THE HIGH COURT has rejected a challenge by Treasury Holdings against the National Asset Management Agency’s appointment of receivers to some of its assets and companies.
Justice Mary Finlay Geoghegan this morning rejected Treasury’s challenge, four months after the same judge granted the company – one of Ireland’s largest property developers – leave to appeal NAMA’s moves.
NAMA had decided to appoint receivers to companies, properties and debts controlled by Treasury on January 25 of this year.
In her ruling, Justice Finlay Geoghegan observed that NAMA and Treasury had entered into a two-week “standstill” agreement on January 11, during which time the two sides were to discuss NAMA’s plans to pursue enforcement action against Treasury’s debts.
The Court found that NAMA had entered into the ‘standstill’ agreement on the basis “that Treasury would not object to the appointment of receivers” if the 14 days of discussions ended without an agreement between the two sides.
It found, however, that Treasury had not been given an opportunity to be heard, and heard by NAMA, prior to its decision to pursue enforcement action against Treasury – a decision taken in December.
This was a breach of NAMA’s duty “to act fairly and reasonably in taking the action to enforce”, it found.
This afternoon Treasury said it would mount an appeal to the High Court’s decision.
“There were three bids from overseas investors for our loans before NAMA set about appointing receivers,” it said in a statement this lunchtime.
We understand that a new potential bidder, a major prestigious international entity, has been in touch with NAMA in recent times and is preparing a bid for the loan portfolio.
We believe a third party negotiator should now be appointed to secure the best bid for the Treasury Holdings loans.
In a brief statement of its own NAMA said it welcomed the decision and that it would “continue to work with the NAMA-appointed receivers in this case to maximise the return to the taxpayer”.