Friday 19 January 2018

We'll all lose on Nama, say Irish business owners

Roisin Burke

Nama will not make a profit, a resounding 73 per cent of Ireland's business leaders now believe.

Only 10 per cent of participants in our Sunday Independent Business Owners survey think that the State's €80bn-plus bailout of the banks will actually turn a profit. The rest, 17 per cent, were undecided on where the rescue mission might leave us financially.

Last Wednesday, the last of the loans connected with the disastrous €411m purchase of the Irish Glass Bottle site in Ringsend, Dublin, were moved into Nama as part of the second loan tranche transfer.

Nama is expected to start selling off assets in the near future, even though property prices are at historic lows. The International Monetary Fund is leaning on the agency to move soon, prompting speculation that a fire sale of bargain basement assets could follow.

Nama drastically marked down its profit prediction from €4.8bn late last year -- to an estimation that it could make a profit of up to €3.9bn, or a loss of as much as €800m. Any profit it does make is expected to take 10 years.

Its business plan revealed last month that only 25 per cent of its first tranche loans were performing, rather than the 40 per cent that the banks had claimed. No wonder those on the coal face of business have their doubts that there's a profit to be made.

As the Government gears up for the December Budget, the majority of business leaders are backing moves to plug the €20bn deficit quickly as well as plans to save €3bn, mostly by imposing cuts rather than raising taxes.

Almost two-thirds of those polled told us that they thought this was a good move. Less than 30 per cent disagreed, while 12 per cent were undecided.

Sunday Independent

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