The National Asset Management Agency has today forecast that it would post a lifetime surplus of €4 billion, up from an earlier estimate of €3.5 billion.

In its annual report published today, NAMA reported an after-tax profit of €795m for 2018 - its eighth consecutive year of profitability – and a jump of 65% on profits the previous year. 

During 2018, NAMA generated €3.27 billion in cash, including €3.14 billion from the sale of loans and property.

Seen as a major liability for the country's finances when it was established in 2009 during a crash that cut property values in half, NAMA has since been boosted by a surge in demand for Irish property.

Since it was set up, the agency has used €32 billion of senior and junior debt to rid banks of €74 billion worth of risky property loans.

Last year it redeemed the final tranche of government-guaranteed senior debt three years ahead of schedule. 

Today's report states that between the start of 2014 and the end of May this year, NAMA funded or facilitated the delivery of over 14,000 new homes.

Of these 10,024 were funded by NAMA and 4,000 were delivered on sites for which NAMA had funded planning permission, enabling works, legal costs or holding costs.

An additional 3,200 units are under construction or are funding approved in active developments, while planning permission has been obtained for another 4,000 new homes.

"2018 saw another excellent financial performance from NAMA, as we made a significant profit for the eighth year in a row and increased our projected lifetime surplus to €4 billion, subject to market conditions," commented NAMA's chief executive Brendan McDonagh. 

"On top of this NAMA expects that it will have paid taxes to the Exchequer in the region of €400m, bringing its overall contribution to a projected €4.4 billion," Mr McDonagh added.

He said that much of this surplus represents the outcome of years of "persistent, patient and intensive work to overcome obstacles, take advantage of market opportunities and maximise value for the State". 

"Our strong financial performance has been complemented by similar contributions to the State in areas such as social housing, supporting businesses, improving housing supply and regenerating the Dublin Docklands." he added.

Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe said he planned to use the NAMA surplus to pay down debt, a move he said would have a material effect on the state's prospects. 

While NAMA is due to be wound down by 2021, Mr Donohoe described that as the final phase of its "current existence" and said Dublin would consider ways to use the agency's remaining assets to help develop housing and other facilities.