The West

The "bad bank" set up by Ireland to buy toxic mortgages from the troubled banking sector says it has generated some 1.5 billion euros ($1.91 billion) from asset sales and loan repayments since June.

The state-run National Asset Management Agency, which was set up in 2009 following the near-collapse of Ireland's economy, said its total cash reserves stood at 9.5 billion euros ($12.11 billion) in mid-October.

"Perhaps the most important measure of NAMA's performance is cash-flow generation and this remains very strong," said NAMA chief executive Brendan McDonagh.

"The strong cash performance has enabled us to remain firmly on course to meet our debt repayment targets".

NAMA has acquired loans with a nominal value of 74 billion euros ($94.35 billion) at heavily discounted prices from banks and building societies, with the aim of getting the best return for the state over an expected lifetime of up to 10 years.

Its portfolio includes almost 10,000 apartments which are being rented, generating annual rents of some 100 million euros.

NAMA is dealing mainly with properties in Ireland, Britain, and Northern Ireland but others are scattered throughout the rest of the world.

Ireland's banks were heavily exposed when the nation's property bubble burst and house prices have almost halved over the last five years.

The Irish government had to seek an 85-billion-euro rescue package from the EU and the IMF in November 2010.

The country's once-proud Celtic Tiger economy, famed for its double-digit growth for a decade from the mid-1990s, has contracted sharply in recent years.

The West Australian

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