Davy investors pursue retailers over alleged rent arrears

Head of the stockbroker’s real estate division is among those suing store owners

MacDonagh Junction shopping centre in Kilkenny.

MacDonagh Junction shopping centre in Kilkenny.

 

A group of investors in a fund managed by Davy stockbrokers, who own MacDonagh Junction shopping centre in Kilkenny, have begun to take enforcement action against several retailers at the centre over alleged rent arrears.

Lifestyle Sports, accessories chain Claire’s and Field’s jewellers are among the retailers against whom legal proceedings have been issued by the investors, who include the chief executive of Davy Real Estate, David Goddard.

The investors also include well-known solicitors, company directors, business owners, estate agents, accountants, developers and restaurateurs.

The most recent case involved the issuing of a High Court suit for summary judgment for debts allegedly owed by Claire’s Accessories UK, a British-registered entity that operates its stores here. The plaintiffs include about 20 of the investors, as well as property company Seven Heads Development, which was previously called MacDonagh Junction Development.

A summary judgment is where a plaintiff asks the High Court for a rapid decision without trial and on the basis of paper filings only. Claire’s, which may yet dispute the claim for rent arrears, is yet to file a defence in the case.

The case against Field’s and its parent company, Anthony Nicholas, was filed earlier this month. The plaintiffs are similar to the Claire’s case, although Seven Heads is not named on the list alongside Mr Goddard and the others.

A Davy fund entity, Davy Target Investment Icav, is named on the list of plaintiffs. A Davy fund is reported in 2018 to have paid about €20 million for the remaining 50 per cent it did not already own of MacDonagh.

The plaintiffs in the case against Lifestyle also include Hurley Property Icav, which is managed by rival firm Goodbody stockbrokers, but it is believed this is a legacy issue related to its former ownership.

Davy declined to comment about the case. Several shopping centres, such as Jervis Street in Dublin city and the Omni in Santry, have taken summary judgment actions against retailers in the pandemic.