Statement on the Review of NAMA by the Minister for Finance

The National Asset Management Agency (NAMA) welcomes the publication today of the review of NAMA by the Minister for Finance. The review was carried out in line with a requirement under Section 227 of the NAMA Act 2009 that the Minister must assess the extent to which NAMA has made progress towards achieving its objectives. The Minister’s review concludes that NAMA has made significant progress in achieving its overall objectives and that its continuation is therefore necessary.

Over the period from 2010 to mid-2013, NAMA’s approach was to concentrate on disposing of is overseas assets while awaiting a recovery of the Irish market and that has proven to be the optimal approach. The strong improvement in conditions in the Irish commercial property market over the past year, particularly since mid-2013, created opportunities for NAMA to increase the flow of Irish property assets and loan sales to the market. This prompted the NAMA Board to initiate a review of its strategic options in January 2014. The Board, in undertaking the review, was particularly mindful of its obligations under Section 10 of the NAMA Act that NAMA should obtain the best achievable financial return for the State.

As part of his review of NAMA under Section 227 of the Act, the Minister for Finance also requested that the NAMA Board consider whether it could advance the repayment schedule of Senior Bonds through accelerating asset disposals.

A major focus of the strategic review was to assess the commercial feasibility of accelerating loan and asset sales, particularly in Ireland, over the period to 2016. In addition to its own analysis, the Board also took account of advice commissioned from UBS in relation to its strategic options.

In its response to the Minister, the Board set out its view as to the approach most likely to achieve the best financial outcome for the State. The Board’s view was that the best financial outcome would be achieved through a managed process of accelerating disposals in an orderly way with the target of redeeming 80% of senior debt (a cumulative €24 billion) by end-2016.

The Board undertook to maintain a flexible approach with a view to accelerating monetisation beyond the 80% debt redemption target in so far as market opportunities permit during the course of 2015 and 2016.

NAMA Chairman, Mr. Frank Daly, stated:

“Following completion of the Section 227 review, the NAMA Board welcomes the review’s conclusion that NAMA has made significant progress in achieving its overall objectives and that its continuation is therefore necessary. The Board notes the review’s endorsement of the Board’s end-2016 debt redemption target of redeeming 80% of its senior debt.

The Board is very confident that NAMA will redeem its senior and subordinated debt sooner than the 2020 date that it had originally envisaged. We also believe that NAMA will ultimately return a surplus to the Exchequer. If achieved, this would be a very creditable outcome bearing in mind the very difficult market conditions faced by NAMA in its first three years of operation, not least the fall of 25% – 30% in property prices in the Irish market between the start of 2010 and mid-2013.

The Board will now press ahead with plans to accelerate asset and loan sales so as to fulfil its ambitious end-2016 senior debt redemption target. It will also treat as a major priority the delivery of key Grade A office space within the Dublin Docklands SDZ and Dublin’s Central Business District and the delivery of residential housing units in areas of most need.”

NAMA Chief Executive, Mr. Brendan McDonagh, stated:

“Conclusion of the Section 227 review process enables NAMA to plan its activities over the coming years with greater certainty and clarity as to its outlook. I am pleased that the Minister’s review gives due recognition to what has been achieved by NAMA to date and that it takes a positive view of NAMA’s prospects of achieving its objectives.

By end-June 2014, NAMA had redeemed €13 billion in senior bonds and we expect to have redeemed €15 billion or 50% of our senior debt by the end of 2014. The Board’s end-2016 target of 80% senior bond redemption will require us to redeem another €9 billion of senior bonds over the course of 2015 and 2016.

The scale of what still needs to be done is very substantial and, in order to achieve best value for taxpayers, it is vital that NAMA is in a position to retain staff with a detailed knowledge of the loans and underlying assets that are to be offered for sale and with the expertise to ensure that sales processes are managed professionally and effectively. In that context, we welcome the commitment that careful consideration will be given to any proposal that will help safeguard NAMA’s operational capacity and staffing expertise in light of the potentially significant value implications associated with the loss of key employees.

I would like to pay tribute to the Board, Committees and particularly the staff assigned to NAMA for the tremendous commitment and professionalism they have shown in their assiduous work on behalf of taxpayers.”

BACKGROUND NOTE:

The Department of Finance has today (16 July 2014) published the Review of NAMA under Section 227 of the NAMA Act. Section 227 requires the Minister to assess the extent to which NAMA has made progress toward achieving its overall objectives, and decide whether continuation of NAMA is necessary having regard to the purposes of this Act. A copy of the Review is available at the Department’s website www.finance.gov.ie .