Business Irish

Thursday 23 March 2017

Irish Nationwide seeks return from apartments on prime Dublin site

Emmet Oliver Deputy Business Editor

Apartments in Booterstown Woods, south County Dublin, are expected to be sold for much less than originally intended
Apartments in Booterstown Woods, south County Dublin, are expected to be sold for much less than originally intended

Irish Nationwide, the lender effectively nationalised two weeks ago, is seeking ways to extract some value from its chief development site in Dublin at Booterstown Wood.

The building society acquired the site under former managing director Michael Fingleton and has already racked up €22.4m in costs on the site, although it remains confident the costs will be "fully recoverable".

The apartments at the site appear to be unoccupied and a security guard was stationed at the complex yesterday, and the carpark was blocked off. The one- and two-bedroom apartments were offered briefly to the public by Irish Nationwide and Durkan Homes in 2007, but sales were postponed as the financial crisis began.

Sources close to the building society said the institution was keen to return some value from the site and apartments are likely to be offered for sale, even at prices dramatically below what the society would have hoped for a few years ago.

It is understood the site was acquired back in the 1980s, helping the society to avoid large scale losses in terms of the value of the land. However, substantial income has been foregone by not selling or renting out the units.

The Government is effectively in control of the society after last week taking special investment shares in it. Some 85pc of the society's loan book is due to go into NAMA, leaving the company operating effectively as a mortgage lender.

Sources have poured cold water on suggestions that Irish Life & Permanent (IL&P) will take over the society. No talks are taking place or planned, although IL&P is believed to be interested in acquiring an institution with a large deposit base, to bring down its loan-to-deposit ratios.

'Agnostic'

The society may yet be part of a so-called third force with EBS and IL&P, but this must await the submission of EU restructuring plans. Irish Nationwide is believed to be "agnostic" about a third force, but would be keen to see IL&P become part of it. IL&P is a clearing bank and a third force only works with a clearing bank, senior Irish Nationwide executives believe.

The company's results are due to issue within about two weeks and the annual general meeting will follow shortly afterwards.

Irish Independent

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