Belfast Telegraph

Nama plans to offload 80% of its assets within two years

By Staff Reporter

The Republic's bad bank Nama is committed to paying down a minimum of 80% of its senior debt by the end of 2016, two years earlier than planned, an Irish government review said.

The Irish government said last week that it would support an accelerated disposal strategy that would see Nama, one of the world's largest property groups, offload at least 80% of its assets by the end of 2016.

Finance Minister Michael Noonan said: "The new redemption target strikes the right balance between reducing debt and maximising the return to the taxpayer".

Established in 2009, Nama paid €32bn(£25.3m) to purge Irish banks of €74bn (£58bn) of risky loans after a property crash left them near collapse and pushed the country into a three-year EU/IMF bailout that ended last year.

A resurgence of investor confidence paved the way for the Republic to gradually return to bond markets since 2012 and Nama has also taken advantage of what its chairman called a "remarkable turnaround" in sentiment.

It had its busiest quarter for sales in the three months to end of June.

The "bad bank" has completed asset sales of €16bn (£12.6bn) so far, focusing initially on its portfolio of properties in Britain. It generated over €5bn (£3.9bn) from sales in Ireland this year compared to €3.7bn (£2.9bn) for the whole of 2013.

It also sold its entire portfolio of loans belonging to Northern Ireland-based debtors in April.

The review said it was reasonable to expect that Nama would be in a position to repay its senior and subordinated debt and may also return a profit to the state, in line with recent statements by Nama management. But it added that the targets may not be achievable if the property market does not perform as Nama expects.

Nama said: "The strong improvement in conditions in the Irish commercial property market over the past year, particularly since mid-2013, created opportunities for Nama to increase the flow of Irish property assets and loan sales to the market.

"The board will now press ahead with plans to accelerate asset and loan sales so as to fulfil its ambitious end-2016 senior debt redemption target."

Belfast Telegraph