Nama to shift €2bn of expected €4bn surplus to exchequer

Agency set to deliver first tranche in second half of 2020

The National Asset Management Agency (Nama) will transfer the first €2 billion of an expected €4 billion surplus to the exchequer later this year.

In its latest end-of-year review, the agency – established to assume property debts of Irish banks after the financial crash – confirmed it would deliver the first tranche of surplus in the second half of 2020.

Nama was due to be wound up in 2021 after it had finished getting a return for the State from the loans. But this has now been extended until 2025.

It said it expected to repay the last chunk of subordinated debt (€1.06 billion) on its books in March, paving the way for the release of half its expected €4 billion surplus to the exchequer.


Nama said that by the end of 2020 it will have “extinguished” all its debt obligations. This stood at €31.8 billion at inception in 2009 (comprising €30.2 billion senior debt, the last of which was redeemed in 2017– three years ahead of schedule – and €1.6 billion in subordinated debt).

The review shows the agency has generated €45.3 billion in 10 years of operations largely from asset and loan sales as well as rental receipts from properties controlled by debtors and receivers. This includes €1.3 billion in 2019.

In 2015, the agency was tasked with delivering 20,000 houses and apartments by 2020 under a plan to help the State deal with the housing crisis.

On this score it said more than 16,800 homes have been directly or indirectly delivered through Nama funding.

This comprised 11,700 units funded directly by Nama and 5,100 units completed on sites sold by Nama debtors or receivers which benefitted from Nama asset management and/or funding relating to planning and enabling works or legal and holding costs.

The agency has also delivered more than 2,600 social housing units to local authorities and approved housing bodies.

In its review, Nama also reported “significant progress” in facilitating the delivery of commercial office space and residential units in the Dublin Docklands Strategic Development Zone (SDZ), which, on completion, will deliver 4.2 million square feet of commercial space and 2,183 residential units across 15 original Nama-related sites.

What about Poolbeg West SDZ?

By December 2019, less than 30 per cent of Nama’s interest in the Dublin Docklands remains under construction, with the other 70 per cent now complete or sold, it said.

The agency also noted that it had commenced the process of seeking an investment partner for the development – a large portion of the Poolbeg West SDZ which has potential to deliver 3,500 residential units and one million square feet of commercial space.

"[The year] 2020 will bring significant new milestones for Nama," newly installed chairman Aidan Williams said. Mr Williams took over from long-standing Nama chairman Frank Daly late last year.

“ We will redeem the last of our remaining subordinated debt and our private equity obligations and, in the second half of 2020, commence the payment of our terminal surplus to the exchequer,” he said.

Chief executive Brendan McDonagh said 2019 had been a successful and notable year for the agency while noting its projected terminal surplus had increased from €3.5 billion to €4 billion.

Eoin Burke-Kennedy

Eoin Burke-Kennedy

Eoin Burke-Kennedy is Economics Correspondent of The Irish Times