February 9, 2012 / 8:01 PM / in 7 years

Ireland's NAMA sees property prices stabilising

* State-run “bad bank” to market funds based on property portfolios

* Says sees growing interest from international investors

* Has approved asset sales of 7 billion euros since launch

DUBLIN, Feb 9 (Reuters) - Ireland’s state-run National Asset Management Agency (NAMA) expects commercial property prices to stabilise this year as it prepares to package assets into investment funds to tap growing interest from foreign investors, its chairman said on Thursday.

One of the world’s largest property groups, created to purge Irish banks of 74 billion euros ($98 billion) of risky land and development loans, NAMA has approved asset sales of 7 billion euros since it was launched in March 2010.

Irish commercial property prices have fallen by around 65 percent since their peak in 2007.

“There is strong reason to expect that commercial prices will stabilise this year,” Chairman Frank Daly said in a speech in Dublin, predicting a series of tax breaks in the Irish budget in December would give the market a “substantial boost”.

The agency is targeting a 1 billion euro profit over its 7- to 10-year lifetime through asset sales and is working with property developers to ensure viable projects get off the ground.

Daly said NAMA had registered growing overseas interest in acquiring prime office and retail properties in Dublin and was planning to collect properties into so-called Qualifying Investor Funds to market to investors.

NAMA will acquire the assets from receivers or debtors then package them in various combinations which can then be sold, Daly said.

The agency, whose assets range from skyscrapers in London to farmland in the Irish countryside, will then assemble sub-portfolios based on asset types or geographical region to market to investors.

Daly, speaking to the Dublin Chamber of Commerce, also defended NAMA against widespread criticism in the Irish media over its lack of transparency.

“I do not have to tell you how absurd your negotiating position would become if the parties with whom you are negotiating had full sight of your hand of cards. This would be commercial madness,” he said.

Daly said NAMA has secured 381 million euros of additional security following negotiations with debtors and expected to increase that to 500 million euros.

It has secured pledges of 221 million euros of unencumbered assets from debtors and 160 million by reversing transfers of asset by debtors to family members and other interested parties.

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