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Archive for December 30th, 2012

“And by the way, being declared bankrupt in the UK does not mean NAMA loses interest in you – far from it” NAMA chairman Frank Daly speaking on a Dublin radio station in April 2012

FreeRayGrehanWith Ray Grehan emerging this week from UK bankruptcy – though with some legacy matters to be sorted out – and his brother Danny emerging next week and path-finding Cork developer, John Fleming over a year since he emerged from British bankruptcy, this blogpost examines what lies in store for the NAMA developers who have – to a greater or lesser extent – escaped the grasp of the Agency, by obtaining bankruptcy orders elsewhere.

There was a frisson on here during the past week when a filing was made in the NAMA v the Dunnes case in Connecticut where the filing title referred to “CH 13”. Had the heavily-indebted Sean Dunne obtained a Chapter 13 US bankruptcy? No, the CH 13 turned out to be a reference to the Connecticut legal code, and so, to date, David Drumm, the former CEO of Anglo Irish Bank remains the only publicized Irish national to have obtained a bankruptcy order in the US. The British bankruptcy courts have been busier and this is the record on here of the NAMA bankruptcies so far – Minister Noonan said there were about 20, but because of the archaic British insolvency service, we can’t view bankruptcies where a recent address was in (the Republic of) Ireland, so the following may not be a comprehensive listing.

Bankrupts

Whilst Ray will emerge from bankruptcy, his dealings with NAMA aren’t over as the Agency appears to be still contesting the disposal of an apartment in the upmarket One Hyde Park development in Knightsbridge in central London. And whilst John Fleming emerged from bankruptcy in November 2010, NAMA still went on to pursue him for his personal pension, and at time of writing, it seems that this matter is outstanding. The NAMA chairman Frank Daly who was formerly the chairman of the Irish tax authorities, the Revenue Commissioners, has darkly warned that just because a developer obtains a bankruptcy order in the UK and subsequently emerges from bankruptcy, doesn’t mean that NAMA loses interest in that developer – this was interpreted on here to mean that NAMA might continue to monitor developers after emergence from bankruptcy for evidence of undeclared assets or asset transfers.

Unlike Bank of Ireland and Anglo/IBRC, NAMA says that it is neutral on the jurisdiction in which its developers obtain bankruptcy orders – Bank of Ireland fought tooth-and-nail to successfully have the bankruptcy of the O’Donnell couple, Brian and Pat, overturned in the UK and IBRC successfully reversed Sean Quinn’s bankruptcy in Belfast. AIB was unsuccessful – on a technicality – in its bid to bankrupt Ivan Yates in Dublin, but didn’t appear to object when Ivan obtained a bankruptcy order in Wales. Minister for Finance Michael Noonan revealed that NAMA was contesting the release from bankruptcy of one developer in the UK and the betting on here was that it was Sean McWilliams, but in any event, Sean won his freedom in a Belfast court in October 2012.

We do know that Martin Doran’s discharge from bankruptcy has been suspended indefinitely

So, what does bankruptcy hold for NAMA developers? It seems that many have started property consultancies and have been earning some income during their bankruptcy which has presumably been handed over to the trustee for distribution to creditors. Others like Ivan Yates, are contemplating writing a book. Income earned after the discharge is generally secure from former creditors except in the UK, certain court costs and social welfare clawbacks. Most emerge from bankruptcy with a slight blemish on their credit records but if they have wealthy spouses, that is likely to be a short-term problem, Restrictions on directorships can be imposed in some instances, and if creditors are unhappy with disclosures, they can resist a discharge. NAMA will also keep an eye on you.

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As Ray Grehan basks in the sunshine after emerging from UK bankruptcy today – though there may still be some strings attached – it can be exclusively revealed on here that fellow NAMA developer and founder of Ellen Construction, Martin Doran, who was supposed to emerge from bankruptcy a fortnight ago has had his discharge “indefinitely suspended”. This is confirmed by the record at the UK Insolvency Service which says there’s an “order suspending bankrupt’s discharge under Section 279(3) of the Insolvency Act 1986 until the fulfillment of conditions as specified in the Order made by the Court and effective from 13 December 2012”

NotSoFreeMartinDoran

The co-owner of Ellen Construction, Michael Doran seems unaffected by this development and his bankruptcy is due to end on 10th February 2013. We did learn from Minister Noonan earlier this year that NAMA was objecting to the discharge from bankruptcy of one developer, but it was believed on here to refer to Northern Ireland developer, Sean McWilliams. The order referred to on the Insolvency Service is not available, but if there is any development, it will be shown as an update on here.

