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McInerney says NAMA 'essential' – I Ind

04 November 2011

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HOUSEBUILDER McInerney yesterday welcomed the establishment of the National Asset Management Agency (NAMA) and said it was essential to get the banks back lending if the housing market is to recover.

Speaking after the group's annual general meeting in Dublin yesterday, managing director Barry O'Connor declined to say how much of the group's debt might end up in NAMA, stating that at this stage the company did not know how the agency would work.

Finance director Enda Cunningham said the group, which has cut its debt by €47m in the past year, was in danger of breaching its banking covenants, but said if this happened it would be in a position to renegotiate its debts -- just as it was forced to do last year.

He said if things keep going as they are "we will be fine" but any further downturn could cause problems. "The banks do not give you much headroom," he explained.

NAMA was essential to get the banks back lending and McInerney depended on the availability of mortgage borrowing for its sales, Mr O'Connor said.