Sunday 15 March 2009

Paul Coughlan's Prestige Group Nears the End Game

The Prestige Group looks like it will be the next high profile casualty of the recession.

The company claims to have placed €2.75bn in property investments since its inception. It has been involved in the overseas property market since 1998, at which stage the boom in Irish investors purchasing property in Spain was well underway. The Irish mass market had, at that stage, started to move further afield to look at areas such as Portugal, Hungary and Florida in particular.

A creditors meeting has been called for next Wednesday (March 18th, 2009) at the Stillorgan Park Hotel in Dublin. Some of the major creditors of the company include KBC (formerly IIB), the Bank of Scotland owned Ulster Bank and Bank of Ireland.

Prestige came to prominence in the early noughties when it sold huge amounts of off-plan property in Manchester and Budapest in particular. Many clients claimed, once they had received their properties, that they had been sold at very high valuations and the rentals achieved on them were far below those outlined by Prestige in its marketing documentation.

In recent weeks posts have been appearing on a number of forums from frustrated investors who have not been receiving their rentals on properties purchased from the Prestige Group. There have also been rumours that Coghlan has been, to date unsuccessfully, trying to sell his luxury villa in Portugal. 

Coughlan's investment vehicle, Kaizen Property International, made somewhat of a comeback last year in the form of Touchstone Capital but this re-engagement with the overseas property market would appear to have been fleeting. The company sold apart-hotels in Germany and the UK as well as Below Market Value (BMV) property in the UK. 

The Prestige Group (domain name now owned by another entity) itself reappeared at the end of 2008 selling German Apart-Hotels, managed suites in Marbella and UK commercial property.

You can find a report on the liquidation of the Prestige Group on the Irish Times website.

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