Nama agents enter exclusive talks with Battersea bidders
STATE AGENCY Nama and Lloyd’s Bank moved a step closer to the sale of London’s Battersea Power Station yesterday with the announcement that their administrators have entered exclusive talks with two Malaysian bidders for the property.
Nama and Lloyds had Ernst Young appointed as administrators to Battersea Power Station, whose biggest shareholder was Real Estate Opportunities (REO), last December after efforts to find a new investor for it failed.
The administrators confirmed yesterday that they have entered exclusive talks with Malaysian bidders SP Setia and Sime Darby, who recently emerged as the frontrunners among 15 potential buyers, including the reigning Champions League winners Chelsea Football Club.
Nama and Lloyds are jointly owed about €380 million. If a deal with SP Setia and Sime Darby goes ahead both will be repaid in full. The State agency’s chief executive, Brendan McDonagh, welcomed the news yesterday.
However, the John Ronan and Richard Barrett-owned Treasury Holdings, REO’s largest shareholder, said the deal was a missed opportunity for Nama and the Irish taxpayer.
Nama and Lloyds rebuffed a previous offer from SP Setia that would have seen them recoup 85 per cent of the debt. The Malaysian player subsequently indicated it was willing to pay the lenders in full, and give Treasury Holdings the management contract and a 10 per cent share of the profits from the site’s development.
“Neither Treasury nor Nama will now share in the £400 million sterling of potential fees and the substantial profits generated by the development of Battersea Power Station which would have gone to Treasury Holdings and would have ultimately gone to pay down debt owed to Nama,” the company said.
Nama did not comment. Treasury has taken High Court action to restrain the agency from appointing receivers to its properties.
REO paid €600 million for Battersea in 2006 with loans from Bank of Scotland and Bank of Ireland. Nama took over the latter’s debt in 2010. REO spun off the power station company in April 2011. Its bondholders took 46 per cent while REO took 54 per cent.