Potential Taggart buyer contacts PwC


A POTENTIAL buyer for troubled developer Taggart Holdings has contacted its administrator, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), with a view to opening talks that could lead to its purchase.

Belfast-based Taggart was placed in administration, a rescue mechanism for troubled companies, last month at the request of Bank of Ireland and Ulster Bank, to which it is said to owe €150 million.

The Irish Times understands that Stuart Pearson, who last week confirmed he is interested in buying Taggart's assets, has contacted PwC in Belfast, where partner Garth Andrew Calow has been appointed administrator to the group. Mr Pearson, whose advisers include De Vere and Goodbody Stockbrokers, is said to be seeking a meeting with the administrator early next week.

Reports last week indicated that Mr Pearson was willing to offer about €450 million for the group's assets. However, he said any price put on the table would depend on getting the group's various properties valued.

Mr Pearson is a 24-year-old accountant who inherited money a number of years ago. He has invested some cash in property, largely of a commercial nature, but has not taken on anything on the scale of Taggart Holdings.

Goodbody Stockbrokers is involved in three joint ventures with Taggart in the Belfast area. These are outside the administration process, although Taggart's main holding company is a shareholder in them. All are understood to have enough cash to meet their commitments to the banks.

Billy O'Riordain, partner with PwC in Dublin, was appointed receiver of four Taggart companies in the Republic. These businesses have three sites in Donegal, Westmeath and Dublin and a housing development in Meath.