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Ulster Bank’s €1.1 billion sell-off

Loans tied to Independent News & Media’s headquarters, upmarket homes in Belfast and Dublin, and properties backed by developer, Paddy McKillen feature in a €1.1 billion debt portfolio that Ulster Bank and its parent have just put up for sale.

Dubbed “project Achill” it will be the biggest portfolio of loans that Ulster and its parent, Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), have put on the block as part of their efforts to clear their books of boom-era property debt.

Almost 83% of the portfolio by value is Irish, with English and Scottish loans making up the balance. Some of the properties to which the debts relate include Independent House on Talbot Street in Dublin, the offices of newspaper group Independent News & Media. The newspaper’s building forms part of pool A, project Achill’s biggest subdivision, which is made up of 22 loans, half of which are non-performing, with a total face value of €511 million. That pool also includes Blackrock Business Park in Dublin and Exchange House in Belfast. Alongside those sits a €49.7 million loan to developer Bernard Carroll that falls due at the end of next year.

In all, project Achill has six pools. Only pool A has a mix of borrowers, the other five relate to a single debtor. Ulster Bank would not comment yesterday to the Irish Times.

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