JLL poised to win RBS Ulster loans pitch

Royal Bank of Scotland is expected to announce that it has appointed Jones Lang LaSalle to advise on its Ulster Bank non-performing property loan portfolio. RBS had invited JLL to pitch for the instruction along with CBRE, DTZ and Savills.

The Irish book is one of the bank’s most pressing problems. In February, RBS said it had taken another £2.2bn of losses on property in Ulster Bank last year. Overall losses at the Irish bank since 2008 have been more than £10bn.

One source close to the pitch said: “The question now is, will they go down the Project Isobel route of a loan sale, or sell a portfolio or sub portfolios? “And how much demand is there for a mixed commercial and residential portfolio in Ireland?”

At the Commercial Real Estate Finance Council Europe Spring conference last month, two speakers from RBS made it clear that loan sales were the bank’s least favoured option and it considered the cost of capital of private equity debt buyers was too high.

Rajesh Sivaraman, who worked on the Project Isobel loans that were transferred into a joint venture with Blackstone, said the bank prefers to sell property rather than loans where possible.