US vulture fund nets more than €1.5 billion on Northern Ireland loans

Promontoria Eagle collected €242m due from borrowers last year

Cerberus bought the loans, collectively called Project Eagle and worth around £4 billion, at a discount in April 2014 from Nama. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Cerberus bought the loans, collectively called Project Eagle and worth around £4 billion, at a discount in April 2014 from Nama. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

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New figures show that the US vulture fund that bought State assets agency Nama’s Northern Ireland property loans in a controversial deal had collected more than €1.5 billion from developers by the end of last year.

Promontoria Eagle, the company US fund Cerberus used to buy the loans for €1.6 billion, lost €19 million last year, according to annual returns it has just filed.

Notes to the accounts state that Promontoria Eagle collected £215.9 million (€242 million) due from borrowers, mainly boom-era property developers, last year.

Previous accounts show the Cerberus subsidiary had collected €1.29 billion up to the end of 2016, bringing the total by the end of last year to €1.53 billion.

It valued the remaining debt due from the borrowers on December 31st 2017 at £47.3 million.

Cerberus bought the loans, collectively called Project Eagle and worth around £4 billion, at a discount in April 2014 from Nama, giving it the right to seek the full repayment of the debts or take control of the properties against which they were secured.

The deal is the subject of a police investigation in Northern Ireland and a judicial inquiry, chaired by retired High Court judge John Cooke, in the Republic. The Dáil’s Public Accounts Committee also scrutinised the transaction two years ago.

During the inquiries, it emerged that former Nama adviser, Frank Cushnahan, was working for one of the bidders for the assets, another US company, Pimco.

Promontoria Eagle owns debts secured mostly on properties in Northern Ireland, Britain and continental Europe. Only a small proportion of them are tied to land in the Republic.

The loss recorded in the accounts the company has just filed relates mainly to a £12.8 million interest payment to its immediate parent company, another Cerberus subsidiary, based in the Netherlands, called Promontoria Holdings 83 BV.

The accounts show that it owed this company £22.7 million at the end of last year down from more than £264 million on December 31st 2016.

Promontoria Eagle borrowed £1.2 billion to buy the loans in 2014, £730 million from Japanese bank Nomura and the rest from Cerberus via the Dutch subsidiary.

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