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Ireland's 'bad bank' sells Northern Ireland loans

By Padraic Halpin DUBLIN (Reuters) - Ireland's "bad bank" sold its entire portfolio of loans belonging to Northern Ireland-based debtors on Friday in its largest deal to date, cashing in on surging international demand. The loans, which had a par value of 4.5 billion pounds ($7.5 billion), were sold to affiliates of private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management, L.P. for more than the 1.3 billion pounds minimum reserve price, a source familiar with the operation told Reuters.

Spain to sell nationalised bank to Venezuela's Banesco

Venezuela's Banesco bank will buy 88.33 percent of nationalised Spanish bank NCG Banco for one billion euros ($1.34 billion), Spain's bank restructuring fund FROB said Wednesday. Banesco's offer beat five rival bids in the privatisation tender for the lender based in the northwestern region of Galicia, the fund said in a statement. Under the deal Banesco, controlled by billionaire Juan Carlos Escotet, will buy two portfolios of written-off loans. Banesco will pay 40 percent of the price when the sale closes and the rest in stages through 2018.

Irish property prices in first annual rise since crash

Residential property prices in Ireland have risen annually for the first time since a catastrophic crash five years ago sent the country spiraling towards financial disaster, official data showed Tuesday. "In the year to June, residential property prices at a national level, increased by 1.2 percent. This is the first annual increase since January 2008," the Central Statistics Office said in a statement. "It compares with an annual rate of decline of 1.1 percent in May and a decline of 14.4 percent recorded in the twelve months to June 2012," the CSO added.

S&P raises outlook on Ireland, says bailed-out nation ahead of expectations on managing debts

BELFAST, Northern Ireland - Standard and Poor's raised its outlook on Ireland and forecast Friday that the bailed-out country's debt levels could improve more quickly than expected as the export-focused economy recovers and government income grows. The ratings agency kept its risk grade on Irish debt securities at BBB+ but improved its outlook from stable to positive, suggesting a possible rating hike that would drive down Irish borrowing costs. S S

Europe's toxic property loan clean-up gathers pace

By Tom Bill LONDON, Jan 29 (Reuters) - Sales of European property loans will rise by about 15 percent to 25 billion euros ($34 billion) this year as Spain and Ireland speed the sale of unwanted and bad loans, confronting the extent of the real estate crash as they clear their books.

Farmers find Midas touch in Ireland's property crash

By Tom Bill LONDON/DUBLIN, Jan 18 (Reuters) - Land in Ireland earmarked for homes and offices is being sold at knockdown prices to farmers, sometimes the same farmers who made fortunes selling it in the boom years, as swathes of the country return to its agricultural roots. Irish lenders and the country's bad bank, the National Asset Management Agency (NAMA), are cranking up the sale of land to farmers as they accept some locations are dead to developers, even at bargain prices, property agents told Reuters.
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