Dublin hotel debt sold to US investor

It has been reported that a loan linked to the Moran Hotel Group has been sold by Lloyds Bank to Canyon Capital Advisors, a US investment management firm. The Moran Group owns the Bewley’s hotels in Dublin which are located in Ballsbridge, Leopardstown, Newlands Cross and Dublin Airport as well as the Red Cow Inn in west Dublin. The group also owns hotels in London, Leeds and Manchester. Much of the money owed by the Moran Group is believed to be linked to the takeover of the Bewley’s hotel chain in 2008. The share of the debt held by Lloyds was originally advanced by its Bank of Scotland (Ireland) unit.

Lloyds is selling off its Irish loans after taking, according to Bloomberg News calculations, around £11.8bn in impairment charges on them since the crash in Irish property values began in 2008. The sale of the Moran Group loans continues Lloyds withdrawal from the Irish market. In November last year the landmark, 500-bedroom Burlington Hotel in Dublin, was bought by Blackstone Group, another US-based, global investment and advisory firm. It was reported that the hotel was sold for around €67 million, less than a quarter of the €288 million that was paid by an Irish developer in 2007 for the property. In the same month Lloyds also sold a £1.5bn (€1.8bn) portfolio of Irish property debt at around 10 percent of its face value in an aggressive asset sell-off.

Lloyds is reported to have sold some €140 million of Moran Group loans at a discount of around 70 per cent. In an email to Bloomberg News, Moran Group said it was “at an advanced stage of a restructuring plan” for its Irish hotel business. Achieving a debt-reducing restructuring deal may now prove easier since the new owner of the loans paid only a fraction of their face value.