NAMA sets up dedicated unit to sell and manage hotel portfolio
The National Asset Management Agency is establishing a dedicated firm to manage some of its hotel assets, the Irish Independent has learnt.
The move comes as NAMA prepares to offload a number of prime Dublin hotels in coming months.
The agency is also understood to be carefully weighing which properties to sell in Dublin. It's believed the agency has a major push under way to ensure hotels under its control -- both in Dublin and outside the capital -- are trading at optimum levels before they're sold.
The agency will use a vehicle called the National Asset Leisure Holdings, which it has just recently incorporated, as an administrative unit for some of the loans attached to hotel properties it controls.
"This is one of a number of special purpose companies established by NAMA for admin- istrative purposes to facilitate the management of assets in its portfolio," said a NAMA spokesman.
While it's not known yet which properties NAMA might be preparing for sale in the capital, it's understood that one of those that will be up for grabs is the Portmarnock Hotel & Golf Links, north of the city.
NAMA had a receiver appointed to Capel Developments in 2011. Capel bought the Portmarnock hotel in 2005 for €70m. It's worth as little as a quarter of that.
NAMA is also thought to be considering how a sale of hotels in the capital under its control could be impacted by planned sales by Lloyds-owned Bank of Scotland. It is expected to put as many as 16 hotels around the country up for sale this year. Those properties are currently managed on behalf of the bank by BDL.
Patrick Ryan, a senior adviser in NAMA's hotels unit, told a conference before Christmas that the agency planned to sell hotels around the capital early in 2014. He said there had been substantial interest in properties around the capital from private equity entities, investment funds and high-net worth individuals.
The agency originally secured loans attached to 134 hotels and 108 are still operational under its control. A further 10 have been sold, including the Morrison in Dublin, which was sold to Russian's richest businesswoman, Yelena Baturina, for €22m. The iconic Ashford Castle in Co Mayo was sold last year for €20m to Red Carnation Hotels.
Among the hoteliers who'll probably run the rule over assets that come up for sale in coming weeks will be Pat McCann, who is chief executive of the country's largest hotel group, Dalata.
Dalata operates a number of properties around Ireland on a management contract basis and also owns its own portfolio of hotels that operate under the Maldron brand. Yesterday, Dalata commenced a contract to operate the Clarion hotel at Dublin Airport, which was bought by the Dublin Airport Authority last year for more than €10m.
Mr McCann was unavailable for comment yesterday.