The National Asset Management Agency (NAMA) is refusing to state how much of the €4.6 billion received from the sale of properties under its control was made up of private, off market deals, according to Fianna Fáil Finance Spokesperson Michael McGrath.
Deputy McGrath stated, “In a Dáil reply to me, Minister for Finance Michael Noonan confirmed that NAMA debtors and receivers have recorded over 2,500 cash receipts in respect of asset sales of €4.6 billion as of the end of August 2012. However, neither the Minister nor NAMA are prepared to say what portion of these sales were private deals. NAMA continues to hide behind the pretence that it is not actually the seller when in fact the agency is pulling all the strings behind the scenes. The fact is that the sale cannot take place without NAMA’s consent.
“I believe that it is unacceptable that NAMA properties are being sold in private deals without properties ever being put up for sale on the open market. To date, 2,500 NAMA properties have been sold and the agency is refusing to divulge how many of these were sold on the open market and how many were sold to what it describes as ‘special purchasers’ in private deals. We know for sure that NAMA is engaging in private deals without the properties in question ever being put up for sale the open market.
“NAMA says its policy is that its guidelines require ‘where feasible, the sale of assets on the open market and their public advertisement’ but why then does the agency not tell us what value of the €4.6 billion of sales have been achieved following a public advertisement process? This is basic information which citizens are entitled to.
“The proceeds of the sale of NAMA properties go towards repaying the €32 billion the agency has borrowed to buy the property loans. The properties under NAMA’s control are now essentially public assets and their sale must be done in a transparent and open manner.
“It is disturbing that the Minister for Finance continues to stand over this practice by NAMA. I am calling on the Minister to introduce greater transparency to the operation of NAMA and to start by ensuring that all NAMA properties which are for sale are advertised on the open market.”
The response to the parliamentary question is included below:
DÁIL QUESTION NO 85
To ask the Minister for Finance the number of properties that have been sold that is legally binding contracts in place by the National Assets Management Agency or by agents acting on behalf of NAMA or by agents appointed by NAMA controlled debtors and, of this number, if he will confirm for each category the number and total value of such properties which were up for sale on the open market and publicly advertised; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
– Michael McGrath.
* For WRITTEN answer on Thursday, 4th October, 2012.
Ref No: 42512/12
Minister for Finance ( Mr Noonan) : As with a bank, NAMA does not own nor does it sell property assets securing its loans. The sale of these assets is conducted by their owners, that is, NAMA debtors, or, in enforcement cases, on behalf of these debtors by duly appointed Receivers/Administrators.
I am advised by NAMA that its debtors and receivers have recorded over 2,500 cash receipts in respect of asset sales totalling €4.6 billion as of end August 2012. NAMA advises that cash receipts may relate to sales of individual properties or sales of multiple units as well as disposal of non-real estate assets such as shares and also deposits paid on such transactions. Included in the these cash receipts are sales of some 3,500 individual property units, which can range from undeveloped sites and parking spaces to completed office blocks.
However, these sales have been achieved in accordance with NAMA Board guidelines, a key principle of which is that the conduct of disposals should be on a competitive basis wherever practicable and in accordance with prevailing market practices for the asset class and jurisdiction to which the sale relates.
The Deputy will further note that the NAMA Board guidelines require, where feasible, the sale of assets on the open market and their public advertisement and I am advised by NAMA that in the vast majority of cases the sale of assets securing its loans have been so conducted. In any event, NAMA requires that an independent valuation process be undertaken in respect of all asset disposals over €250,000 in value.
I would also note that while it is the clear policy of NAMA itself to maximise the realised proceeds from all sales of assets securing its loans, it is also clearly in the absolute interest of NAMA debtors to maximise the realised proceeds from the sale of their assets in repayment of their debt. The Deputy will also note the legal, fiduciary and professional obligation on Insolvency Office Holders to maximise the realised proceeds from the sale of debtor assets.