Thursday, April 1, 2010

Requirement to boost capital of Irish banks is a huge challenge.

NAMA_LOGO5 The nation recoils, stunned, by the scale of the NAMA enterprise.   It is interesting to reflect on the scale of additional capital needed by the five banks and building societies that are NAMA clients.  Collectively, NAMA clients’ require additional capital of  €21.8 billion by Christmas, with Anglo Irish Bank accounting for €8.3 billion of this.  This is to be provided by the State as will €3.2 billion needed by the two building societies.  But AIB and Bank of Ireland have to find €10.1 billion by Christmas.

The market capitalisation of all the companies quoted on The Irish Stock Exchange is just shy of €130 billion today.  This figure includes relatively large market capitalisation in CRH €13.2 billion, Diageo €31.2 billion, Tesco €31.1 billion and Tullow Oil €12.4 billion.

The market capitalisation of AIB is €1.05 billion and this bank requires an additional €7.4 billion.  Bank of Ireland has a market capitalisation of €1.6 billion and requires additional capital of €2.7 billion.  Irish Life & Permanent Holdings Plc, which is not a NAMA client, has a market capitalisation of €808 million.  This is the bank which coughed up €7.5 billion that distorted the balance sheet of Anglo Irish Bank on 30 September 2008.

The cumulative loan book of the five NAMA clients and Permanent TSB is over €400 billion and this includes loans made in Ireland and elsewhere.  Approximately €100 billion of the €147.2 billion of residential mortgages in Ireland is attributable to these six institutions.  This is a phenomenal scale of indebtedness and must be seen in the context of housing trends in Ireland over the past decade.

A recent UCD study of residential vacancy levels showed that there were over 345,000 vacant housing units in the country.  Allowing for 64,520 holiday homes which are vacant from time to time and a standard 5% vacancy rate which is the norm and that approximately 10,000 houses are obsolete, there are still over 170,000 vacant houses in the country that fall into the ‘exceptional’ character.

Outstanding private sector credit in Ireland, according to the latest data from the Central Bank is €365.5 billion.  It had exceeded €400 billion in October and November 2008.  While the overall level of private sector credit has been somewhat reduced, the amount of mortgage credit outstanding has remained stubbornly high – close to €148 billion since September 2008 when the Irish banking crisis exploded.

Real estate indebtedness if north of €95 billion while the construction sector owes a further €19 billion.  Agriculture and forestry owe €5.3 billion.  The manufacturing sector owes €7.8 billion. The hotel and restaurant sector, which apparently has 15,000 room in excess of accommodation demand owes €11.2 billion.

Where is the additional capital to come from when all of these circumstances are taken into account.  How many decades will it take for the Irish economy to experience a positive charge?  Comments about the collapse of Lehman Brothers and Bear Sterns are comparable to describing a hurricane in the Caribbean.  The damage inflicted on the Irish economy is due to delinquency closer to home and those who inflicted this might have the courage to own up to it.

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