'Incredible interest' from investors prompts NAMA to sell €1bn extra assets
NAMA is to put an extra €1bn worth of assets up for sale next year in response to "incredible investor interest", the state asset management agency has said.
"We are looking at bringing an extra €1bn of Irish assets to market in 2014," said its chief executive Brendan McDonagh in an interview with the 'Financial Times'.
Sources told the Irish Independent that the €1bn figure refers to the portfolio's current market worth and not the "par" or face value of the loans to be sold.
The assets in question, the source said, related to commercial property and loans and did not include residential mortgages, which make up just 12pc of all of NAMA's assets.
Combined, NAMA's total loan portfolio is worth an estimated €32bn. The agency has raised €10bn from asset sales since it was established three years ago, and another €5bn from rental income.
"There has been incredible investor interest from both domestic and international capital. People have recognised that there is a real value proposition in Ireland, which is in a turnaround phase," said Mr McDonagh.
Dublin-based Goodbody stockbrokers said the decision indicated investor appetite for Irish property assets remainedstrong, and was likely to be welcomed by the fledgling real estate investment trust (REIT) industry in Ireland.
However, NAMA's chief executive warned in the 'FT' interview that the influx of interest from international investors in NAMA assets was something of a "herd mentality".
"These new investors would have seen a lot of the early movers such as Kennedy Wilson and Blackstone, and we are seeing a certain amount of what we call the 'capital herd mentality' taking place," Mr McDonagh said.
"In 2010 we were meeting all these (investors) when they were leaving Ireland and now, since mid-2012, they have all been coming back looking to invest. They see opportunities to make money."