Belfast Telegraph

Friday 18 April 2014

No plan for 'fire sale' of assets, says Nama

The National Asset Management Agency (Nama) will help stabilise Northern Ireland's property market by taking up to a decade to dispose of assets, the agency said.

A longer-term view of the loans managed by the organisation would provide part of the solution to the region's problems, Nama head of credit and risk Ronnie Hanna said. Prices are plummeting and there are few sales as first-time buyers await further falls in the cost and struggle to get mortgages.

There had been warnings by Northern Ireland Finance Minister Sammy Wilson against a "fire sale" of assets by Nama in an attempt to quickly realise cash.

Mr Hanna said: "Nama is an asset management vehicle and contrary to how it is portrayed in some quarters it is not a toxic bank.

"We have the capacity to take a longer term view of the loans we take on, if it makes commercial sense, and our timeframe is to manage and realise the loans and the property held as collateral for the loans over a seven to 10-year time period."

He said Nama, created by the Irish Republic's government to manage loans from five Irish banks linked to land and development, had no interest in hoarding assets longer than necessary.

"We will work with debtors if it makes commercial sense, but debtors must submit a business plan which includes a realistic repayment schedule and we require full co-operation and full disclosure from debtors. Debtor co-operation and capability is key," he said.

The nominal value of Northern Ireland loans that Nama has acquired from some 180 debtors is £3.35bn and this represents 5% of Nama's total loan portfolio.

Undeveloped land accounts for 60% of assets, 29% commercial investments, 10% land under development and 1% residential development.

Just under a third of the value is in Belfast, 21% in Co Down and 2% in Derry city.

In a directors' report last year, PBN Properties, owners of Carryduff Shopping Centres, said loans with Bank of Ireland had been moved to the agency while some from Allied Irish Banks and Anglo Irish would be transferred soon.

Hilden Developments, which is owned by an English company, last year said around £45m which it had borrowed from Irish Nationwide Building Society had been transferred to the asset management agency.