REFILE-Lloyds sells $2.3 bln Irish loans at 90 percent discount

Tue Nov 20, 2012 5:31am EST

By Laura Noonan

LONDON Nov 19 (Reuters) - British banking group Lloyds has taken a 90 percent loss on 1.47 billion pounds ($2.3 billion) of troubled Irish real estate loans after selling them to Apollo Global Management.

The sale for 149 million pounds will not have a material impact because the value of the loans had been largely written down previously, Lloyds said on Monday.

The end of a property market bubble in Ireland saw commercial real estates prices fall two thirds.

Lloyds has provided for losses of 66.8 percent on its troubled Irish wholesale loans book - which would have included the loans just sold, its first-half results showed. The rate for the loans sold on Monday was higher than that average, it said.

A spokesman would not say whether the provisions taken on the 1.47 billion pound portfolio were as high as the discount given to the buyer.

U.S. firm Apollo would not comment on the deal.

Lloyds, which traded under the Halifax brand in Ireland, has pulled out of the country and has been using a third party set up by its former Irish management to work out the remaining loan book.

It shrunk its Irish loan book by 1.9 billion pounds in the first half largely as a result of disposals. After that, Lloyds had 16.1 billion pounds of wholesale, largely property-related Irish loans and 6.7 billion of retail loans - mostly mortgages.

The Irish loan book was cut by another 1.1 billion pounds in the third quarter, Lloyds said in a Nov. 1 trading update.

Royal Bank of Scotland's Ulster Bank has also sold off sizable portfolios of Irish loans, while Ireland's National Asset Management Agency, a so-called bad bank, is keen to find buyers for loans on its books.

Created to purge banks of 74 billion euros of property-related loans, NAMA is one of the world's largest property groups having acquired assets ranging from London skyscrapers to Irish farmland.