Oaktree taps ex-Nama executive Mulcahy for €350m Irish housebuilder IPO

US firm among overseas buyers of distressed Irish assets in recent years

Market sources have said that the new housebuilding company will contain as much as €100 million of assets initially

Market sources have said that the new housebuilding company will contain as much as €100 million of assets initially

 

US private equity giant Oaktree Capital Management is lining up former Nama executive John Mulcahy to chair a new housebuilder that it is preparing to float on the Irish Stock Exchange in the coming months in what is expected to be a €350 million deal, according to sources.

Oaktree, which has more than $100 billion (€85.8 billion) of assets under management, has been working with Maynooth-based builder Bridgedale, which is led by Stephen Garvey, in setting up the new company.

Justin Bickle, a managing director in Oaktree’s European operation in London, is preparing to take on the role of chief executive of the company being floated, according to two of the sources.

Executives involved in the initial public offering (IPO), which is expected to raise about €350 million, are currently courting potential investors with their advisers at Credit Suisse and Davy in a non-deal roadshow, with a view to launching the IPO as early as September, according to sources.

Market sources have said that the new company will contain as much as €100 million of assets initially, including land that Oaktree acquired in recent years as one of the most active overseas buyers of distressed Irish loans and property assets.

It is believed that some Bridgedale assets will also be included in the initial portfolio.

Land purchases

Oaktree is also known to have agreed additional land purchases in recent months, conditional on the IPO being executed.

The Sunday Times reported earlier this month that Oaktree has moved to acquire a 0.9 acre site with planning for seven large three-storey over-basement houses on Dublin’s most exclusive road, Shrewsbury Road, which was put on the market in May for over €10 million. It has also agreed to buy another site in Blackrock in Co Dublin with permission for 24 houses.

A spokeswoman for Oaktree declined to comment, while Mr Garvey didn’t return calls to his office on Tuesday.

John Mulcahy (centre) was chairman and chief executive of Jones Lang LaSalle in Ireland between 2002 and 2010, before joining Nama
John Mulcahy (centre) was chairman and chief executive of Jones Lang LaSalle in Ireland between 2002 and 2010, before joining Nama

Mr Mulcahy was chairman and chief executive of Jones Lang LaSalle in Ireland between 2002 and 2010, before joining Nama, where he held senior positions including head of asset management until January 2014.

The chartered surveyor subsequently joined the board of Irish property pension fund Iput, where he became chairman last year. He also became a director in 2014 of a fund established by Oaktree, known as Targeted Investment Opportunities (TIO) that holds much of its Irish property.

TIO has used Bridgedale in its development of residential units at Greystones marina.

Cairn Homes

A flotation would follow that of Cairn Homes in London in 2015, which was the first IPO of an Irish housebuilder in almost two decades. Shares in Cairn Homes, which was set up in November 2014 and led by chief executive Michael Stanley, will start trading on the Irish Stock Exchange for the first time on Wednesday in a move which may lure more domestic investors into the company.

The company had been prevented from joining the main Irish market until now as it didn’t have a sufficiently long financial performance track record.

Meanwhile, a stock exchange filing from National Bank of Canada on Tuesday afternoon, in which it disclosed a 2.2 per cent investment in Cairn Homes, caused confusion in the market, as the Montreal-based bank stated that it was making the disclosure under the UK takeover code, where holdings above 1 per cent must be revealed.

Sources said that the disclosure was made in error, as Cairn is not in a takeover situation. As such, the National Bank of Canada is only obliged to adhere to the EU transparency directive, which requires that holdings above 3 per cent be disclosed.