Business Irish

Sunday 24 September 2017

Daly defends Nama's disposal strategy

Agency's former assets 'flipped' for big profits

Nama chief Frank Daly
Nama chief Frank Daly
Gavin McLoughlin

Gavin McLoughlin

Nama chairman Frank Daly has hit out at criticism of the sales strategy at the State 'bad bank'.

A number of Nama transactions have come under the spotlight after assets formerly held by the agency were sold on by buyers for a quick profit.

One Warrington Place, a six-storey office building on the corner of Mount Street in Dublin 2 was sold by Nama to US fund Northwood Investors in 2012 for €27m, with Northwood selling the property for €42m in 2014.

Another asset at Sir John Rogerson's Quay in Dublin was sold by Nama for €7.5m in June 2013, before being sold by the buyer Urbanest for €17.75m to Hibernia REIT last August.

Mr Daly told reporters that if Nama bosses knew the most optimal time to sell an asset he didn't think they'd be "wasting their time" working for the agency. He said the €500m in additional interest costs Nama would have faced if it hadn't paid off any of its senior debt would have taken a long time to recoup.

"Nama has done about 7,500 individual transactions since 2010, involving about 31,000 individual properties. We hear all the time about the four or five transactions, there's not much talk about the 7,500."

Mr Daly said the agency chases people for debts "to the fullest extent that we possibly can".

"Some of them pay us off in full, some of them apply for bankruptcy - that's the regime that's there and there's nothing we can actually do about it. And some of them do their very best but they leave a debt behind, and it is not economically viable for Nama to continue to pursue it, as it's a bad deal for the taxpayer."

Mr Daly said around 630-640 individuals now owe money to Nama, compared to 780 at its inception.

"A number of people have exited, that's going to increase. This year, we put Project Arrow on the market, which was about 450 debtors. That's going to be the next tranche of people exiting."

Nama chief executive Brendan McDonagh said that Nama had sold over €1bn of assets "in a very depressed period between 2010 and 2012, where we had to do that to get activity going... and we got the best prices we could at the time."

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