Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 20 April 2014

Toxic bank takes over another 10 Northern Ireland sites

The Republic's 'bad bank' is taking enforcement action against another 10 sites in Northern Ireland where it has not been able to reach a payment plan with the owner, it has emerged.

Nama this week released details of another 16 sites, of which 10 are north of the border, to which it has appointed receivers.

Most are development plots not built on following the credit crunch and housing slump.

Nearly all are assets which belonged to Co Antrim developer Mervyn McAlister, who went bankrupt earlier this year and was heavily indebted to Anglo Irish Bank and Allied Irish Banks (AIB).

The lands newly listed by Nama include five sites in his home town of Ballycastle, a site in Loughguile, and two sites in Dungannon, Co Tyrone.

But there are scores of other sites where owners have reached a plan to repay loans to Nama —but those sites are not publicised.

In Northern Ireland there are nearly 90 sites effectively repossessed by Nama— the agency set up to cleanse the Irish banks of toxic property loans.

Nama chairman Frank Daly said there was no “fire sale” of assets in Northern Ireland during a speech to the business community hosted by Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce yesterday.

Mr Daly told the gathering at Hillsborough Castle, which included Secretary of State Owen Paterson, that loans of around £3.3bn taken out with banks based in the Republic by 180 Northern Ireland debtors had now been transferred to the agency.

However, Nama has taken enforcement action against a minority of the debtors, in cases where the borrower has not co-operated with the agency, and appointed receivers to maintain and sell the buildings.

The agency confirmed yesterday that around £37m of sales have taken place on Northern Ireland assets linked to Nama.

In his address, Mr Daly said loans originating from Northern Ireland accounted for just 5% of Nama’s total portfolio.

He said Nama wanted to help stabilise the market, generate transactions, provide liquidity and encourage “phased asset disposals”, but he said it would take a longer-term approach where necessary. And he said the agency did not want to make sales at “fire sale prices”.

background

Almost all property companies in Northern Ireland that borrowed money from Southern banks to buy land have now seen their loans transferred to Nama. These include:

e McAlister Holdings

e PBN

e Lavelle and McAlinden

e McAleer and Rushe

e McDaid Developments

e Murdock Property Group