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Receiver appointed to Johnny Ronan portfolio that includes Bewley’s Cafe

Active discussions ongoing with an international investor, but developer’s property company missed deadlines set by banks

Developer Johnny Ronan has consented to the appointment of a receiver to a portfolio of property assets that includes the historic Bewley’s Cafe in Dublin.

Ronan Group Real Estate (RGRE) said on Wednesday it had invited Bank of Ireland and AIB to appoint a receiver to manage the refinancing of property assets owned by the company.

The loans from AIB and Bank of Ireland to which the receiver has been appointed amount to about €130 million. It is understood the value of the property portfolio is well in excess of this figure.

The portfolio of properties also includes Connaught House on Burlington Road, AIB Investment House on Percy Place in Dublin 4, Kingram House in Dublin 2, and Kilmore House in Spencer Dock. RGRE said the assets in question were “continuing to perform strongly”.


It is understood there have been active discussions ongoing with an international investor for some time, but that AIB and Bank of Ireland became concerned about the debt and set deadlines that were not met by the company.

Following talks between the parties, the company consented to the receivership process and the banks moved to appoint a receiver.

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“The process has commenced after careful consideration while RGRE Holdings continues its discussions with an international investor about the refinancing of the loans relating to the assets,” the company said.

“The move acknowledges that the loans on the properties in question need to be restructured as a response to current market conditions and RGRE Holdings is working closely with its banks and the receiver to reach a mutually agreed resolution of the position.”

It is understood that most of the Ronan Group empire, including the glass bottle site in Dublin 4, Waterfront South Central on North Wall Quay, as well as developments in Cherrywood, is unaffected by the move.

RGRE said the affected properties sit in a group of special-purpose vehicles which were financially insulated from the rest of the group.

“There are no cross-guarantees or cross-collateralisation, and the company’s interests in its other developments and other sites are unaffected by this decision,” it said.

RGRE added it was “confident” its refinancing deal would enable the receivers to be discharged “in a manner that is satisfactory to all parties”, and that refinancing discussions were continuing notwithstanding the receiver appointment.

This process is expected to take several weeks to complete and all parties to the process are expected to allow the group time to continue discussions with its potential investor.

A spokesman for RGRE said: “We recognise the need to restructure the financing of these assets and we are delighted we have been able to work with our current lenders to begin a steady, managed process to introduce a new investor to our business and put a new lending arrangement in place that satisfies all parties.

“The assets entering this receivership process are performing robustly and we are confident that RGRE Holdings will emerge stronger and better geared for the future. None of our other property assets is affected by this process.”

Mr Ronan has been one of the great survivors of the Irish property sector. He was a major player in the commercial property market here before the 2008 crash and despite having his loans put into Nama, Mr Ronan re-established himself as a key figure in the market here.

The 69-year-old businessman is a central figure in some of the most high-profile property development schemes in the State.

Colin Gleeson

Colin Gleeson

Colin Gleeson is an Irish Times reporter