Lloyds Banking Group to sell $4.6 bln in Ireland leisure assets

Ireland's Delata closed out 2014 with the $560-million acquisition of the Moran Bewley's Hotel group, but that transaction is about to be dwarfed by the scheme cooked up by the Lloyds Banking Group.

According to Hospitality Ireland, the British financial institution is unloading a number of its high-profile hotel and leisure assets, seeking to sell €4.2 billion (or US $4.68 billion) in legacy loans connected with Ireland. This is one of the largest sales of a real estate portfolio since the financial crash in 2008.

Lloyds Banking is calling the move "Project Poseidon," and will serve to dispose of a large remnant of the Bank of Scotland's former operations in ireland. Of the 3,500 customers and 5,000 loans connected to the portfolio, multiple hotels are also attached, including Dublin's Regency Hotel and the Lyrath Estate Hotel in Kilkenny.

The Irish Times reported that Lloyds' loan portfolio in Ireland has been reduced over the past few years after the closure of the Bank of Scotland in Ireland and Halifax. These latest loans are expected to sell at a large discount, despite asset prices in Ireland recovering over the last 18 months.

Other financial groups are also investigating large asset sales in Ireland, one of them being Ulster Bank, a subsidiary of the Royal Bank of Scotland. Ulster is preparing to sell a portfolio worth €2.5 billion (US $2.79 billion) of rented and commercial property loans. Additional, the National Asset Management Agency is formulating what it calls "Project Arrow," which seeks to sell an €8.4 billion (US $9.36 billion) portfolio of approximately 500 debtor loans.