Sunday 21 January 2018

NAMA to sell portfolio at discount of nearly 90pc

The G Hotel in Galway
The G Hotel in Galway
Peter Flanagan

Peter Flanagan

Nama is set to sell loans tied to developer Gerry Barrett at a discount of nearly 90pc.

The agency has tabbed Deutsche Bank as preferred bidder for the portfolio, known as Project Maeve.

The loans have a par value of €778m, however Deutsche Bank is set to take on the portfolio for only €97m. That would be equivalent to about 12pc of the original value of the loans.

The loan portfolio - known as Project Maeve - is backed by a three well-known hotels: The G Hotel in Galway, the D Hotel in Drogheda, and the Hotel Meyrick in Galway, as well as the Scotch Hall shopping centre and other properties.

A former school teacher, Mr Barrett made his name as a developer in and around Galway in the 1990s but is probably best known for his purchase of Ashford Castle in 2007 for close to €55m. That property ended up in receivership in 2011. Ashford Castle was eventually bought by a South African firm, Red Carnation Hotels.

Mr Barrett was one of the biggest borrowers from Anglo Irish Bank.

The size of the discount on the loans gives an ideal of how well the assets are performing. While the five star G Hotel is considered the strongest single asset, several other properties including the Scotch Hall shopping centre are considered to be particularly weak.

The sale is the first major portfolio to have been closed by Nama this year. The state bad bank has brought several portfolios to market so far this year that have yet to close.

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