Nama defiant over ‘lost €18bn’ claim

Nama has defended its performance in light of a new report suggesting it has missed out on generating €18bn for the State by selling assets too quickly.

Coming to light over the weekend, a report – commissioned by David Daly, one of the first major property developers to exit Nama – claims that the State’s so-called ‘bad bank’/’toxic loan agency’ failed to realise at least €18bn in money for the taxpayer by not holding a number of property loan assets on its books for long enough.

The findings of the report came from research undertaken by economist Jim Power and Lisney estate agents.

It also claims that in the case of 11 asset sales by Nama to investment funds, the buyers ‘flipped’ the asset and made an average profit of 47%. The cumulative loss to the Irish taxpayer from these transactions alone was €317.6m, according to the study.

Commenting on the report, Mr Daly said: “It’s clear that Nama’s firesale of the nation’s property assets has allowed vulture funds to make a killing at the taxpayer’s expense. The agency would have fared better had it opted for a medium to long-term commercially-savvy approach over its knee-jerk, panicked and inexperienced reaction. Had it done so, then conceivably, the lion’s share of the €74bn bank loan value could have been recovered on behalf of the Irish taxpayer.

“In the context of the recovery of both Irish and global property markets, Nama’s stated return of a maximum €2.3bn on an investment of €31.8bn seems significantly lighter than would be expected.”

A spokesperson for Nama yesterday said that the agency has met all of its targets.

“It is important to bear in mind that the agency was set a very difficult job to do, which included meeting specific debt repayment targets — all of which have been met,” said the Nama spokesperson.

While the agency said it does not comment on individual debtors, the spokesperson added that it is “ironic that Mr Daly is one of the complaints taking a case to the EU seeking to prevent Nama from proceeding with its house building programme”.

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