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Archive for April 14th, 2010

Stopping the NAMA bulldozers

During yesterday’s hearing of the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Finance and the Public Service, the NAMA CEO Brendan McDonagh referred to the likelihood that some assets bought by NAMA would be demolished. This was not a first option, he said, and any proposal would be carefully considered. To many the prospect of bulldozing properties after zoning, design, planning permission and partial building seems a huge waste. Some of these people believe there is value in these developments much greater than would be suggested by the bulldozing option.

Well these people now have the opportunity to put their money where their mouths are. The NAMA CEO confirmed yesterday that he had a large number of approaches from parties who expressed an interest in potential NAMA assets (it caused a bit of a laugh when he said he wasn’t aware of anyone chasing after the partly-complete Anglo headquarters in Dublin). So for those who think there might be value in property that they think might be earmarked for demolition why not write to NAMA and express an interest and ask for further information or to be kept abreast of any decisions at NAMA with respect to property which you might be interested in acquiring.

NAMA doesn’t have perfect market knowledge by any stretch and if businessmen and women can acquire assets cheaply for viable uses then in principle NAMA should welcome an approach that will maximise the asset’s return to the taxpayer. Of course there might be concern that NAMA will bulldoze to protect values of other assets though that might expose NAMA to competition concerns and a hefty fine. NAMA might not initially appreciate an army of sometimes-small investors writing to them but given the over-riding objective of protecting the tax-payers’ investment, why not?

Of course NAMA is acquiring loans worth more than €5m from Anglo, BoI and AIB (though there are rumours that this limit may be lowered). No such limit applies to EBS and INBS. So certain assets may be beyond an investor’s capabilities. However it might be the case that a syndicate of investors could form to acquire a development. Apologies in advance to the people of Leitrim but if there are ghost estates that could be developed into holiday homes or estates, that might provide a basis for a sound financial investment as well as having a regenerative effect on an area.

(Incidentally I have come across the notion that NAMA’s anti-lobbying rules in the NAMA Act prevent anyone from writing to NAMA in respect of any asset disposal. People should of course look at the rules contained in the NAMA Act but I see nothing in there to stop principals expressing interest in potential NAMA assets and indeed the NAMA CEO has confirmed that many such expressions of interest have been received).

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