Monday 11 December 2017

Nama sales process on course 'to be speeded up'

Brendan McDonagh, CEO of NAMA
Brendan McDonagh, CEO of NAMA
Peter Flanagan

Peter Flanagan

International investors are becoming increasingly confident that Nama will have begun selling the vast majority of its remaining assets before the end of this year.

The State bad bank has repeatedly said it is aiming to have repaid 80pc of its bonds by the end of 2016. Investment funds dealing with the agency, however, believe that timeline has been accelerated sharply.

Numerous overseas players who are in the market for property and loans being sold by the agency say there has been a noticeable uptick in the speed at which assets are now being brought to market, as the firm tries to take advantage of the upturn in the Irish property market.

Last year Nama boss Brendan McDonagh said his agency would bring assets worth at least €250m to the market every three months as the market picked up. This weekend it emerged that Nama is preparing loans and property worth about €8bn for sale.

The investors, who spoke on condition of anonymity as they are doing business with Nama, said they had been surprised at how anxious the bad bank was to get sales done, and say this is a notable change from previous transactions they had been involved in.

A Nama spokesman declined to comment. A number of properties that have not been put up for sale yet are thought to need extensive work before they can be in a condition to be sold.

A London-based property executive, who has bought several assets from Nama, said he would be surprised if that 80pc bond redemption target is not achieved by the end of this year.

"There is an election coming so the political imperative is there, the staffing is being reduced, and more stuff is coming on stream.

"There has been a noticeable acceleration in the sales process, and the 2016 target feels like it has been brought forward sharply.

"There are a lot of opportunities here still, which has surprised us - we expected to have moved onto Spain and Italy by now," he added.

The questions around Nama's date for achieving sales targets come as private equity investors who have bought huge loan portfolios here start to churn their assets and refinance their purchases.

Texas-based LoneStar is seeking a loan of around €400m to refinance part of its Project Holly portfolio.

In numbers

€8bn: The value of assets Nama is preparing to sell.

€250m: The value of assets Nama chief Brendan McDonagh said the agency would sell every three months.

80pc: The rate of bonds Nama wants to redeem by 2016.

Irish Independent

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