Today in the press

Thursday 04 July 2013 09.04
A look at some of today's business stories in the newspapers
A look at some of today's business stories in the newspapers

KENNEDY WILSON SET TO WIN BATTLE OVER €306m PROPERTY PORTFOLIO - Kennedy Wilson has edged closer to ending its hard-fought battle to buy 16 high-end commercial properties formerly owned by Treasury Holdings, writes the Irish Independent. US-based Kennedy Wilson has emerged as a major force in Irish property thanks to a succession of major acquisitions. It has been attempting to complete a €306m takeover of a portfolio that includes the Stillorgan Shopping Centre in Dublin, Merchants Quay Shopping Centre in Cork and a plethora of high-end office blocks that include Bank of Ireland's headquarters on Mespil Road in the capital. But its effort has been stymied by an alternative offer from US rival Northwood and opposition to the sale from some of the bondholders left in control of the assets following a loan default. Kennedy Wilson's bid for the properties was accepted last month, but looked to be in doubt when Northwood came in with an 11th-hour offer of €310m a fortnight ago. That last-minute approach reignited a long-running takeover battle for the buildings, which were put up for sale by lenders at the start of the year after Treasury Holdings failed to repay a €375m loan.

***

NAMA EXPECTS A MAXIMUM €23.8 BILLION IN PAR DEBT LOAN TRANSFER FROM IBRC - The National Asset Management Agency is preparing to have a maximum of €23.8 billion in loans transferred to it by the special liquidators of Irish Bank Resolution Corporation, says the Irish Times. This is from a book with a gross value of €27 billion and suggests that the liquidators will offload loans with a par value of about €4 billion by the end of this year, the deadline set by the Government for such sales to happen. These figures represent the original value of the loans and do not take account of discounts that might now apply due to the effects of the global financial crisis and the collapse of the Irish property market over the past five years. This emerged yesterday from the appointment of three companies to manage these loans for NAMA when they are transferred by IBRC’s liquidators. NAMA has chosen Certus to manage the portfolio of loans relating to commercial property, residential investment and development, and business banking. It said this group of loans could have an aggregate nominal par debt value of €22 billion. NAMA said this work would include the provision of credit, legal, treasury, finance and accounting services. In addition, NAMA has chosen Pepper Asset Servicing and Serco to manage its portfolio of personal and residential mortgage loans on IBRC’s books. This relates largely to Irish Nationwide, which was merged with Anglo Irish Bank to form IBRC. This portfolio is expected to comprise loans with an aggregate nominal par value of €1.8 billion.

***

ISE’S DECISION ON BLOXHAM STILL HOLDS - The Irish Stock Exchange’s decision revoking Bloxham stockbrokers’ membership of the exchange cannot be quashed via judicial review proceedings, the Commercial Court has ruled. The liquidator has also brought a separate plenary challenge to that decision, reports the Irish Examiner. Had its membership of the Irish Stock Exchange (ISE) not been revoked, Bloxham could be entitled to significant funds arising from proposals to transfer the business of the ISE to a new company with the distribution of accumulated reserves to existing members. That project, known as Project Chrysalis, has not yet been implemented but the ISE accumulated reserves stood at some €27m in 2011. The liquidator sought judicial review after Bloxham’s membership of the ISE was revoked last December on grounds Bloxham had not been trading for some six months. The Central Bank had in May 2012 directed the firm to suspend its trading activities after it was revealed it was undercapitalised and the firm petitioned to be wound up. As a preliminary issue in the judicial review proceedings, the ISE asked the Commercial Court to rule its decision could not be quashed by judicial review. The exchange argued its decision did not have the public law attributes required for judicial review.

***

LONDON AIMS TO WIN BIGGER SLICE OF THRIVING ISLAMIC FINANCE MARKET - London is pushing for an increased share of the global Islamic finance market as the sector expands to a forecast $1.6 trillion in assets over the next three years. Boris Johnson, mayor of London, said there were “huge opportunities” to strengthen the capital’s position in Islamic finance after meeting Najib Razak, Malaysian prime minister, at City Hall on Wednesday. Both gave their backing to London’s hosting of the World Islamic Economic Forum in October - the first time the event has been held outside the Muslim world, writes the Financial Times. Deals worth about £5.8 billion were struck at the event, sometimes dubbed an “Islamic Davos”, in Malaysia last year. Islamic finance conforms to the principles of the Koran, which forbids use of interest. Complex alternative arrangements allow Muslim believers to use financial products such as sukuk, or bonds, and takaful, or insurance, without falling foul of religious precepts. The prize for London is to take a slice of these “sharia-compliant” assets, which have grown by almost 50% in two years, from $826 billion in 2010 to $1.2 trillion in 2012, according to TheCityUK, the finance sector lobby group. The figure is expected to rise to $1.6 trillion by 2015

Keywords: presswatch