NAMA sells Project Tower loan portfolio to Blackstone

Tuesday 13 May 2014 10.56
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The Elysian Tower is part of the Project Tower portfolio
The Elysian Tower is part of the Project Tower portfolio
Michael O'Flynn's loan portfolio sold by NAMA to Blackstone
Michael O'Flynn's loan portfolio sold by NAMA to Blackstone

The National Asset Management Agency has sold a portfolio of loans that includes Ireland’s tallest building, the Elysian Tower in Cork, to Blackstone Real Estate Partners Europe.

The Project Tower portfolio, which has a book value of €1.8 billion, relates to loans secured on assets under the control of the Cork-based O'Flynn Group. The assets are mainly located  in Ireland, the UK and Germany.

The O'Flynn Group was one of the biggest Irish construction companies and is perhaps best known for the 17-storey Elysian Tower.

Speaking about the transaction, Michael O'Flynn, Managing Director of the O'Flynn Group, said that the Group believed it would "assist us in responding to the opportunities we see in our markets in Ireland, the UK and Europe.

"In the Irish market in particular, there is a need for strong players in the property sector to address acute supply issues," Mr O'Flynn said.

The deal is expected to complete this week. NAMA said it would not disclose the terms of the deal as they were commercially sensitive.

However, property website CoStar Finance has reported the selling price to be €1.1 billion, a discount of approximately 37%, making it one of NAMA’s bigger transactions.

NAMA's chief executive Brendan McDonagh said the deal provides further evidence of the current and continued strong investor appetite for real estate assets and property-related loans in Ireland and in other jurisdictions to which NAMA has a significant exposure.

"We are particularly pleased that the transaction has been agreed with such a reputable international counter-party as Blackstone," Mr McDonagh added.

About €1 billion worth of loans were secured on properties and lands in Ireland, including the Elysian Tower and a shopping centre in Ballincollig in County Cork.

The remainder of the portfolio relates to properties in the UK and Germany, including a group of student residences in the UK called Victoria Hall, which has more than 5,500 student accomodation places in several UK cities.

According to CoStar Finance, the original €1.85 billion Project Tower portfolio comprised three sub-pools:

- A €266m performing pool secured by a UK-led student accommodation portfolio, comprising 11 assets in the UK and one each in Germany and Spain. The loans mature in March 2018

- €540m sub and performing pool secured by 23 UK investment properties, five UK development schemes and six German investment properties. The majority of the loans mature in March 2018, while a smaller pool of underwater UK-secured loans mature between March 2014 and March 2016

- A €1.02bn sub and non-performing 21 investment properties, 67 residential and commercial developments and 27 land banks throughout Ireland.