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Germans in line for €1bn of NAMA assets - Arthur Cox

Arthur Cox, which advised the Government on setting up NAMA, has said German investors could be in line to buy up to €1bn of assets from the agency over the next few years.

In a note prepared for German investors interested in opportunities in Ireland, the law firm said NAMA was a "unique plan" to remove distressed loans from bank balance sheets.

Between €500m and €1bn worth of loans in NAMA are secured on assets in Germany, said the law firm, believed to be Ireland's largest legal practice.

"NAMA is committed to halving its balance sheet by 2015 so these assets are likely to be disposed of," the law firm told the investors.

"This is likely to create significant opportunities and will see a further increase in transactions spanning both jurisdictions," advised the law firm.

Up to now, most buyers of NAMA assets were presumed to come from the UK and or the US, particularly from the private equity world. But it is now possible that European buyers will also come forward as the disposal of assets gathers pace.

"Arthur Cox advised the Irish Government and the Department of Finance on the establishment of NAMA in 2009 and continues to represent NAMA," said the note, entitled Uses of Ireland for German companies.

"A favourable tax regime, including a large network of double taxation treaties and a strong legal and regulatory environment are just some of the excellent reasons for businesses locating in Ireland."

Despite recent comments from German chancellor Angela Merkel, German companies continue to have strong links with Ireland and all of them avail of the 12.5pc tax rate, Europe's lowest.

It is estimated there are 300 German companies operating in Ireland, employing more than 20,000 workers.

"Ireland has a number of advantages over other jurisdictions and offers a wide range of opportunities for German banks and corporates," said the law firm.

NAMA is currently moving the final tranches of loans out of the banks and has a deadline of next week to finish all transfers. However, the IMF and EU added a second category of loan to be moved -- assets worth less than €20m.

Irish Independent