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TheForumBuilding

It was Gavin Daly who last week first reported in the Sunday Times the sale of the Forum building on Commons Street in the International Financial Services Centre (IFSC) in Dublin to the New York investor, Atlas Capital which reportedly paid €28m for the 47,000 sq ft office block with 370 car parking spaces. The building is let to colorful German bank, DEFFA which is the Irish-based unit of Hypo Real Estate, the nearest Germany has had to an Anglo (so far!).  The annual rent is €2.7m on a mixed lease with the office space rented on a 25-year lease with seven years until the next break. The car parking spaces are rented to Parkrite, Derek Quinlan’s car park company. The initial yield is indicated at 9.6%. The building was marketed by Knight Frank who gave prominence to the availability of NAMA staple finance.  It is unclear if NAMA’s offer of staple finance was taken up by Atlas, a property investment company with a portfolio focused on Manhattan and the City of London.  The Forum was owned by the Liffey Partnership, a company controlled by former King Midas and tax inspector, Derek Quinlan and property developer David Arnold

This is the Knight Frank brochure for the property.

NAMA is selling €500-750m of loans and property each month EVERY MONTH by reference to original book values of the underlying loans. A tiny fraction of the sales is detailed on here.

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To quote from last year’s predictions blogpost on here

“There are three caveats that should accompany any forecast of property prices (1) none of us has a crystal ball and there are so many variables in how property prices change that, at best, you are getting an informed opinion and (2) when forecasting a “market”, you are not forecasting individual transactions, and property is not like milk – there will obviously be regional differences but even on the same street there will be individual properties and buyers and sellers, landlords and tenants, so a general price change might not affect a particular property and (3) to quote Upton Sinclair “it is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it” or to put it another way, you should always bear in mind the motivations of those providing forecasts, and given this is an anonymously-authored blog, that makes assessment difficult.”

Welcome to the 2013 predictions where you can cross palms with cyber silver and the tea leaves are scryed to help tell you what the year ahead will mean for property selling prices in Ireland, residential and commercial and for rents, also residential and commercial. You may care to take a look at the predictions here last year before taking any of this too seriously.

Firstly here is the summary of the predictions

Ireland2013PropertyPredictions

And here are the seven areas taken into consideration

The general economy. Unemployment will remain elevated at 14% despite continuing emigration. The domestic economy will bounce along the bottom with the first half of the year stumbling as the effects of Budget 2013 sink in. The overall economy is difficult to predict, Europe including the UK and the US continue to teeter between the Rapture and the Abyss. Retail has had a good quarter four in 2012 by all accounts, both actual retail indices from the CSO and anecdote for December. Exports have not suffered the expected decline in quarter four seemingly, and both services and manufacturing are growing. Construction is still in the doldrums but credit appears to no longer be contracting.

Property taxes. For once the Government has stuck to a commitment and the mortgage relief for first time buyers has in fact been discontinued from the end of 2012. The new property tax kicks in from July 2013 but in 2013, there will be a 50% discount on the annual charge which will be €315 in a full year for a typical home. We will start to hear more about water charges which may kick in as early as 2014, and these are unlikely to be less than €200 per annum on average to make the cost of installation of meters and administration feasible on a cost basis.  Stamp duty may be increased if transactions start flowing again, and remember the Government has to produce a Budget in December 2013 which will adjust the economy by a further €3.1bn in 2014.

Transparency. We already have the Property Price Register which is prone to errors and only extends back to the start of 2010, but it does provide a basis for comparing values. We are set to have the new commercial leases register by the end of March 2013 so there should be far greater transparency on rental levels, but for the time being at least, there won’t be a commercial property price register and of course there are no plans to make available actual residential rents which are already captured by the Private Residential Tenancies Board.

