranging from €2.3m - which is what Mr Barrett is said to have paid - to €31m in a valuation report submitted to the court.

Mr Justice McGovern described the timing of the transaction as "undesirable", adding that KBC only became aware of the transaction through an announcement to the Singapore Stock exchange.

However, he said the liquidator could investigate the transaction, could seek to reverse it and could refer issues to the Director of Corporate Enforcement or the DPP if appropriate.

Counsel for Treasury, Michael Collins, said he was "taken aback" at how the issue was raised at today's hearing given that it would be a matter for the liquidators to investigate.

He said if there was any wish to do anything untoward it could have been done weeks and months ago. Mr Collins said the transaction was done in a very public way.

NAMA has also told the court it believed the explanation given for the transaction was "unsatisfactory and incomplete".

In a statement, the liquidators said it is their intention to ensure that management services provided by Treasury continue uninterrupted, and that the impact of their appointment is kept to a minimum.

The statement added that the joint liquidators are making arrangements to meet all Treasury Holdings staff to brief them on the situation.

As part of their statutory duties, they will also prepare a report for the court and present it at a further hearing in the near future.

Treasury Holdings was one of the State's biggest developers and was behind the development of land mark projects including the Convention Centre in Dublin's Docklands and the Spencer Dock office complex as well as the Westin and Ritz-Carlton Hotels.

It also developed into an international business with projects in Britain, France, Sweden, Russia and China.