211m euros profit for 'bad bank'
Ireland's bad bank has reported a profit of 211 million euros for last year, a slight drop on the previous year's operations.
The National Assets Management Agency (Nama) revealed that in the four years it has been in business it has been involved in selling property loans and assets worth 14.1 billion euros.
In the first five months of this year alone,it secured 3.5 billion euros-worth of sales.
Nama chief executive Brendan McDonagh said the agency was well ahead of schedule in clearing bad debts from the banks and selling on loans and assets.
He said: "Nama's very strong performance and excellent cash generation means we are now well ahead of schedule in getting our job done successfully.
"We reported a profit for taxpayers for the third year in a row and successfully met our first major milestone of repaying 7.5 billion euros of Nama's debt in full and on time.
"We have benefited from very strong demand for the assets in our portfolio and from the exceptional dedication of our staff who work diligently and professionally on taxpayers' behalf."
Nama said it has already exceeded its full-year 2014 target for paying down debt with the original aim of 2.5 billion eurosnow expected to grow to as much as 7.5 billion euros.
By the end of the year its target is to have redeemed 15 billion euros of its senior debt, half the money it originally issued to acquire loans linked to developers, business figures and property speculation.
Nama's accounts also showed that the agency has built up equity and reserves of 810 million euros and cash balances increased to 4.4 billion euros at the end of last year.
Chairman Frank Daly said last year was marked by a remarkable turnaround in investor sentiment towards Ireland, of which the bad bank took full advantage.
"We are beating our targets and it is becoming increasingly likely that Nama will achieve its objectives sooner than anyone would have expected when it was set up in late December 2009," he said.
"This is very important for taxpayers. If our current strong momentum continues and conditions remain favourable over the next number of years, Nama can deliver on a number of fronts for the Irish economy.
"We are playing our part in building confidence - at home and abroad - in Ireland's strong recovery story, doing all we can to channel investment in the Irish economy."
A review by the Comptroller and Auditor General issued last week stated that Nama had targeted 19.2 billion euros of disposals between this year and the end of 2016 and another four billion euros from 2017 to 2020, when the agency is due to wind up.
Nama disposed of more than 60% of its assets in London by the end of last year but in Ireland the progress has been slower, with only 10% of the portfolio sold despite the pick-up.
The agency also confirmed ahead of the release of the annual report and amid the homeless crisis that it had freed up 684 homes for social housing and it expects another 400 to be sold or leased this year and another 900 could be delivered in 2015/16.