NAMA. Contrary to popular belief, NAMA actually has little control over the residential market with about 12,000 homes remaining under its control with its borrowers and most of these are rented in rentable areas where rental prices are stable and modestly rising. However NAMA is about to unleash a lot of commercial property onto the market, and there will be €2bn-odd of staple finance to sweeten the deal, particularly on better quality properties with good tenants and where investors have a track record. NAMA has given €6m of rent reductions to commercial tenants in 2013 and the same is expected in 2014 as the domestic economy remains shaky. There will also be more evidence of NAMA investing in developments, so the perception there is an ever dwindling supply of property, particularly prime central Dublin office property, may diminish.

The banks. Deleveraging will continue apace and there is still a mountain of loans and property that non-NAMA banks in particular want to offload. Banks are lousy managers of property so there will continue to be an ample supply of property coming onto the market, courtesy of banks. On the other side of the transaction, there has been some recent stabilization in the provision of credit both to households and businesses and this should improve the general background music.

Bankruptcy laws and repossessions. We expect the new Personal Insolvency Bill to be given presidential assent any day now and it should be immediately commenced. Justice minister Alan Shatter has predicted that there will be 3,000 bankruptcies in Ireland in 2013, up from 30 in a typical year.  Banks are expected to enforce buy to let loans and the 600 repossessions per annum in Ireland may rocket, the prediction on here is that there will be 5,000 repossessions in 2013 and that is a considerable stock of what will be depressed property to be offloaded on the market.

Allsop Space. Another four or five Allsop Space auctions are expected in 2013 and there may be mega 200-Lot events. The successful venture between British auctioning giant Allsop and Dublin property company Space seems to have taken a new direction recently with a focus on commercial property. These auction events will provide finger-tip assessments of the market overall. There will be increased efforts to get more private vendors to sell their property at auction, and who knows, maybe NAMA will embrace the transparency of the auction especially after the Enda Farrell affair in 2012 and the constant prodding from Senator Mark Daly to make the selling process clearer.

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As 2012 draws to a close, this is a review of 2012 Irish property pricing, both residential and commercial, selling prices and rents. There will be a separate blogpost with some gazing into the crystal ball to the year ahead.

First up, this is a summary of the predictions on here a year ago, mid-year and the final outturn. Remember, the annual figures examine the latest property indices, for residential these are Nov 2011-Nov 2012 but commercial indices are published quarterly so these are Sep 2011-Sep 2012, this isn’t cheating, this is basis of the predictions clearly set out in the two previous blogposts.

Ireland2012PropertyPrices

Residential selling prices

Well, well, well, the 1.1% national rise in residential property prices in November 2011 was unexpected on here, and the publication of the last CSO index for 2012 last Friday has certainly given a fillip to the market. The Independent has declared that “the world’s joint worst ever property crash has finally ended” – the share price for IN&M, the group that publishes the Indo and Sindo closed at 2.9c on Friday valuing the entire group at €15m after a loss of €177m for H1,2012 and a massive debt that needs be resolved in the next quarter, so the Indo probably knows as much about the property business as it does about the media business, but it is still surely just a happy coincidence that rising property prices might give a desperately-needed shot in the arm of property advertising.

But stepping back, and examining the CSO’s index for the past 12 months does seem to indicate a change in the residential property market with prices increasing in four of the past five months, and prices overall down just 5.7% in the past 12 months. Yes, estate agents will tell you there was a stampede by first time buyers to complete by the end of 2012 to qualify for valuable tax reliefs which come to an end on Tuesday next, and the property tax relief in 2013-2016 is paltry by comparison, no-one is going to stampede over saving €157 in 2013 on a €150-200,000 home. There was certainly a major boost to first time buyer lending as revealed in mortgage statistics .

The Property Price Register which was launched on 30th September 2012 and you would rationally have thought in a buyers’ market, the Register would force prices to decline to the lowest comparable level or even below. Having said that however, if the Register was only available from the start of October 2012, then there is likely to be a time-lag in the work-out of the effect of the Register.

Allsop Space had another terrific year and clearly leads the Irish property auction field by a country mile and until the Register was introduced, these mega auctions were practically the main way of seeing what the national cash market for mostly distressed property looked like.

