Battersea site sale was ‘the right thing’ to do, says top London official

Nama made the right decision to sell its stake in the iconic Battersea power station in London – despite charges that the Irish taxpayer has lost billions, a top London official has declared.

The property was sold by Nama and Lloyds, in 2012, for €600 million, after a legal battle with its indebted owners, Treasury Holdings. Malaysian investors plan to develop it into £8 billion worth of apartments and shops.

Property investor Paddy McKillen has charged that Nama sold the Thames-side property “for a steal” and were guilty of “one of the most devastating decisions” ever for Ireland.

Edward Lister, chief of staff to the mayor of London, Boris Johnson, rejected the criticism, saying anyone developing Battersea needs “very deep pockets”.

“I can’t see any UK or Irish company having those credit lines readily available to build that out,” said Mr Lister, who will speak , in Dublin today at Property Industry Ireland’s Making Cities Work conference.

The developers of Battersea will have to pay £200 million to the London authorities “before they even blink” to pay for the extension of the underground Northern Line extension, he told The Irish Times.

The iconic property – which once featured on the cover of a Pink Floyd album – was purchased by a Malaysian consortium made up of SP Setia, Sime Darby and theEmployees’ Provident Fund.

“I don’t know what the total bill is for the Malaysians, but it is in billions. I just can’t see any one pulling it off, quite frankly, without a big slug of foreign investment, and the Malaysians . . . have very deep pockets

“Don’t get me wrong, I think they are going to make money out of it – I think it will be a successful venture,” said Mr Lister, who is London’s deputy mayor for planning and policy. “[But] who was going to have that kind of cash at that particular point in time?

“So, no, I don’t accept [that they were wrong]. I think Nama did the right thing,” he said. Source: The Irish Times