Updated: 15/05/18 : 05:28:52
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Strandhill Golf Club in €1.1m vulture fund demand

The vulture fund Cerberus is seeking payment from Strandhill Golf Club in Sligo of a €1.1 million debt it bought from Ulster Bank at a knockdown price. 

The debt was sold by Ulster Bank as part of its for €2.5 billion face value Project Oyster loan book, bought by Cerberus in 2016 at an undisclosed discount.

When Cerberus acquired the Strandhill Golf Club debt it sought payment of the full amount and it has now lodged a High Court proceeding seeking summary judgment on the debt.

According to the Sunday Business Post, the Ulster Bank loan was being fully serviced by the golf club, according to one individual connected with the club, but once Cerberus acquired the loan, the club sought to negotiate on the debt.

The loan, taken out in 2007 was a low interest facility at a rate of just 1 per cent spread over 30 years. It does not represent a controlling interest in the club and therefore there is no threat of a receivership being triggered by Cerberus.

The club declined to comment beyond saying that it was in ongoing negotiations with Cerberus and hoped the matter could be resolved soon.

                Strandhill Golf Club nestled between Knocknarae Hill and the coast

The links club is in a scenic part of the county, on the coast, just outside Sligo Town and has 400 members. It has a turnover of around €800,000 from membership, green fees and club income.

Its most recent filed accounts say that, like other golf clubs, Strandhill suffered a drop in membership in 2008 and adjusted its cost base and fees accordingly after that.

Donegal golf club Narin & Portnoo similarly found itself owing €1.7 million to Cerberus when its debt was sold with Project Oyster. New York-based businessman Liam McDevitt, who is originally from Ballyshannon, then bought the debt from Cerberus last year.