NAMA has had little effect on the residential market in 2012 despite all the fears beforehand. The Agency has overseen the disposal of about 1,000 of its 13,000 Irish homes and seems generally satisfied that the homes are located in rentable locations and doesn’t seem to be in any rush to sell. The 80:20 deferred mortgage initiative which now applies to 295 homes has apparently been a success but that seems to be more a function of marketing and profile than the mortgage product itself with few buyers apparently taking the new mortgage product.

Interest rates have not been much of a factor in the housing market this year with the ECB maintaining rates at record low of 0.75% with little imminent prospect of major change. Banks however have been lifting variable rates and that shouldn’t be a surprise as they rebuild their once devastated balance sheets – before our generous recapitalization, that is.

Vacancy levels in Ireland remain at about 14% which is about twice international standards and twice the actual level of vacancy in Northern Ireland, but there is wide variation in vacancy levels and indeed in some parts of the country, we may be at levels which would normally prompt new construction.

Residential rents

As with property, residential rents have had a year of two halves, with the first half experiencing mild declines but the second showing signs of robust growth. In January 2012, Joan Burton’s Department of Social Protection slashed rent assistance levels by a simple average of 13% but some rates were really slashed by 29%. This seemed to have an effect in the first half of the year with the CSO reporting monthly declines of up to 0.9% but then from the second half of the year, there has been growth every month with November 2012 rents up 0.6% on a month-on-month basis.

In Ireland, the rent versus value of a home and yields went out the window during the boom years. Who cares about achieving a 7% annual yield when the underlying property is appreciating by a stonking 10-20%. So it is no surprise that in the property collapse that rents have had less of a decline than selling prices. In fact the big correction in rent took place in 2009 with a 19% maximum decline, compared to a decline of just 1.4% for all of 2010. Since the start of 2011 there has been a 6.1% increase (mostly recorded in February and October 2011 and February and September/October/November  2012).

The results of the Census 2011 showed that there has been a massive increase in renters, with privately renting households increasing by 120% from 145,317 in 2006 to 320,319 in 2011. The ESRI recently opined that this build-up in renters will eventually unwind, though the ESRI failed to consider the growth in the trend of renters. However for the time being, it certainly means that the demand for rented accommodation is elevated, particularly in the better urban and suburban locations.

Commercial selling prices

Estate agents or at least the select few selling major commercial property are a happier bunch at the moment, with 2012 seeing up to €750m of investment transactions, compared to a low of less than €200m in 2011 though we are still off the €3bn record in 2006. There is limited liquidity and buyers in the market, but yields are still all over the place and there have been transactions at close to 15% yields this year.

But 2012 should have been a bumper year and many thought prices would recover. Not so on here where it was predicted there would be a 0-5% decline and in the event, prices have declined 5.2%. Despite the give-away Budget announced in December 2011, where stamp duty was reduced from 6% to 2%, where reform of Upward Only Rent Reviews was abandoned, where capital gains incentives were put in place, despite all this, prices still fell 5.2%. If you assume the long term “normal” vacancy level for commercial property is 5% – and that is disputed in some quarters where it is suggested it should be closer to 15% – then current vacancy levels remain an extreme drag on prices.

But 2012 has seen a rebound in transactions in all sectors, particularly offices and hotels, though it seems on here that industrial continues to lag behind.

Commercial rents

Reflecting the shaky domestic economy and the overhang of vacant property, commercial rents generally continued to decline but at a lower rate than previously. Landlords have some degree of certainty that the Government will not tinker with Upward Only Rent Review clauses, so there is no incentive to negotiate with tenants unless the landlord believes the tenant’s business is jeopardized and that there will be voids in the event of any collapse in the tenant’s business.  NAMA has said that it has approved €6m of rent reductions in 2013 but remember that these rent reductions, or “abatements” , are temporary and provided on a year-to-year basis and as the economy improves, NAMA will be less likely to give its approval.

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This is the final part of a 3-part review of NAMA’s activities in 2012. Part 1 which covers January-April 2012 inclusive is here. Part 2 which covers May-August 2012 inclusive is here. And this is Part 3 which covers the last four months of the year.

