NAME: Conor Houlihan
TITLE: Partner and Head of Banking and Capital Markets
PRACTICE AREA: Banking and Capital Markets
EDUCATION: University of Limerick and the Law Society of Ireland
PROFILE: Conor joined Dillon Eustace in 1998 and currently leads the Firm’s finance practice. Conor’s work covers a broad range of finance and capital markets matters. His clients include many of the world’s largest hedge funds, private equity funds, distressed funds and other opportunistic investors who he regularly advises on the acquisition, financing and/or management of distressed loans and other investments in a number of jurisdictions. Conor is also regularly involved on behalf of issuers, investors, arrangers, managers, trustees and others in a variety of securitisation, structured finance and debt capital markets transactions including receivables, mortgage and reinsurance securitisations, non-performing loan acquisitions/repackagings, CDOs/CLOs, covered bonds, medium term note and commercial paper programmes and other debt offerings.
Conor managed the firm's Tokyo representative office from 2002 to 2004 and he continues to have a significant Asian focussed structured finance practice, where he advises on the structuring and implementation of a variety of bespoke tax efficient financing and investment structures.
Conor is regularly published and quoted in local and international publications in the areas of banking and finance law. He has also spoken at numerous industry events and seminars in Europe, U.S. and Asia and he has appeared on CNBC television’s “Squawk Box” programme
Conor is recognised as a leading lawyer in a number of prominent legal guides. Recent reviews (e.g. IFLR1000 (2012 Edition)) state that the Firm has a “very, very strong debt practice” with the team being described as “very, very client focused” and “usually two steps ahead”. Of Conor’s work, the review speaks of his “deep knowledge” and that it is “very comforting to know you are in extremely good hands”.
- Advising in relation to the purchase/sale of a number of performing and non-performing Irish loan books including acting for the purchaser, in relation to its due diligence, acquisition and financing, of the “Project Kildare” portfolio of Irish real estate-backed loans (nominal value of EUR675 million approx.) from EBS/AIB.
- Acted for the purchaser of the so-called “Project Royal” portfolio of U.K. commercial real estate loans (nominal value of circa STG£1 billion) from Lloyd’s Banking Group and the related financing of such acquisition with senior bank debt and subordinated notes (which notes are listed on the Irish Stock Exchange).
- Acted for a global asset manager in connection the participation by a number of funds under its management, as part of a consortium, in the €1.123 billion purchase of Common Stock in Bank of Ireland (representing 34.96% of the total issued ordinary stock of Bank of Ireland).
- Led our multi-disciplinary loan due diligence team in providing advice to Ireland’s National Asset Management Agency (NAMA) in connection with each tranche of loans acquired since NAMA’s inception.
- Acted for FBD Holdings plc in relation to the finance aspects of a complex restructuring of its Spanish and Irish property interests which involved the creation of a €120 million joint venture with one of its largest shareholders.
- Acted for Irish special purpose vehicles and an international private equity fund and investors in connection with the purchase and financing (and related joint venture arrangements) of EUR2,600,000,000 (face amount) of sub-performing and nonperforming commercial real estate loans and CMBS backed by sub-performing and non-performing commercial real estate loans (secured by approximately 450 properties in the UK, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany and Spain).
- Acted for a US private equity fund in connection with its acquisition of a AUD135 million senior loan from National Australia Bank and a simultaneous foreclosure action resulting in the purchaser becoming the ultimate owner of the underlying commercial real estate collateral, which was comprised of eight offices in a number of European countries.
- Represented Irish special purpose vehicles and an international private equity fund in connection with the acquisition and financing of a €1,800,000,000 portfolio of German performing, sub-performing, and non-performing real estate secured loans.
- Acted for a US insurance group in connection with the acquisition of certain subordinated loans originally advanced by Anglo Irish Bank (now IBRC) to Irish borrowers and secured on certain US structured finance assets.
- Act as Irish counsel in relation to number of Irish SPV structures for investment in US life settlements.
- Acted for the Facility Agent in relation to the restructuring of several loans provided by it to finance the acquisition of shares in a German financial institution;
- Acted for Citibank in the examinership of ISTC;
- Acted for Lone Star as the originator in the €1.34 billion Bluebonnet Finance plc securitisation of German non-performing loans.
- Advised Citigroup Global Markets in relation to the establishment of its CABS Programme, a multi-jurisdictional structure for the securitisation of trade loans and the world’s first rated securitisation of trade loans.
- Advised JP Morgan Securities as structuring advisor in connection with a US$220 million participating note Issuance by an Irish special purpose reinsurance vehicle (Sector Re) as part of a securitisation of catastrophe and aviation risk for the world’s leading global reinsurer.
- Acted for Swiss Re on its ALPS II securitisation of future profits from a portfolio of US life insurance policies.
- Advised SGAM Banque and SGAM Alternative Investments in connection with a $200 million securitisation of structured finance assets, Ivory CDO Limited, and a €200 million market value collateralised fund obligation, CFO Premium Limited.
- Advise numerous leading private equity groups on the financing and structuring of investments, particularly in Japan and China.
- Advised Japan’s biggest private equity firm on its US$2.4 billion acquisition of a Japanese bank.