The bar is open at Ulster Bank’s Project Coney

Portfolio of about 70 pubs will surely be snapped up by a US investment house

Irish pubs: due to be snapped up by  US investment houses

Irish pubs: due to be snapped up by US investment houses

 

Ulster Bank is expected shortly to bring to market its Project Coney portfolio of assorted commercial loans, which is thought to include about 70 pubs. It will surely be snapped up by a US investment house.

Publicans in Coney who want to avoid being at the mercy of some Harvard-educated banker who can’t even pour a Guinness properly had better refinance their Ulster loans quickly. With this in mind, Dublin businessman Martin Connolly, who was previously involved with the Gastropub company in Dún Laoghaire, is putting together the Irish Pub Investment Network (iPin).

Banks these days will only put up about 70 per cent of the price of a pub, and it will be difficult for many existing publicans to raise the 30 per cent equity required to refinance. iPin, Connolly says, has secured the backing of several wealthy investors who are interested in helping publicans bridge the gap. He said the finance could be mezzanine or even equity, and publicans would have the option of buying out their backer after five years. “I have commitments from several investors, many of them wealthy individuals in the US who like the idea of helping to buy an Irish pub,” Connolly said on Wednesday. “I’ve just come from a meeting with one guy who has €20 million to invest,” he claimed.

It’s his round, whoever he is.

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