September 2012 – he wasn’t a NAMA developer but Ivan Yates’s bankruptcy in Wales was a surprise after AIB’s failed bid to bankrupt the former politician in the Irish courts.  There was speculation that the public St James’s Hospital in central Dublin was going to acquire the private Mount Carmel hospital from NAMAed Gerry Conlon, but by year end, there was no progress as the health service scrambles to rein in a €500m overspend. It was reported in the Sunday Independent that NAMA had written off €50m owed for the development of Greystones Harbour, Minister Noonan later told the Dail that the report was wrong though the Independent continued to stand by the report which brought into focus NAMA’s debt writeoff policies in the case of consortia because in Greystones, Michael Cotter’s troubled Park Developments was jointly developing the project with Sisk, and it was understood the NAMA loans were to the Sispar consortium but it is Sisk alone that now appears to control the loans. NAMA opened a campaign against John McCabe with receivers appointed to McCabe companies and a barrage of High Court applications against various individual members of the McCabe family.  Meanwhile reports emerged that Jerry himself had been the victim of an advance-fee type fraud whereby he had paid fees to a Swiss/Dutch/Middle Eastern company to help refinance his companies’ loans. Paddy McKillen is hit with a €25m legal fees bill in the UK after his failed marathon case, a reported €5m was paid but Paddy is now appealing the decision with a hearing scheduled for February 2013; it wasn’t all bad news for Paddy in September with the Northern Ireland environment minister giving the green-light to develop  a major extension to the Ards Shopping Centre in Newtownards, county Down. Treasury Holdings’ woes intensified as KBC’s application to have the property group liquidated was boosted when NAMA supported the application after revelations of the sale of a Far Eastern company to Richard Barrett for a price which was later reported to be on the low-side of valuation estimates.  Ray Grehan might have been declared bankrupt in the opening week of the year, but that hasn’t stopped NAMA pursuing him through the UK courts over the disposal of a Knightsbridge apartment in central London – “the case continues”. We had some light relief when it emerged model Glenda Gilson had been hit with a €73,000 tax bill which prompted the best anacoluthon headline of the year on here – “Model who kicked NAMA developer in testicles is fined by tax authorities”. NAMA dismissed speculation on here that it had moved to offload its US loan portfolio through a US company, DebtX. David Arnold becomes the second NAMA developer to put his art collection under the hammer, with British auction house Bonham’s getting the business; weeks later NAMA says it controls art collections with an overall value of €7.5m.  It went from bad to worse for former NAMA employee Enda Farrell who faces up to five years in prison or up to €5m fine or both for allegedly removing confidential data from NAMA, the Garda investigation which started in September continues. NAMA has receivers appointed to a series of companies in which NCB stockbrokers is involved, apparently as a vehicle for its private clients. NAMA sues a range of the highest profile developers in a series of unrelated applications in Dublin’s High Court with Bernard McNamara, Liam Carroll and wife Roisin, Greg Coughlan and wife Ann and sticks in a few new McCabe applications for good measure. Fianna Fail again attacked NAMA for its “stinking practice” of selling property off-market.

