Arab potentates and Chinese kick tyres at Nama
CHINESE investors and sovereign wealth funds from Asia and the oil-rich Middle East are among the firms that are eyeing up Irish properties that are on the books of the State bad bank Nama.
"We get about 50 enquiries a week from potential investors from all over the world and this would include venture capital and other investment firms as well. Some are from China and some are from sovereign wealth funds," Nama chairman Frank Daly told the Sunday Independent.
While the Aga Khan, Saudi Arabia's Prince Khalid Abdullah and Dubai's ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum and his brother all own stud farms here, the Gulf state funds have looked into buying large plots of farmland as well as hotels with large grounds that could be used as stud farms, according to property sources.
The news emerges as an equine source revealed that buyers for the Sultan of Oman, Qaboos bin Said al Said, were in Ireland this week to buy horses for his Royal Cavalry.
Property sources added that Chinese investors are particularly interested in trophy-style homes and modern spacious two- and three-bedroom apartments in areas such as Dublin's docklands and south Dublin -- but only if they can get rock-bottom prices.
Revealing Nama's first annual report and a list of properties it controls, CEO Brendan McDonagh said last week: "Developers' planes are gone. The helicopters are grounded," adding that €200,000 of jewellery was seized from a debtor last week.
The agency controls 82 hotels in Ireland and 35 in the UK. Among more than 850 properties it is selling are Booterstown Marshes in south Dublin, a quarry, Weston Airport in Co Kildare, three apartment blocks in London's docklands, Leicester Square's Odeon cinema -- famous for its movie premieres -- and dozens of pubs, farms, houses, apartments and fields across the UK and Ireland.
Of the biggest Nama debtors, three owe the agency over €2bn each, while a further 12 owe more than €1bn each.
The biggest debtors include Sean Mulryan's Ballymore Group, Johnny Ronan and Richard Barrett of Treasury Holdings, Joe O'Reilly of Castlethorn Construction and tax inspector-turned-property tycoon Derek Quinlan.
Sunday Indo Business