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Quick sale of NAMA's assets would cost us €2.6bn - report


NAMA CEO Brendan McDonagh and chairman Frank Daly at Leinster House.

NAMA CEO Brendan McDonagh and chairman Frank Daly at Leinster House.

NAMA CEO Brendan McDonagh and chairman Frank Daly at Leinster House.

THE State's bad bank, NAMA, has warned that a fire sale of its assets could result in a loss to the taxpayer of up to €2.6bn.

Documents seen by the Irish Independent show that a report for the agency by investment bank UBS reveals that "losses ranging from €1.4bn to €2.6bn would arise if an accelerated liquidation or fire sale" took place.

The report was commissioned to explore options in light of the improving economy and the rising property market.

Devised as a means of clearing the toxic loans off the balance sheets of the bailed out banks, NAMA was a way of placing all the rotten eggs in one basket.

Considerable new detail about its "secret" internal operations are revealed today, including its dealings with developers, the money it has spent on lawyers, receivers and its defence to charges that it lost millions of taxpayers' money.

The Government and NAMA have both made much of the fact that NAMA is releasing new homes onto the market to try and address the shortage.

But so far, NAMA has completed the development of just 1,698 residential units across the entire country.

Of 956 units developed by NAMA this year, 818 of those were in Dublin.

Four counties - Kerry, Limerick, Louth and Mayo - have not yet seen one single unit developed by NAMA this year.

Despite a waiting list of 90,000 for social housing, NAMA confirms that it has so far made just 926 units in total available for social housing across the entire country. NAMA says it will deliver 1,000 units by the end of the year.

NAMA chief executive Brendan McDonagh said: "We cannot control the full picture.

"We have to rely on local authorities, housing agencies and approved housing bodies to sign the contracts."

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He added: "About 1,700 units were rejected because they were the wrong type of product or in the wrong location, or local authorities and approved housing bodies felt they had an over-exposure in a particular area."

NAMA has also had to strongly defend itself against charges that it has dropped the ball in how it has managed the sale of some properties.

It revealed that of the 136 hotels it originally acquired, it has 107 hotels remaining. "Of those, 28 are in Dublin, 32 in Munster, 22 in Connacht and Ulster, 19 in the greater Dublin area, which I call the commuter belt, and six are in the rest of Leinster. They include hotels across all the categories - three, four and five star. Some are hostels," Mr McDonagh said.

A series of revelations are contained in documents sent by NAMA to the Oireachtas Finance Committee.

Committee members Stephen Donnelly and Lorraine Higgins both challenged NAMA over its sale of a building at Sir John Rogerson's Quay for €7.5m in 2012, but which was "flipped" a year later for €18m.

Mr McDonagh told the committee: "The best defence in securing the price is that it is openly marketed. At that time everybody who wanted to bid for it could bid for it.

"That was the highest bid at that time. A special purchaser who was prepared to pay what some might have thought was way over its value was something that did not exist two years ago."

It also emerged that NAMA realised a €140m loss on the sale of its Northern portfolio.

NAMA staff numbers have risen from 100 to 370 this year as its operating costs hit €137m. Salary costs to end of June amounted to €20.3m.

But NAMA is now publicly expressing concern at its ability to retain staff.

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