Nama to benefit from €19.5m sale of Knightsbrook golf resort

Fairfield backs Irish investors to buy Meath hotel from Cusack group

Knightsbrook Hotel Spa & Golf Resort: profitable in 2015, but assets still fell €1 million short of liabilities

Knightsbrook Hotel Spa & Golf Resort: profitable in 2015, but assets still fell €1 million short of liabilities

 

Nama is set to benefit from the near €20 million sale of Knightsbrook hotel and golf course to a group of Irish investors backed by the specialist lender Fairfield Real Estate Finance.

A group of private Irish investors has bought the resort, in Trim, Co Meath, for €19.5 million, €1.5 million more than the price sought when the Cushman & Wakefield agency put the hotel on the market, in April. Nama, the State assets agency, will benefit from the deal as it took over a loan, originally due to AIB, that was secured on the property and the business.

Accounts for the Knightsbrook hotel and golf-course companies show that they had discussed repayment of the debt with Nama in recent years. The agency would not comment on Monday. Knightsbrook Hotel and Golf Resort Ltd’s figures show that it was profitable in 2015 but that its assets still fell €1 million short of its liabilities.

Knightsbrook Hotel Spa & Golf Resort is part of the family-owned Cusack Hotel Group, which also includes the Castle Arch Hotel, which is also in Trim, and the Ardboyne and Newgrange Hotels, both in Navan.

The group is one of a number of construction and property-related enterprises established by John Cusack, a well-known businessman who died in 2007. The new owners intend to leave the property under its current management, but it is understood that they will bring in new expertise.

Fairfield loaned the buyers 76 per cent of the €19.5 million purchase price, or €14.8 million. Rory O’ Doherty, Stephen Gahan and Tim Smyth of the Cork-based corporate-finance firm ODG Advisory were the principal advisers on the transaction. The property firm Savills acted for Fairfield.

Cusack Hotels opened Knightsbrook in 2006. The four-star hotel has 131 bedrooms, and its 185-acre site includes a golf course designed by Christy O’Connor jnr.

The US private-equity investor Oaktree Capital Management set up Fairfield last year to lend money to fund industrial and commercial property deals in Ireland and Britain. The company says that it has loaned €500 million since it opened for business, in June 2016, about half of it in Ireland.

Earlier this year Fairfield financed MM Capital’s purchase of an office block on Golden Lane in central Dublin from GE Capital for €22 million.

Fairfield’s real estate director, Colin Duncan, said the company was pleased to have worked with ODG on the Knightsbrook Hotel deal. “We were able to provide credit-approved terms within one week of our first discussions on the funding proposition, and we look forward to supporting the new owners in driving this successful hotel forward,” he said. “It highlights our ongoing commitment to the Irish market.”