Former Quinn Insurance hotel in Cambridge sold for €48m

Fri, Aug 3, 2012, 01:00

A HOTEL in Cambridge, England, formerly owned by Quinn Insurance, has been sold for £38 million (€48 million), which will go towards repaying banks and bondholders of the Quinn Group, formerly controlled by Seán Quinn.

The Crowne Plaza Cambridge was sold to Ian and Richard Livingstone, the brothers behind the property group London & Regional who acquired the Four Seasons in Dublin last year.

The property is the first of three hotels previously owned by Quinn Insurance to be sold as part of the restructuring deal which led to the Quinn Group banks and bondholders and the former Anglo Irish Bank taking over the group.

The 198-bedroom hotel was sold by Grant Thornton, the administrators of Quinn Insurance, using Christie and Co, which specialises in selling hotels and bars.

The banks and bondholders led by Barclays, which were owed €1.3 billion by the Quinn Group, are being paid €200 million to waive guarantees of €464 million provided by Quinn Insurance subsidiaries on their debts.

They received €80 million in cash and are being paid a further €120 million from the sale of the Cambridge hotel and two others, the Sheraton Krakow in Poland and the Hilton in Sofia, Bulgaria.

Proceeds from the sale of the hotels in excess of the €120 million will go to reducing the insurer’s claim on the State insurance compensation fund which is expected to be €1.1 billion - €1.3 billion.

The discovery of the guarantees provided by Quinn Insurance subsidiaries on Quinn Group debts led to the Central Bank seeking the appointment of the administrators to the insurer in March 2010 over concerns about its solvency.

The Cambridge hotel was bought by the Quinns for £11.5 million in 1994 and was owned by Shamrock Public Houses, a subsidiary of Quinn Property Holdings.

The Quinn family declined to comment on the sale yesterday.

The family complained last year that the €200 million payment to the Quinn Group lenders would deplete the insurer’s reserves, increasing the call on the insurance compensation fund.

Anglo owns 75 per cent of the group and the other lenders the remaining 25 per cent after they seized control of the business from Mr Quinn in April 2011. Anglo is owed €2.8 billion, of which Mr Quinn’s wife and five adult children are contesting €2.3 billion.