Troubled housebuilder turns to US private equity group for cash injection

McInerney Holdings, the troubled Irish housebuilder, is understood to be in talks with Oaktree Capital, the US private equity group, about a cash injection.

It is understood that Oaktree, which specialises in investing in distressed companies, is considering a possible equity injection of up to €40m into the housebuilder.

McInerney confirmed that it was in “advanced discussions” with an investor “regarding a substantial injection of new capital”. This follows a two-year long struggle for the firm which has had a €236m debt pile since the collapse of the Irish housing market in 2008.

As part of such a debt restructuring McInerney’s lenders, which include Lloyds, RBS and BBVA, are expected to write off some of their debt before injecting the capital.

According to the Financial Times, a source close to the talks said: “McInerney still has good land holdings and so the logic is that if Oaktree puts in the right amount of money, then it will have the working capital to get going again,” said a source familiar with the discussions.

“Like a lot of housebuilders, it took on too much debt during the good times and is having to work like billyo just to make repayments.”

McInerney has seen a massive slide in the value of its assets since 2008 and has written down its land bank by 50% in Ireland and 40% in the UK.

Last year, McInerney sold 756 new homes across Ireland and the UK, compared with 1,359 the previous year, and it recorded a pre-tax loss of €25m.