Belfast Telegraph

Ulster Bank eyes €1bn loan sell-off

Ulster Bank is putting €1bn (£840,000) of investment property loans on the market as it continues efforts to slim down its 'non-core' portfolio.

The latest sell-off, thought to be across the island of Ireland, was first reported by blog namawinelake, and comes weeks after Ulster Bank reported impairments of £2.4bn (€2.9bn) on its non-core loans for 2011.

A spokesperson for the bank yesterday declined to comment on the sale.

Four selling agents are understood to have been contacted about the €1bn loan sale and are expected to submit sale proposals.

Royal Bank of Scotland's group-wide 'non-core' unit was holding £14.4bn of Ulster loans on its balance sheet at the end of last year, down from £15bn at the end of 2010.

The Ulster non-core piece includes £3.9bn of real estate investment loans, £8.5bn of real estate development loans and £1.6bn of 'other corporate'.

Real estate investment suffered the heaviest relative impairments last year, with its £609m hit equating to about 15% of the total portfolio. The level of the impairments taken so far suggests Ulster Bank is likely to be willing to sell on the loans at a discount, though this will depend on the quality of the exact loans in the sale.