Northern Ireland

Cerberus puts Woodbury Construction into administration

A Fermanagh-based housebuilding firm has been placed into administration by Cerberus, the US investment fund.

Earlier this year, Cerberus bought the entire Northern Ireland loan portfolio of Nama, the Republic of Ireland's state-controlled "bad bank."

The firm in administration is Woodbury Construction, which until recently was known as Fider Homes.

This is believed to be the first "enforcement action" by Cerberus since it bought the loans for around £1bn.

However it is understood that the move involved the co-operation of the Woodbury Construction directors.

Striking deals

The administrators, Deloitte, declined to comment.

Woodbury Construction's last accounts showed it had loans of £13.5m and assets of just £2.5m.

Meanwhile property sources in Belfast have told the BBC that Cerberus is preparing to re-sell a significant portion of the loan portfolio.

The move would involve some of the biggest borrowers striking deals with other private equity funds to refinance their loans.

That would take those borrowers out of the Cerberus process and give Cerberus a quick return on its investment.

Deals could be struck as early as the first quarter of 2015.

In a statement Cerberus said: "We have a long and demonstrated history of treating our borrowers consistently and fairly.

"We've been in direct contact with all of the borrowers and the reception has been extremely positive.

"While this is our first project in Northern Ireland, we've been doing this kind of work for almost two decades, starting with the Asia debt crisis of the 90s and more recently in Europe.

"Our experience and thoughtful approach is a big part of the reason we were chosen by Nama.

"Not every borrower will like the outcome. That's to be expected given these are loans in default. But we will be consistent in our approach, focused on a constructive resolution and always respectful of the market."

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