Nama spent almost €40m on legal fees

Tue, Jan 29, 2013, 00:00

The National Asset Management Agency paid almost €40 million in legal fees during the first 2½ years of its existence, with seven firms receiving more than €2 million from the toxic debt agency.

Legal fees totalling more than €10 million were expended by Nama in the first six months of last year, following on from annual totals of some €19.6 million in 2011 and €9.7 million in 2010.

Figures provided in response to a parliamentary question from Sinn Féin TD Mary Lou McDonald show that international firm Hogan Lovells received the largest sum, €4.068 million, from the agency, which has acquired some €74 billion worth of bad property loans connected to some 850 developers from five participating institutions since it was established.

The State’s largest legal firm, Arthur Cox, which received almost €1 million in fees for advice in the lead-up to the establishment of Nama, has received more than €3.7 million in legal fees from the agency. Arthur Cox Northern Ireland has received a further €488,000.

Legal earnings

International legal firms Maples and Calder, Allen and Overy and AL Goodbody have been paid more than €2.5 million each by Nama since the beginning of 2010. AL Goodbody’s Northern Irish wing received a further €32,000.

Irish firm McCann Fitzgerald has received more than €2.4 million for its work with the agency, while Matheson was paid €2.1 million.

The remaining firms in the top 10 were William Fry (€1.89 million), Byrne Wallace (€1.72 million) and Eversheds O’Donnell Sweeney (€1.51 million)

Among the places where Nama engaged legal services were the Czech Republic, Portugal, Malta, France, Germany, Belgium, the Isle of Man, Spain, British Virgin Islands, Poland and Jersey.

The payments are calculated under three separate headings – due diligence on loan acquisitions (€14.8 million), borrower recoverable costs (€11.5 million) and ongoing legal costs (€13.1 million).

Nama said that legal due diligence costs were recovered from financial institutions through a reduction in the acquisition value of properties and that a further €3.6 million had been recovered from borrowers. The due diligence work had yielded savings of some €477 million on loans acquired, the agency said.

Last year, A L Goodbody, Arthur Cox, McCann Fitzgerald and William Fry won contracts to provide additional corporate legal services advice to the agency.

The original tender precluded firms with a turnover of less than €25 million from applying for the contract, as the agency said that helped assess the capacity of a tenderer to meet its obligations and potential liabilities. Nama received eight tenders for the contract. It has not revealed the value of the deal, which was for “general advice on the internal workings of the agency”.

Top 10 firms: Biggest earners

€4.068m

Hogan Lovells International

€3.722m

Arthur Cox

€2.54m

Maples Calder

€2.537m

Allen Overy LLP

€2.508m

AL Goodbody

€2.42m

McCann Fitzgerald

€2.135m

Matheson (Matheson Ormbsy Prentice)

€1.888m

William Fry

€1.723m

Byrne Wallace

€1.511m

Eversheds O’Donnell Sweeney