Irish firm buys Quinlan’s old German business – Sunday Independent

Irish private equity group Signature Capital has paid about €130m for a German shopping centre that had been controlled by Quinlan Private before the centre collapsed into insolvency.

The Neumarkt shopping centre in Cologne was bought by Quinlan Private, since renamed Avestus, for €170m in 2006 but it went into administration last November after Avestus missed a €9.6m payment.

An insolvency administrator was appointed in March.

The centre had formed part of a commercial mortgage-backed security, a type of bond, that is listed on the Irish Stock Exchange.

Last week, the bondholders were informed that a sale-and-purchase agreement has been signed between Signature Capital and the insolvency administrator.

“Given there are several documents necessary from the government, the Special Servicer expects the closing to happen before September 30, 2011 and a payment to the bond holders” will be made in November, the statement said.

Signature Capital declined to comment last week.

The company was set up by Ciaran McNamara and Enda Woods, two former directors of Investec Bank’s Irish division, and after the shopping centre deal goes through it will manage more than €800m of assets in Germany, Britain and the United States.

Avestus recently lost control of a €1.1bn portfolio of Marriott hotels in the UK, in which it was an investor and the group had to make at least five cash calls to investors in 2009 because of declines in the values of properties which it had purchased on behalf of investors. Last year, it was revealed that state-owned Anglo Irish Bank lost about $40m on debt it gave to Avestus, for a tower building in Chicago, USA.

Quinlan Private was set up by Derek Quinlan, the former Revenue inspector, who has lost control of nine Irish properties he and his family owned after a receiver was appointed by NAMA.

Last week, it was reported that his Villa La Carriere at Cap Ferrat, France, had sold for about €70m prior to auction. The villa includes a cinema room for more than 10 people and a spacious “bar and discotheque”, according to the brochure.

Quinlan has also sold a site in Malibu, California where he planned to develop a house next to U2 guitarist The Edge.