PTSB preps final Irish loan sale

Permanent TSB is preparing its remaining €900m of Irish so-called non-core loans for sale in a single portfolio in the coming months.

Dubbed Project Connaught the portfolio is understood to be largely made up of hundreds of commercial property loans and buy-to-let mortgages – in many cases the loans are thought to be either non-performing or in negative equity.

Analysts had expected to see a new Permanent TSB sale within weeks. However, the bank is understood to be combing the loans for any hidden value – including any assets that have recovered in value thanks to recent property market moves – before signing-off on a sale process which is tipped by market sources to come at a steep discount to the face value of the loans.

Financial results published last week by the bank suggest the remaining Irish non-performing loans have a net value of around €600m.

An auction process is still expected before the summer, as the bailed-out bank continues shedding non-core assets rapidly.

It confirmed the sale of loans with a face value of €5bn last week, including its Munster and Leinster Irish non-core portfolios sold to a consortium led by Deutsche Bank.

Those two Irish portfolios had a combined face value of €1.5bn, but a net value at the time of the sale of just €800m, the Irish Independent has learned.

In contrast the CHL book of UK residential mortgage loans the bank has also agreed to sell to US private equity firm Cerberus had a gross and a net value of €3.5bn, the bank said in a presentation to investors.

That valuation has been boosted by a massive €300m since the start of this year by the sharp fall in the value of the euro against sterling, according to the same presentation.

With €3bn in gross value of British loans also earmarked for sale this year by the bank, any further weakening of the euro could dramatically improve Permanent TSB’s recovery on the loans.

The bank said it will look to sell the UK loans at a discount to gross value of “no more” than 10pc.

Permanent TSB is halfway through a process of shedding non-core assets that it aims to complete by the end of this year.

The sales, once completed, will result in a slimmed-down Ireland-only retail bank targeted at mortgages, credit cards and consumer lending.

Irish Independent

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