Saturday 16 December 2017

Nama is wrong option, say one in five bosses

Majority want to see assets of developers seized

MORE than one in five of Ireland's top company bosses believe that Nama is the wrong solution to the banking crisis, according to the Sunday Independent Business Leaders Survey 2010.

The exclusive poll of Ireland's top 300 company bosses reveals that around 32.9 per cent of respondents were either against Nama or undecided. This left 67 per cent of the country's key corporate executives in support of the €81bn bad-bank scheme.

Last week, the first tranches of property loans were transferred over to Nama, with markets stunned by the severity of the "haircuts", or discounts, on the loans, leading to dramatic falls in the value of bank shares, particularly at AIB.

Some bank loans from Bank of Ireland, EBS and Irish Nationwide have now been taken on by Nama, with further loans from Anglo Irish Bank and AIB set to be transferred in the coming weeks.

The annual Sunday Independent Business Leaders Survey, now in its fifth year, was double the size of last year's poll, with 300 of the State's largest companies questioned, generating a near 33 per cent response rate.

The postal survey was carried out in late March.

The survey also reveals increased agitation among the country's top business leaders over the behaviour of some of our crocked property developers. Over 69 per cent of respondents called for property developers to have their personal assets seized if they failed to pay back their Nama-bound loans.

Public anger is rising over the perception that property developers are swanning around in helicopters and living in mansions while the taxpayer is picking up the tab for their disastrous business deals and property purchases.

Just 13.4 per cent of respondents indicated that these developers should not have their assets seized, with some citing legal reasons for their stance. And over 17.5 per cent of the CEOs were undecided.

The personal guarantees given by some property developers to their banks in return for massive loans are coming under increased scrutiny.

It emerged last week that the personal guarantees given to Anglo by some of Ireland's leading property developers are now of "very limited value", according to the bank's annual report.

The bank has also seen the net worth of its borrowers being "eroded" over the past 18 months, meaning that these guarantees will not even come close to covering the repayment of loans.

"As a result, recourse previously available under personal guarantees and through cross-collateralisation is now of very limited value in protecting the bank's interests," the report notes.

Last week, it emerged that the bank was prepared to write off €109m worth of loans that it had made to its former directors, including Sean FitzPatrick and former CEO David Drumm.

Sunday Independent

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