Belfast Telegraph

Monday 22 September 2014

No surprise global players are looking to Ulster Bank

Ross Davidson is principal at RW Davidson, a specialist commercial property law firm

It is not surprising that some major global players have come forward as prospective purchasers of Ulster Bank's Project Achill loan book as the bidding process moves to the second round.

Cerberus hit the headlines here earlier this year with its purchase of the entirety of Nama's Northern Irish loan book. In doing that deal, and now reportedly employing staff locally to manage that book, Cerberus has committed itself to our property market for at least the next three-to-five years. It makes business sense that they would seek to maximise their return from that investment by buying in further Irish distressed debt. In for a penny, in for a pound, so to speak.

Of the other shortlisted bidders, US firms Oaktree and Lone Star are also familiar names to our property market in recent times.

Oaktree has successfully acquired a huge amount of UK property debt in recent months including from Lloyds Bank.

Between them, Oaktree and Texas-based Lone Star almost singly handedly took all of the much-maligned and now defunct Anglo Irish Bank's property loan book off its liquidator's hands earlier this year.

Ross Davidson is principal at RW Davidson, a specialist commercial property law firm

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