The regular audience on here will know that NAMA doesn’t do targets very well, data, dates, deadlines. Its annual set of objectives is practically a metrics-free zone. After all, what organization willingly submits itself to the rigour of targets against which performance is measured, unless it really has to. It is just begging for trouble.
The regular audience will also be familiar with Minister for Finance Michael Noonan’s stock response when questioned about NAMA’s targets = “they’re commercially sensitive”. Particularly sales targets which it has been claimed by Minister Noonan in the past would place NAMA at a commercial disadvantage if disclosed.
On here, before Christmas, there was a blogpost when the IMF issued a report which confirmed that NAMA would have €2.6-2.9bn of staple finance sales in 2013-4, and that was the first time, we had any such target.
But today, courtesy of the Irish Independent – and NAMa has just confirmed the figures and that they are for 2013 and that the figures refer to “current values” – we learn that NAMA has a sales target of €3-3.5bn in 2013. That equates to up to €70m per week or €300m per month over which there is very little external scrutiny.A NAMA spokesperson is said to have confirmed the target to the Independent.
Be the hokey!
But why is NAMA now confirming a sales target when it was so reticent in the past?
This blog has been bombarded with confidential messages in the past few days about Irish Bank Resolution Corporation and its assembly of a €2bn loan portfolio which carries the code name “Project Delta”. The latest from the Special Liquidator of IBRC, KPMG yesterday is that the sale of the portfolio has been put on hold pending an independent valuation and that “there is a decision pending”.
The British commercial property portal CoStar is today reporting “Then later last night, KPMG said a decision has yet to be taken, although CoStar News has heard consistently from sources that Delta is expected to come to market in a form not significantly different to the present composition.”
NAMA competes with IBRC, and any unsold loans at IBRC will be transferred to NAMA in August 2013. So, by “letting slip” that NAMA has a sales target of €3.5bn in 2013, it enables NAMA to have adopted a position that the loan sales market is already crowded and that any large disposal by IBRC might just push prices down generally which is bad for NAMA and bad for the taxpayer. Of course, it would be good for NAMA to acquire as many IBRC loans as possible in August 2013, so putting it out there now that it had already targeted itself with disposing of €3-3.5bn of loans might deter IBRC from ramping up its sales.
Of course, it might be that NAMA has turned over a new leaf and is becoming less paranoid over what is commercially sensitive. But conspiracy theorists might not see it that way.
UPDATE: 19th February, 2013. It has been pointed out that the Wall Street Journal and the International Financial Review on 6th and 2nd February 2013, had already referred to a sales figure for 2013. So, conspiracy theorists can apparently stand down for now. Meanwhile there appears to be a storm of activity happening around the IBRC Project Delta sale, with intense speculation over whether it is on the market, or has already tentatively agreed a sale.