October 2012 – The deputy Labour Party leader Joan Burton let slip on RTE Radio that NAMA faces a loss of up to €15bn but she did a u-turn on that a week later and toed the party line that NAMA would break even. One of the worst – Phil Hogan would be a close competitor – ministers in Government, James Reilly’s woes continue with a NAMA angle emerging in the controversial decision by the Minister to bump up two sites in his own constituency to be developed as primary care centres. The property at Dublin Street in Balbriggan was owned by NAMAed Seamus Murphy who is an associate of Minister Reilly but the Minister tells the Dail that Seamus won’t benefit from the sale, that NAMA will, which begs the question how the Minister would know this information as NAMA doesn’t disclose confidential information and the implication is that the Minister discussed the finances of the site with his associate which muddies the murky waters even further. It emerges the Minister discussed a site in Balbriggan with NAMA in April 2012 but it remains unclear, the Minister denies it, if the specific site was discussed with NAMA; apparently An Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore had an internal investigation into the matter which concluded there was no political interference based on the documents examined.  Michael O’Flynn puts nearly €100m of property on the market in London. It emerges that NAMA is selling an average six properties per day worth a total of €8m.  Treasury Holdings is finally liquidated which puts at a practical end the prospect of an appeal against the judicial review findings over the Summer – NAMA breathes sigh of deep relief, but that judicial review judgment stands ready to be used by other less distressed developers. The newly launched Property Price Register means we can now see what has sold and at what price, and it seems NAMA’s deferred mortgage scheme hasn’t been as successful as the Agency claimed, though the Agency stands by its sales figures and later in October, expands its offering of properties with the product from 115 to 295. NAMA is back in court against its former employee Enda Farrell and his wife Alice Kramer, it emerges that confidential information was initially forwarded by Enda to Alice who worked at Ernst and Young and this bypassed NAMA’s security which didn’t obstruct the sending of information from the Agency to one of the firms regularly used by the Agency. Alice then forwarded the information to a personal email address, and from there, it seems Enda disseminated it far and wide. NAMA  stretches the bounds of credibility by claiming no damage has been done to the Agency by this apparent leak. A nasty year at the troubled Longford estate Gleann Riada is capped with reports of an explosion in which luckily there were no casualties, a local MEP gets involved and as the year draws to a close, it is unclear who exactly is taking responsibility for remedying defects on Alastair Jackson-developed estate. Northern Ireland’s finance minister Sammy Wilson is delighted that NAMA is investing nearly €125m with Northern Ireland developers, though mostly on developments located in other parts of the UK. A High Court judge referred to the Attorney General for consideration of its constitutionality, part of the NAMA Act, section 101 which deals with NAMA’s responsibilities with respect to assurances given by the original lender if NAMA wasn’t aware of such assurances – as the year draws to a close, the Attorney General appears not yet to have issued her view on the section. NAMA obtains judgments of €270m against members of John McCabe’s family. It emerges that NAMA has sold €1.9bn of loans so far, with Maybourne, Cyril Dennis and Donal Mulryan – and possibly David Daly and Bill Durkan – accounting for the bulk of these. It emerges that Walbrook Partners LLP, a recently formed UK company is the buyer of the 17% stake in NAMA formerly owned by Irish Life, Minister Noonan refuses to provide any detail on the transaction. The court case in Connecticut with NAMA and the Dunnes warms up with each side foiling and parrying against the other – Gayle Killilea-Dunne is very unhappy at what she claims is the damage wrecked by NAMA on her reputation and prospects, NAMA maintains that she has improperly benefitted from transfers from her now- deeply indebted husband – the case is scheduled to be heard a remarkable 20 months hence in September 2014. NAMA appears before the finance committee in the Oireachtas and is predictably grilled about the Enda Farrell affair, both the sale of the house in Lucan offmarket and the alleged removal of confidential information; NAMA is defensive but says the sale of the house in Lucan took place after an “independent valuation” and that recipients of confidential loan information don’t have any advantage conferred on them. It emerges NAMA has approved €6m of rent abatements in 2012, Paddy McKillen wins right to appeal his comprehensive London High Court defeat and the battle is set to recommence in February 2013.

