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Irish asset management agency considers launch of QIFs to offload assets

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IRELAND - Ireland's National Asset Management Agency (NAMA) is to set up one or several Qualified Investor Funds (QIFs) in an effort to sell the billions of properties currently on its books.

The agency, set up in the wake of the financial crisis to deal with €71bn of property loan assets belonging to Irish debtors, has so far managed to sell €6.2bn in assets.

Outlining its goals for the current year, NAMA said it would adopt an active strategy and launch a panel to assist its sale of the loans, as well as look to "establish mechanisms" to help it attract overseas investors - citing QIFs as one potential option.

Last week, the agency published a request for proposal, stating: "NAMA, as promoter, is seeking proposals for the provision of investment management services for a Qualified Investment Fund."

Interested parties have until 6 March to submit their proposals, with the established QIFs likely to acquire units held by NAMA but now controlled by receivers.

It also reiterated its support for vendor finance of as much as 70%, aiming to attract commercial investors to its holdings.

"With financial institutions reluctant to underwrite lending to property, NAMA's initiative is intended to address the serious liquidity constraints faced by the commercial market over recent years," it said.

The proposal to offer institutional investors as much as 70% of funding was first announced by chief executive Brendan McDonagh in late October last year.

The government agency said these activities would optimise its cash flow, allowing it to target a loan payment of 25% on its debts by the end of 2013 - a payment of €7.5bn.

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