Ballymore exits NAMA having paid back nearly €4 billion to creditors in just six years
Developer Seán Mulryan’s Ballymore left Ireland’s ‘bad bank’ NAMA last month on 21 December having repaid €3.2 billion in gross debt to the agency since 2010.
The Roscommon-born developer, who has several significant developments and projects in the UK told staff the group has also paid back RBS, KBC and other institutions bringing the total amount of debt paid off to around €4 billion In his note to employees, Ballymore founder Seán Mulryan said the property group exited Nama on 21 December and called it a “staggering achievement” and one that the company “should be very proud of ”.
In addition, Mr Mulryan said that Ballymore had paid back “significant borrowings” to RBS, KBC and other institutions, to bring its total group debt repayment to about €4 billion.
“We have also managed to retain one of the best development land banks in London, a significant land bank in Ireland, a significant property investment portfolio and have successfully grown our development management and construction management businesses in London, Birmingham and Dublin,” Mr Mulryan added.
He thanked staff for their contributions and loyalty, which he said helped Ballymore achieve a “remarkable turnaround”.
“Although there is still a lot of work to do and many projects to be delivered upon, we have just achieved something exceptional together,” he said. When appearing at the Oireachtas banking inquiry last year, Mr Mulryan said Ballymore had total debts of €2.4 billion at the end of March 2009, of which just under €2 billion was related to Irish banks that transferred loans to Nama.
Its biggest lenders were Anglo Irish Bank at just under €1.2 billion, Allied Irish Banks at €400 million and Irish Nationwide Building Society at €288 million. The difference between the figure owed in 2009 and the sum repaid to Nama reflects interest payments, and interest paid on new loans advanced by Nama to help the property company complete development projects. Ballymore would have been one of Nama’s biggest debtors and it is probably the largest group to have successfully exited the agency.
Last year the company won the UK’s Large Developer of the Year at the Resi Awards and the Evening Standard Business Award for Property Developer of the Year. The judges commended Ballymore for projects which “add to the quality of life in the capital and make it a better place to live.”
The company has been praised for its London City Island, a 12-acre residential development of 1,700 properties on the Leamouth Peninsula in east London to which it pledged it would “bring the arts to a new audience” by creating a number of dedicated performance spaces, including one for English National Ballet.
Its other London developments are some of the most ambitious urban regeneration schemes in the capital – Embassy Gardens in Nine Elms, Royal Wharf in the Royal Docks and Wardian in Canary Wharf.
The company’s UK MD John Mulryan said at the time: “Our schemes at London City Island and Royal Wharf will welcome their first residents later this year and Embassy Gardens is quickly becoming a true destination to live, work and play.
“It is really important to us that our developments are not just residential and there is a lot on offer to those who live there and in the surrounding area.
“We would like City Island to become a cultural hub that can contribute to the London arts scene — especially now that we will host English National Ballet from 2018.
“That will help us really put the island on the cultural map.”