Donington recruits expert in struggling developments

By LJ Hutchins

CalendarTuesday, August 4th, 2009

 
 

Donington Park is attempting to kickstart its redevelopment bid by engaging a consultant who worked on the Wembley Stadium building project and for sports entertainment firm AEG – but who has also specialised in buying up developments that have run into trouble.

Jayne McGivern, former UK CEO of international construction firm Multiplex, is now on board at the circuit according to a recent article in The Telegraph.

Multiplex was the builder behind Wembley Stadium, working in partnership with a consortium of architects, engineers and sports funding bodies. The result was the most expensive stadium ever built, costing nearly £800 million and providing the world’s largest covered seating area. But the project was also plagued by overruns, construction problems and doubts over the completion date.

As a result Multiplex is still embroiled in the complex legal actions that ensued. But The Telegraph and The Times in a separate report are both very keen to stress that McGivern was neither responsible for the original contracts nor for initial oversight of the project.

McGivern held her CEO role with Multiplex from September 2007 until February 2008, having previously run the development side of the business. According to The Times, much of her work with the firm before the Wembley project had centred on retail developments including shopping centres in Newcastle and High Wycombe.

She departed following a takeover by the Canadian firm Brookfield Asset Management, exercising a clause in her contract that allowed her to leave under such circumstances.

She then moved to Newfound, a company with an interest in acquiring unrealised property developments on the Caribbean islands of Nevis and St Kitts, into which she reportedly invested much of her payoff from Multiplex. More here, again from The Times.

She is said by The Telegraph to have teamed up with John Morgan, chairman of the construction group Morgan Sindall, and corporate restructuring specialist Jason Granite, who for a time ran an investment fund called Agilo, to buy up property developments that had run into trouble through a shell company called Newfoundland.

This is discussed in a Telegraph article from June 2008:

Property chiefs to target stricken developers

Granite said: “We are targeting half-built developments or even development schemes where there is a hole in the ground and they haven’t got around to putting the concrete in yet. Jayne [McGivern] has spoken to listed housebuilders about buying their businesses, but we are also talking to banks about buying up bankrupt projects.”

Agilo was formed last October by Granite and Milos Brajovic, founder of secretive Swiss commodities trader Glencore’s proprietary trading group. On the advisory board are former MP Michael Portillo, Ken Mactavish, a former head of restructuring at Barclays Capital and Alan Lovell, the company doctor who managed struggling railway and construction giant Jarvis.

The fund will not comment on its investors, but it is believed it has more than a half a billion pounds under management, having started with just a few million. Read the full piece here

However, Newfound did not thrive. A Canadian project ended in bankruptcy and Property Week reports that McGivern resigned from Newfound’s CEO position in March this year, after around six months at the helm, with the company suffering from volatile market conditions, forced into a restructure and seeking the funds to help it remain in business. According to the report she remained on the board of the company as a non-executive director.

McGivern’s sports entertainment credentials come from having worked as Managing Director of Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG), a US-owned sports entertainment specialist with an interest in the Millennium Dome and the MEN Arena, which is currently best-known as the promoter of Michael Jackson’s planned final tour.

She left AEG in late 2005, and also previously worked for housebuilders Redrow and for Marylebone Warwick Balfour, a property and hotel investment firm, where she rose to become group development director.

The Telegraph pegs the amount of money required by Donington to realise its plans at £80 million. Estimates since it announced that it had negotiated the British Grand Prix contract a year ago have ranged from £30 million, to do the essential work to host the race, to £100 million.

It says: “Telegraph Sport understands that talks between the circuit and Bernie Ecclestone, Formula One’s commercial rights holder, are ongoing and that several potential investors as well as a major bank are interested in the project.”

UPDATE: Jayne McGivern is working for Donington under the auspices of a newly-formed company, Red Grouse Property Ltd, which was incorporated at Companies House on February 23 this year. She is the sole director. More details in the following Autosport article: Donington hires new developers.

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