DEFECTIVE SECURITY MADE €3.5BN IN LOANS WORTHLESS - The Irish Examiner reports that roughly €3.5bn of development loans were acquired by NAMA for a nominal amount because the legal security backing the loans was defective. The figures emerged through a response by Minister for Finance Michael Noonan to a parliamentary question asked by Reform Alliance TD Lucinda Creighton. 

Mr Noonan said that in all cases where defective security was identified as a problem, it was NAMA’s practice to allow the participating institutions sufficient time to perfect security. This extended to a period of 12-to-18 months in some instances. 

A zero or low acquisition value was only applied where protracted efforts by the original financial institutions to perfect security proved to be unsuccessful, he added. 

NAMA has announced that it is ending its initiative to kick-start the housing market. The 80:20 deferred payment initiative was launched in May 2012 in conjunction with a number of banks.

KKR TO INVEST $100M IN HELICOPTER LEASING FIRM - New York-based private equity firm KKR plans to invest more than $100m (€74m) in a Dublin-based helicopter leasing firm, The Irish Independent reports.

KKR said it is making the investment in Lease Corporation International's helicopter unit to tap growing demand from the oil and gas sector.

Ireland's helicopter leasing business has long flown under the radar at home but attracts attention from some of the world's biggest investors. KKR said yesterday it could eventually own helicopters worth around $1bn.

Two months ago, George Soros-backed Waypoint Leasing secured additional borrowing capacity to expand its Limerick-based helicopter business which may increase borrowing there by $500m.

SPEED CAMERA FIRM GOES UNLIMITED – The Irish Times reports that the private company that operates speed camera vans on behalf of the State has moved to shield its significant profits from public gaze.

In a restructuring completed in recent months, the company behind the Go Safe consortium has changed to unlimited status, meaning the firm is no longer required to file detailed accounts.

The consortium, which includes Kerry businessman Xavier McAuliffe, has also changed its ownership structure so that it is ultimately controlled by an entity in the Isle of Man.

This has the effect of giving it a form of limited liability in Ireland, despite its unlimited status here.
The Go Safe consortium made profits of €50,000 a week in 2012.

It secured the €80 million Garda Síochána contract to operate the speed camera vans in 2009. The scale of its profitability was revealed in accounts filed by Road Safety Operations Ireland (RSOI) with the Companies Office last July.

EE FLOAT PUT ON HOLD - The flotation of EE, Britain’s largest mobile operator, has been put on hold by Orange and Deutsche Telekom, after the joint owners concluded they would secure a higher valuation for the business when its 4G telephone services take off, according to The Financial Times.

Orange and Deutsche Telekom – which has also been linked with a sale of its US business this year – had been working on options for a partial sale of EE for more than a year.

However people with knowledge of the decision said a strategic review by the companies had concluded that this was not the time to sell EE – based on a belief that its valuation will rise in future as more people adopt higher margin mobile data packages in the nascent 4G market.

The move to shelve what could have been London’s largest initial public offering represents an unexpected reversal for a booming market, which had attracted a growing number of companies seeking to raise capital. 

Analysts had estimated that EE could carry an enterprise value of more than £10bn.