NAMA sells off Northern Ireland loan portfolio in its biggest deal to date

Friday 04 April 2014 21.38
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NAMA sells Northern Ireland loan portfolio, Project Eagle
NAMA sells Northern Ireland loan portfolio, Project Eagle
NAMA chairman Frank Daly says the deal is the biggest so far for the agency
NAMA chairman Frank Daly says the deal is the biggest so far for the agency
Bloomberg says that NAMA has agreed to buy Royal Bank of Scotland and KBC Bank's loans to the Dundrum Town Centre
Bloomberg says that NAMA has agreed to buy Royal Bank of Scotland and KBC Bank's loans to the Dundrum Town Centre

The National Asset Management Agency has announced its biggest ever transaction.

NAMA said it has sold its Project Eagle portfolio of loans to Cerberus Capital Management, subject to contract.

The agency said the Northern Ireland-based portfolio had a face value of £4.5 billion, adding that the terms of the deal are "commercially sensitive and are not being disclosed".

But it is understand that the portfolio had a minimum reserve price of £1.3 billion and it sold for in excess of that level.

The Project Eagle portfolio consisted of loans for about 850 properties across Northern Ireland, the UK and the Republic of Ireland with all borrowers originating from Northern Ireland.

"This transaction represents a significant achievement for NAMA.  It is NAMA's biggest single transaction to date and we are satisfied that the sales process will deliver the best possible result for the Irish taxpayer," commented NAMA chairman Frank Daly.

"NAMA management of this portfolio has been measured and supportive taking into consideration the particular circumstances in the Northern Ireland economy. We are assured by Cerberus that they will adopt a similar approach," Mr Daly added.

Finance Minister Michael Noonan said that today's announcement "is very good news for the Irish taxpayer, NAMA and the Northern Irish economy". 
 
"As I have said on many occasions, a strong and growing economy in Northern Ireland is in all our best interests. I am confident that the purchaser, Cerberus, will work closely with the Northern Ireland Executive, invest in the Northern Ireland economy and support economic growth and job creation," Mr Noonan said.

The Stormont First Minister Peter Robinson today welcomed the sale of the portfolio of loans, adding that he believes the deal is excellent news for the local economy.

Mr Robinson also thanked Finance Minister Michael Noonan for the constructive way he had worked with the Stormont Executive over the sale of the £4.5 billion property portfolio.

Cerberus Capital Management is one of the world's leading private investment firms and has more than $25 billion under management. Former US Vice President, Dan Quayle, is chairman of Cerberus Global Investments.

Sammy Wilson, MP and MLA for East Antrim, welcomed the sale of the portfolio.

Speaking on RTÉ's News at One, Mr Wilson said the sale was a fair deal that reflected market value and would introduce stability.

He said: "For any big investor to show the confidence they have in purchasing assets of this magnitude in Northern Ireland is an indication that internationally people are recognising there's greater political stability and economic opportunities.

“That's a great selling point for us when we go to look for investment across the world."

NAMA buys Dundrum Shopping Centre loans

Meanwhile, news agency Bloomberg reports that NAMA has agreed to buy Royal Bank of Scotland and KBC Bank’s loans to the Dundrum Town Centre, giving it full control over the debts linked to the complex.

NAMA’s purchase of Ulster Bank and KBC’s combined 30% stake of a syndicated loan to the south Dublin shopping centre gives it full control of the debt, according to sources that spoke to Bloomberg.

NAMA is reportedly paying par value for the loans, one of the sources said, declining to give an exact figure.

The move move may pave the way for the sale of the mall, valued at as much as €1 billion, to help repay the project’s developer’s loans to the agency, sources said.

Officials from NAMA, RBS and KBC declined to comment on the matter.