Irish non-performing loans are Forum’s next target

Forum Partners plans to start investing in non-performing Irish property loans. The real estate private equity firm hopes to achieve a deep discount on a €350m mixed portfolio of small loans being sold by Ireland’s National Asset Management Agency.

Forum chief executive officer Russell Platt said: “The properties have been valued at €100m and the loans’ selling price will be somewhere south of that.” Forum has bought eight loan portfolios in Europe so far, in the UK and Germany, with a combined face value of €1.1bn.

It invests via its current fund, European Realty Income Fund III, or with equity partners, and is talking to investors about forming a club to buy loans. Fund III owns Crown Mortgage Management, which services £3.8bn of UK and German loans and co-invests in non-performing loans.

Forum has taken on Enda Farrell as its representative in Ireland, who is moving to the buy side from NAMA and has also worked for Ireland’s National Pensions Reserve Fund. Platt said that Farrell would create products for investment in Ireland and help Crown build a loan servicing business for Irish banks.

“We are finding interest from the US in Ireland as well as from  Euro-based investors looking for recovery without some of the uncertainty surrounding Spain, Portugal and Greece,” Platt said.

Separately, Fund III has increased by £10m its investment in UK industrial developer Roxhill. Meanwhile, Forum’s global property securities affiliate, Connecticut-based Forum Securities, has appointed Doug Funke from BeachStreet Capital as portfolio manager.