Northern Ireland

William Ewart property firm in £100m write down

Victoria Station London
Image caption William Ewart Properties sold a shopping centre above London's Victoria Station in September

One of Northern Ireland's largest property firms has written down the value of its assets by more than £100m to recognise the effects of the property crash.

The details are contained in the 2010 accounts of William Ewart Properties.

It saw its net asset value decline from £211m in 2009 to £105m in 2010.

The firm also made an operating loss of £4.5m and said that economic conditions "continue to be challenging."

The directors state that the business, which has a portfolio of shopping centres and offices, "continues to be cash generative," and is continuing to service its loans "in all respects".

They say they are also actively exploring "opportunities to refinance or repay borrowings" and have been able to do so in a number of instances since the year end.

That is thought to refer to the sale of a shopping centre above London's Victoria Station for almost £92m in September 2011.

The company's assets include shop units on Donegall Place in Belfast city centre, shopping centres in England, Scotland and Wales and a large portfolio in Germany.

The accounts also state that some bank loans have been "transferred to another provider" though it is not clear who this is.

A subsidiary company WEP Gyle, which controls the Gyle shopping centre in Edinburgh, also states that its loans of £245m have been transferred to another provider.

The loan was originally advanced by the former Anglo Irish Bank.

William Ewart is part of a wider group which is controlled by a company called Brunswick No1 - it has not yet reported its 2010 results.

The business is owned by Frank Boyd and Andrew Creighton who are considered to be two of Northern Ireland's wealthiest people.

Earlier this year Mr Boyd's family business, Killultagh Estates, reported a loss for 2010 of £22m and confirmed that some of its bank borrowings have been moved into the Irish government's National Asset Management Agency (Nama).

More on this story