NAMA Chairman and CEO in presentation to Joint Oireachtas Committee

The National Asset Management Agency (NAMA) has now approved the sale of property assets valued at some €4.6 billion. This is an update on the previous figure of €3.9 billion in approved sales which was published at the time of the Annual Report {publication date: 28th July 2011}.

The information was revealed in the presentations of the Chairman and Chief Executive of the Agency (Frank Daly and Brendan McDonagh respectively) to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform.

Speaking to the Committee, Chief Executive Brendan McDonagh also confirmed that the Board of the Agency has now reached conclusions on whether to acquire / not acquire final outstanding loans to a value of €2.6 billion. The intention of the Agency to acquire outstanding loans was subject to written representations by debtors. Representations were received with respect to €1.5 billion of these loans of which €0.25 billion of loans are no longer eligible based on their current status. For €1.15 billion of loans, no representations were received. The Agency will be communicating its decisions to relevant debtors in the coming week.

Speaking on progress at the Agency, Chairman Frank Daly said: “ we have generated €3.5 billion in cash from our acquired loan assets. We have reduced our debt by over €1 billion by redeeming €750m in NAMA Bonds and repaying €299m of advances received from the Minister for Finance. We plan to make substantial additional NAMA debt redemptions before the end of the year.”

Brendan McDonagh also confirmed that the Agency has now appointed receivers in 84 cases. At the publication of the Annual Report this figure stood at 73 cases.

Speaking on the outlook for future sales, McDonagh acknowledged that assets held outside of Ireland would represent the best prospect of generating the sales that debtors need in order to meet their repayment targets over the next year or two. He continued: “A significant proportion of the underlying property is located in the south-east of England and this is attracting strong interest from international investors.”

McDonagh said that the Agency was committed to a competitive sales process for relevant assets: “We are not interested in doing business on that [uncompetitive] basis. Whether we sell loans or approve the sale of property, our interest is best served by ensuring that we achieve the best attainable price and that requires the participation of a number of genuine bidders. We are currently in dialogue with quite a number of these and, over the coming months, we expect that some substantial transactions currently in the pipeline will proceed to sale and that the proceeds will help to reduce our debt and that of some of our debtors.”

Chairman Frank Daly addressed criticisms of the Agency for an alleged lack of transparency. He said: “It seems to me that NAMA can be a fully commercial operation focused on maximising the return to the taxpayer or it can be a fully transparent public body but it is difficult to see how we can be both.”

He did, however, say that the agency is committed to full accountability in accordance with the law: “I wish to make it very clear however that NAMA is and will always be a fully accountable public body. We are subject to regular scrutiny by this Committee and by the Public Accounts Committee. We report on a quarterly basis to the Minister and to the Oireachtas. Our accounts are audited by the Comptroller and Auditor General who has full access to all our records and has a permanent presence at our offices.”