UK investors buying stake in Nama

UK investors are to buy part of a holding company used to keep the Irish Republic's 'bad bank', from appearing on the country's balance sheet.

The National Asset Management Agency was created to purge Irish banks of 74bn euros (£60bn) of problem loans.

Nama conducts much of its business through the National Asset Management Agency Investment Ltd.

This allows the government to take its debt off the state's balance sheet for EU accounting purposes.

A company owned by the partners of UK-based investment firm Walbrook Capital have agreed to buy a 17% stake in the special purpose vehicle.

The NAMAIL shareholding had previously been held by state-owned insurer Irish Life, but the government's recent purchase of Irish Life risked then making NAMAIL majority state-controlled.

Two other private entities, New Ireland Assurance Co. plc and Percy Nominees Ltd, also each own 17% of the vehicle.

NAMA itself owns the other 49 percent.

Investors in NAMAIL are not liable for losses the agency may make over its lifetime.

A spokesman for NAMA declined to comment on what returns the shareholders might expect to make on their investments.