The National Asset Management Agency indicated yesterday that it has eyed out sites that have the potential for the development of 25,000 housing units over the next six years or so. Over 4,000 are shovel ready, it says.

Tom Parlon, Director of the Construction Industry Federation, said the figure is well short of what is needed this year, despite the promises of NAMA to get involved in supporting developers to fast-track construction projects. He blamed issues around capital and planning. "We need a continued freeing up in the availability of capital. You won't develop many houses with a million euro. Venture capitalists are looking for exorbitant fees of up to 20%, making it unviable," he said.

Tom Parlon also referred to issues in the planning process where he said changes were painfully slow. He said he believed Ireland had the capacity to rebuild up the construction industry in a short timeframe. "It will ramp itself up very quickly. But we need to deal with the issues around infrastructure, particularly water. Connections and infrastructure is already a problem on a number of greenfield sites which is going to cause further delays," he warned.


MORNING BRIEFS - Glanbia has made another acquisition in the sports supplement market. It has bought the Isopure company for $153m. Isopure is a US based provider of premium branded sports nutrition products which is mainly sells online and through direct distribution channels.

*** Finance Minister Michael Noonan is in Milan today, canvassing euro zone finance ministers for support in the early repayment of the expensive IMF portion of the country's debt. Yesterday, Brendan Howlin indicated that we had already got the support of the German parliament, which had set a date to ratify the proposal. The IMF has already indicated that it is favourably disposed towards the idea of us paying back our loans to them early and it said we can do so without any penalty.

*** Mr Noonan upgraded the growth outlook for the year bringing it into line with most other estimates. The Department upped the expected GDP growth figure from 2.1% to 3.1%. He made the assessment on the basis of improved employment numbers, better retail sales and good export numbers.

*** Argentina's Congress has passed a bill that it hopes will it allow it sidestep a US court ruling on its debt. The US court ruled that Buenos Aires could not pay back any of its creditors until they had all agreed on a reduced return on their investment - however, a group of so-called holdout investors wanted full repayment and the court ruled that they were entitled to that. Argentina subsequently defaulted on its debt. Now Congress has voted in favour of paying those creditors that agreed to the terms and conditions of a reduced return in local currency or in a jurisdiction beyond the reach of the US courts.

*** US electronics retailer RadioShack has warned that it could be forced to declare bankruptcy if it does not find an investor soon. The company - which has more than 4,500 stores in the US - has said it is in restructuring talks, which gave the share price a boost yesterday. It has been trying to offload properties and has closed down some of its shops. It reported a second-quarter loss of $137m.