Firstwood Partnership secures court order against receiver

Fund-appointed receiver prevented from selling commercial properties worth €13.5m

A business partnership has secured a temporary court order preventing a fund-appointed receiver from selling a car park and several commercial properties in Dublin owned by the partnership. The properties in Dublin 2 were valued at €13.5 million in 2014, the High Court heard.

Firstwood Partnership – comprising Dermot Murphy, Eric Brunker, Anthony Kidney, Gabriel Byrne and Stephen Hamilton – sought the orders against Launceston Property Finance and receiver Stephen Tennant of Grant Thornton, who was appointed over the properties late last week. The partnership disputes the receiver's appointment and fears he may attempt to sell the properties, the court heard.

The properties are all in Dublin 2. They consist of a car park, restaurant and offices at 1-6 St Andrews Lane; Nos 14 and 15 Trinity Street; and Nos 1 and 2 Dame Lane, along with part of No 3 Dame Lane.

On Wednesday, Mr Justice Tony O’Connor granted the ex parte application (one side only represented) by Rossa Fanning SC, for the partnership, for the temporary injunctions which restrain Mr Tennant from acting in his capacity as receiver, meaning he cannot collect rents or sell the properties.


Mr Fanning said the action arose from his clients' concern that the properties could be sold by the receiver. The monies used to acquire the properties were acquired from Anglo Irish Bank and the loan was purchased by Launceston in 2014, Mr Fanning added.

Lot of equity

The facility was not due to expire till 2020 and the current debt owed by the partnership to the lender was some €6.7 million. A €13.5 million valuation was put on the properties in 2014, meaning there was a lot of equity in their investment, Mr Fanning said. Since acquiring the loan, Launceston had been acting “aggressively” and there had been a lot of correspondence between the parties in relation to the terms of the loan.

Launceston had claimed the partnership was in breach of the terms and conditions of the loan by not paying the rent collected from the tenants directly to the lender, but that claim was rejected by the partnership, the judge was told. The partnership had for 14 years collected rents and under the terms of an agreement with Anglo made scheduled payments to the lender.

As a result of the dispute, Launceston last week appointed a receiver and the partnership contended Launceston was not entitled to do that. The partnership was “in good standing with its borrowings”, Mr Fanning said.

The judge noted there had been a lot of “heated correspondence” between the parties and returned the matter to next week.