NAMA gets ready to sell two top loan books worth up to €400m
NAMA is preparing to sell two loan portfolios worth hundreds of millions of euro as it seeks to capitalise on renewed interest in Ireland from international investors.
Speaking in Limerick yesterday, National Asset Management Agency chairman Frank Daly said the State's 'bad bank' would be "bringing two portfolios, prime retail and residential as well as offices, with an estimated value of €350m-€400m, to the market over the coming weeks".
"This follows the recent sale of the €800m Aspen loan portfolio – which is secured almost entirely on Irish commercial property – to US investment group Starwood in a joint venture deal that sees NAMA retaining a 20pc stake," he said.
Aspen included loans against several Superquinn supermarkets and the Merrion Gates apartment complex in Sandymount, south Dublin.
NAMA has offloaded about €9bn worth of assets in the last three and a half years – mostly in London – but there has been no equivalent sale process in Ireland on anything like the same scale.
Mr Daly said it had been prudent to take advantage of a surging property market in the UK, especially London, but his team would not be forced into selling assets unless the market was right.
"We will not dump assets. We will not fire sell assets," he said.
NAMA previously revealed it will lend up to €2bn for developing properties that had not yet been finished or needed renovations, and yesterday Mr Daly claimed approvals had reached that figure by the end of August. About €900m of those funds will be used in the Republic.
One of the key areas NAMA is looking to develop is the Dublin Docklands, where the IDA has long been crying out about a shortage of suitable office space. The agency will "invest heavily" in the next two to three years in the area in an effort to sate the appetite for high quality offices.
On the residential side of the market, NAMA is "currently funding a number of house-building projects, particularly in Dublin and Cork".
The residential market in particular is skewed sharply between Dublin and the rest of the country, said Mr Daly – a claim that has been backed up repeatedly by recent surveys.
"The reality is that the Irish housing market – like most housing markets – is not homogeneous.
"We have been seeing strong demand for new houses in parts of Dublin and Cork over the past 12 to 18 months due to limited supply and the fact that the level of housing completions is very low," he added.