independent

Monday 21 April 2014

NAMA set to offload €1.15bn of Irish property-backed loans

NAMA is set to launch its biggest sale of Irish property-backed loans, with €1.15bn of loans hitting the market.

The National Asset Management Agency has hired advisers to find buyers for the loans, which are expected to sell at a discount to face value.

The €1.15bn 'face value' is the amount borrowed when the property debts were advanced by the original lenders during the boom. NAMA bought the loans at a discount to that 'headline' figure when it took control of them.

The loans selected for sale will be marketed in two blocks – an €800m portfolio dubbed Project Aspen and a €350m grouping known as Project Club.

The plans to bundle the NAMA loans into portfolios were first reported by property specialist CoStar Finance. The Irish Independent has learned that the amount of loans being sold is bigger at €1.15bn than originally reported.

The Project Aspen loans are understood to be "non-performing" loans backed by Irish property assets. Non-performing means the debt is in default; it means a buyer will be able to use the loan to take direct control of the properties.

Secured

Investment bank Eastdil Secured, a unit of US bank Wells Fargo, is to sell the Project Aspen portfolio while property advisers CBRE will run the Project Club sale.

NAMA has put loan portfolios up for sale before, but never on this scale or with loans secured on Irish property assets.

Other banks have been doing similar deals domestically for some time, selling overwhelmingly to US private equity firms.

Last year AIB sold loans with a face value of €650m at a price of around 40c in the euro to US investor Lone Star.

Lloyds Banking Group, which inherited its Irish loans from Bank of Scotland (Ireland) has been even more aggressive.

Lloyds has accepted prices of just 10c in the euro from Apollo Global Management for €1.8bn of its Irish loan book, though the bank has achieved better prices for some of its less distressed assets.

Irish Independent

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