Housebuilder McInerney unable to pay debts

Published:  29 January, 2010

DUBLIN: McInerney Holdings, the biggest housebuilder on the Irish stock exchange, released a gloomy trading update that showed that it built fewer houses last year and remains unable to pay its debts.

McInerney said it completed 756 houses in Ireland, the UK and Spain last year, compared with 1359 units the previous year. It built just 131 houses in Ireland, less than half the 296 built the previous year. Only 42 people have placed deposits on houses, it added.

The figures for the company's Irish contracting business were even worse: it completed just 31 units, one-tenth of the previous year's output.

"Until we receive more clarity on the company's banking facilities, we remain negative on the stock and reiterate our "reduce" recommendation," said Goodbody analyst David O'Brien in a note to investors.

The Irish market for standard housing products has found a certain degree of price stability, although the level of demand remains very low.

"The group continued to experience challenging trading conditions in the UK and Irish housing markets as weak consumer sentiment and lack of access to mortgage availability constrained demand," the company said in a statement.

McInerney added that it was in continuing negotiations with both its UK and Irish funders to organise new loans.

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