Well there was speculation going around Dublin on Friday afternoon about it, but this morning NAMA has confirmed in a press release – available from their representatives, Gordon MRM here – that the 17% stake that had been owned by Irish Life and Permanent has been sold to a British concern called Walbrook Partners LLP, a company formed in May 2011 by Michael Keeley, Geoffrey Broomhead and Simon Haworth.
You might recall that Eurostat, the EU’s statistics agency which has the final say on the calculation of countries’ national debt said earlier this year that the 17% stake in NAMA owned by ILP was causing it concern since the State now owns 99.5% of Permanent TSB and all of Irish Life, and as a consequence the State was majority investor in NAMA so the NAMA bonds might have to come onto the national balance sheet. The sale of the ILP stake had been announced in April 2012, but despite persistent questioning in the Dail, Minister Noonan refused to identify the buyer.
No details of the purchase price of the stake are available yet. We don’t know the exact terms under which these shares have been issued. NAMA has paid almost €10m in dividends to the three “independent” stakeholders Bank of Ireland, AIB (stake now owned by South African investor Prescient Capital) and ILP (now owned by Walbrook). These dividends were paid despite NAMA racking up €1bn plus losses. Nice investment!