CarVal wins Friends Life’s Irish loans in Magenta sale

CarVal Investors has purchased Friends Life Finance’s remaining €240m mixed loan book in Ireland. The US alternative investment manager paid between €40m and €50m for the portfolio in a public auction process dubbed Project Magenta. Irish commercial real estate loans, secured mostly against operating business-backed real estate, make up about 25% of the portfolio, which has a €240m aggregated unpaid balance.

It also includes some asset-backed leasing contracts and loans to wealthy individuals. Friends First Finance is the Irish financing business of Dutch insurer Achmea, which has slowly exited the market. It also focused on consumer finance. CarVal’s servicing partner on the loans will be Billy Kane’s Everyday Loans.

CarVal also buys consumer and residential portfolios so “it was an obvious fit”, said James Sackett, MD responsible for managing CarVal’s European loan investments. Last month, the firm bought a €250m Irish non-performing loan portfolio – Project Club – from NAMA for around €70m. Club’s loans are secured on a portfolio of retail investments and development sites formerly owned by Eamonn Duignan.

That followed CarVal’s €95m acquisition of Lloyds’ Irish nonperforming loan portfolio Project Pittsburgh, which had a €380m face value. This month Costar reported that NAMA has agreed another loan sale, Project Holly, which will see Lone Star buy €373m of loans to Sean Reillys’ McGarrell Reilly Group for around €220m.