Irish taxpayers are facing potential losses of $500 million dollars in toxic loans that the government bank, the National Assets Management Agency or NAMA has taken over.
It was originally thought the takeover could eventually benefit the Irish taxpayer to the tune of over $7 billion euros when the properties and loans were eventually sold and paid off.
That seems unlikely now. To date NAMA has taken $20 billion worth of bad loans on their books from the banks but the loans are in a far worse state than was originally predicted. Another $100 billion in bad loans are expected to eventually come on their books
Only about 20 per cent of the loans are said to be delivering any income stream , half the percentage that the NAMA experts first predicted.
Sources told the Irish Times the agency was "shocked" at the scale of the repayment problems it has encountered on the loans.
Many of Ireland's leading developers have placed their properties with NAMA. They include such big names as Bernard McNamara; Liam Carroll, Seán Mulryan of Ballymore Properties, Johnny Ronan and Richard Barrett of Treasury Holdings and Gerry Gannon.
Among the poor performing properties the state has inherited are the Glass Bottle site at Ringsend, which was bought by a consortium for $550 million, and is now reckoned to be worth just over 10 per cent of that figure; and Battersea Power Station in London, which was bought for $800 million in 2006 with Bank of Ireland loaning about €140 million towards its purchase. It is now believed to be worth a fraction of that.
Nama will release its business plan this week and it will say that it expects to be in business for at least ten years.