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Irish 'bad bank' NAMA raises forecast surplus to 4.5 billion euros

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DUBLIN (Reuters) -Ireland's state-run "bad bank" on Thursday raised the forecast surplus it expects to return to the state to 4.5 billion euros from 4.25 billion and said it hopes that figure will be higher again by the time it winds down by 2025.

Set up in 2009, the National Asset Management Agency (NAMA) used 32 billion euros of debt to rid lenders of 74 billion euros worth of risky property loans following a banking collapse. The government in turn had to then pour tens of billions of euros more into its ailing banks, some of which collapsed.

NAMA has sold almost all of those loans and assets over the last decade as demand for Irish real estate rebounded. It had a residual portfolio of 715 million euros at the end of 2021.

The agency, which was also mandated in 2015 to help tackle an ongoing housing supply shortage, said it had funded or facilitated the delivery of 24,400 homes by the end of May, above the 20,000 unit target set by government.

NAMA said it aims to deliver a further 1,800 units by the end of 2025 and maximise the number of sites that are shovel-ready for development, estimating that its remaining portfolio had the capacity for 16,600 more homes.

Chief Executive Brendan McDonagh said further construction cost inflation on top of recent significant rises could put the viability of building some of those 1,800 homes at risk, particularly as stringent state aid oversight from the European Commission meant any projects had to make sense commercially.

"If there does come a point and it's not quite there yet, but if construction costs continue to increase at such a level, will you get sales prices for them that will effectively cover the cost of building those houses?" he told a news conference.

(Reporting by Padraic Halpin; Editing by Kirsten Donovan and David Evans)

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