Michael Whelan: investment loss was due to an 'impairment'

Developer Michael Whelan's Tenbury Newcastle Holdings (TNH) made a loss of more than €70m for the financial year ended 30 June 2007 after it wrote down the value of an investment to just €300, according to the company's accounts.

The impairment came after TNH acquired Tenbury Developments, and wrote down the investment's value from €70.55m to just €300. This was classified as an impairment.

TNH, which owns land in Newcastle in Dublin, is owned by Whelan's family company Moritz Holdings. In 2006, TNH received €70m in loan facilities from Ulster Bank to assist in the purchase of shares in the company for €49.58m.

Tenbury Developments had been owned since 2000 by Chesterbridge Developments, which according to its last filed annual return is owned by Whelan, auctioneer Paul Newman and solicitor Paul Hanby.

Chesterbridge lost €45m in the year ended 28 February 2007, recently filed accounts show. In its audit opinion, KPMG stated that the directors of Chesterbridge are "continuing discussions with the group's creditors and bankers to establish whether it can continue".

KPMG also said it was unable to form an opinion as to whether the financial statements gave a "true and fair" view of Chesterbridge's affairs and if the accounts had been properly prepared because the company was uncertain if it could realise the value of its works in progress and if day-to-day funding for operations could be maintained.

Companies Office filings show Chesterbridge is the majority owner of MacDonagh Junction Development Limited, which developed the shopping centre of that name in Kilkenny where there are significant rent arrears from tenants. Chesterbridge recognised an impairment charge of nearly €25m in its accounts in relation to MacDonagh Junction Developments, MacDonagh Junction Holdings and Breren Properties.

Whelan's Moritz Group owns land in west Dublin, Kildare and Galway. The company also has assets in Romania, has stakes in a number of investment properties in London and owns the Irish franchise for DIY company Wickes.