November 2012 – attention is drawn by Sinn Fein to the waste of the State operating two property management companies, NAMA and IBRC where disparities in practices, cost discrepancies and internecine competition for customers and resources just mean the State is pouring more resources down its banking bailout than it needs to. Minister Noonan rules out a merger of NAMA and IBRC for the time being however.  NAMA manages to look righteous as all Hell breaks loose on bankers’ salaries and pensions, with sacrifices at the Agency contrasting with refusals to cooperate with Minister Noonan at IBRC. NAMA Top 10 developer Michael O’Flynn finally has his day in court with junior minister Lucinda Creighton over comments she made in 2011. In the course of a brief High Court hearing, a settlement was reached and a statement was read out in court and a contribution, later put at around €50,000 by sources, was made by Minister Creighton to Michael O’Flynn’s legal costs with the contribution apparently passed on to the Crumlin Childrens Hospital. In Northern Ireland, one of NAMA’s most expensive properties, an office block on Bedford Street in Belfast city centre comes onto the market with a price tag equivalent to €50m. A €20m expansion of Gerry Barrett’s Scotch Hall development in Louth is announced, but where and when is the remaining €1.98bn of NAMA’s promised €2bn going to be spent- we had an answer from the IMF to the latter question in December: “it will be back-loaded”. NAMA slashes prices by over €100,000 on some property subject to its deferred mortgage initiative. Tom McFeely’s former residence on upmarket Ailesbury Road in Dublin finally comes onto the market, after the scrappy Priory Hall developer loses his appeal against the repossession amid a firm NAMA denial of his claims that it had offered him alternative accommodation. Broadcaster Pat Kenny’s property dealings came under the spotlight after the Ritz Carlton hotel in Powerscourt was placed in examinership, with Pat standing to lose tax credits if the hotel collapses, his other dealings particularly with Derek Quinlan partnerships remain under wraps but he is likely to be nursing losses. Paddy McKillen faces a severe dilution of his stake in the Maybourne group with the Barclay-backed board announcing a cash call which eventually is met by Paddy paying for his entire allotment of shares and also making it clear he has the finance for Derek Quinlan’s allotment should that become available – seems Paddy does have a pot to piss in, after all.  It emerges that €3bn-turnover, 16,000-employees faces liquidation after it fails to settle a €22m debt owing to a NAMA developer, the doughty Dunnes chief Margaret Heffernan writes strong letters of protest to the NAMA chairman Frank Daly who curiously doesn’t hand them over to the Gardai, though perhaps there are exemptions to such correspondence in NAMA’s lightweight anti-lobbying rules; in the end Dunnes settles the debt within hours of the liquidation hearing and Judge Peter Kelly is not happy with Dunnes Stores attitude to court rulings. Tragedy befalls a NAMA developer, Hugh O’Regan whose life ends on a roadside in Wicklow – there is an outpouring of sympathy from the public and development community; Paddy Kelly said “there is no compassion, it’s as though we don’t care for each other anymore. There is a poison in our country, where did that come from?” NAMA finally publishes a version of the report by Deloitte into the Enda Farrell purchase of property and it seems that all NAMA had when the sale was effected was a valuation “opinion”, Minister Noonan tries to draw a line under the affair by refusing to answer questions in the Dail about the valuation opinion. A constant headscratcher during the year had been the very low spend by NAMA on lawyers and in November, the mystery was solved – NAMA was booking the lionshare of its legal costs to its balance sheet where it expects to recover these costs from the developers’ loans, one particular source of amusement is the €8,000 booked as payable to McCarter and English, the US firm leading the fight against Sean Dunne and wife, with Sean owing €185m to NAMA and €164m to non-NAMA banks, the prospects for NAMA recovering these costs particularly in the US where there seems to be a bar on one side being awarded costs against the other, seems remote.

December 2012 – the Enda Farrell affair has not gone away yet and the question of NAMA’s legal and other costs in the matter need to be settled with the wife Alice Kramer disputing the costs, claiming she was unaware of the content of the emails sent to her by her husband. Two NAMA developers declare €100m losses apiece, in the case of Frank Boyd’s Killultagh Estates the loss is a real annual loss, in the case of Michael O’Flynn’s Tiger Developments, it is claimed the loss is offset by transactions elsewhere. One of NAMA’s senior property people, Kevin Nowlan leaves the Agency to return to the family firm, WK Nowlan but despite this, Kevin has been called to be deposed in the Dunnes case in Connecticut which will entail quizzing by the Dunnes lawyers in January 2013. NAMA redeems a further €1.5bn of its bonds bringing to €3.5bn the total redeemed in 2012 and €4.75bn the total redeemed to date which means that NAMA just needs redeem a further €2.25bn in 2013 to meet the target of €7.5bn that Minister Noonan unilaterally had copperfastened into the bailout agreement with the Troika in May 2012. An IMF staff report on Ireland reveals a couple of snippets which NAMA would probably prefer not be disclosed to the public, that it will be selling €3bn of Irish property in 2013-4 and that it is backloading its €2bn investment towards the end of the four year period which itself ends in 2016. NAMA has receivers appointed to companies in which Goodbody Stockbrokers have an interest, presumably on behalf of private clients.

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