MSREI strikes €220m NAMA deal

Brian Niles, head of Morgan Stanley Real Estate Investing in Europe, said the company was pleased to be ‘at the forefront’ in acquiring loan portfolios from Ireland’s National Asset Management Agency.

Ireland’s National Asset Management Agency of Ireland (NAMA), which has €31 billion of assets to unwind, has agreed to sell a loan portfolio to Morgan Stanley Real Estate Investing (MSREI), it was revealed this morning.

Though the value of the deal was undisclosed, it is understood the portfolio contains €220 million of loans. In a statement, Morgan Stanley said the loans were secured against a number of assets across the UK, with a particular concentration in London and Manchester. The assets consist of a mixture of income-producing properties and development sites.

Not many more details were disclosed by the parties to the deal, though Brian Niles, head of MSREI in Europe said the company was pleased to be at “the forefront in acquiring loan portfolios from NAMA”.

The deal was said to be an investment for the bank’s global opportunistic vehicle, Morgan Stanley Real Estate Fund (MSREF) VII Global, which recently got extended.

NAMA, which recently reorganised and has appointed a raft of advisors to accelerate the disposition of €31 billion of assets, appears to be stepping up its sales. It recently appointed receivers to Becbay Limited, a company that owns the 25-acre former Irish Glass Bottle site in Dublin. The site was bought at the top of the market by a consortium including Derek Quinlan, a well known figure of the Irish property diaspora, and The Dublin Docklands Development Authority, for €412 million. Becay recently valued the site at just €30 million according to 2010 accounts.

As PERE previously reported, not only are private equity real estate firms keen on buying Irish-banked property loans against UK and other overseas property, but some are also examining the potential to buy assets in Ireland itself. Hines, the Houston-based developer and real estate fund manager, opened an office in Dublin last year to be closer to the country’s banks.

One of the most recent deals linking NAMA with a private equity real estate firm arrived towards the end of last year when reports said pan European company, Orion Capital Managers, was in talks with NAMA regarding a €600 million portfolio. However, there has been no announcement of any such transaction having been agreed.

The Irish agency has been involved in some legal disputes, with borrowers trying to protect their interests. One example concerns a portfolio of properties owned by Treasury Holdings over which NAMA recently sought to appoint receivers.