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McDonagh tells developers to 'come clean' on all liabilities

IRELAND'S top 10 developers have been ordered by NAMA to provide a complete list of all their assets and liabilities, cashflow forecasts for the next three years and estimates of where they think property prices are going.

"This is a full opportunity for the leading developers to come clean; they should see NAMA almost like their new bank manager,'' said Brendan McDonagh, chief executive of the agency.

Mr McDonagh would not reveal the names of the developers, but most are household names with debts running into the billions. The normally publicity-shy developers will have to give NAMA up-to-date balance sheets and information on individual projects.

The average discount on thousands of toxic loans being moved into NAMA is still likely to be 30pc -- despite further falls in property prices here, the chief of the agency insisted yesterday.

The NAMA chief executive, moved to draw a line under mounting market speculation that the average haircut could be as much as 35pc because the property market has worsened since the agency was set up last year.

Mr McDonagh said that while some decline had been witnessed in Ireland, property prices in the UK and US had recovered, offsetting Irish declines. Not all the information was in yet, but UK commercial prices rose 8pc recently.

Markets in the south of England and in London were recovering strongly, he said.

Mr McDonagh also warned that court action against property developers could be initiated within months, particularly against those who refuse to co-operate with the agency.

"For those who don't co-operate, there are two options. Pay back the money and that's fine, or otherwise we will take enforcement action against you,'' Mr McDonagh said. He said NAMA would take a very "hard-nosed'' attitude.

Asked would he call in personal guarantees given by developers, Mr McDonagh said NAMA would be very "rigorous'' in that area. Taking family homes from developers would be difficult because the family home had legal protection in Ireland. But developers who have second or third homes could have them confiscated, he said.

"Not all family homes are really family homes, if you know what I mean,'' Mr McDonagh added, without elaborating.

The first tranche of Nama loans would move in February, he said. All that was holding up the process is the fact that EU approval is needed for the methodology used to value the toxic loans. Mr McDonagh said there was no reason to believe approval would not be granted.

The EU Commission had received "thousands of pages'' on NAMA from the Department of Finance, Mr McDonagh said, in an attempt to make sure the proposals comply with EU state-aid rules.

Mr McDonagh said he was aware that some foreign banks had expressed an interest in joining NAMA, but those negotiations were taking place with the Department of Finance, and not with him.All the loans would be transferred to NAMA by the third quarter of 2010.

Irish Independent