National Asset Management Agency

Re: National Asset Management Agency

Postby garethace » Sun Aug 23, 2009 11:02 am

I could be wrong on this but my interpretation is that the oil refinery known formerly as Whiddy Island can take quite large vessels.


There were numerous locations looked at around Ireland's long coastline, some with excellent berthing facilities. Also they have land banks attached to them, which would solve the problem of having to sterilize land around the storage facility from a development point of view.

The constraining factor with many favourable sites though, is the road infrastructure from those sites to the main centre of consumption in the country - Dublin. A pipeline from Whitegate refinery in Waterford is another option, with the possible sterilisation of land somewhere west of the capital city. But the prospect of shipping large quantities of oil from Whiddy Island to Dublin by road or possibly rail doesn't look economical or environmentally feasible.

When you weigh up a lot of factors, a location for oil storage somewhere at Dublin port is still the best option. A full debate needs to happen about this though. That is one of the reasons why it is useful to have the Greens in government or represented in the Dail. Because they are good at this longer time frame kinds of issues. Especially, given the fact that in Ireland most voters worry about the potholes in front of their own house entrance when they go to polling stations.

The man who fixes those potholes is normally the man who gets a seat in Kildare street. The man who ensures the pothole stays fixed, stays in even longer. Jackie Healy Rae perfected this strategy. He pay even hold patents on his invention, I don't know. But it works time and time again.

It is time now that Ireland grew up a small bit. Otherwise we could find ourselves paying a toll charge simply to bring oil into the critical Dublin market. The whole oil business is being run on a shoe string in this country at the moment. An overall strategy is required. It is too vulnerable to attack by outside investment. You only have to look at the state of the telecommunications industry in Ireland to understand what I mean.

That is my major concern about Liam Carroll's Irish Ferries shares. They represent a considerable 'bargaining chip' in solving the situation longer term, in a 'best value' way for Ireland. The government must move to tie them up, before they fall into the wrong hands again. It is ten times more important than a national airline at the moment. A national airline is a symbol of a country's pride in itself for sure. But Michael O'Leary would be willing to provide capital for the national airline, if the government is short of money to resolve the Dublin port situation.

We proved on the M50 the limitations of the public-private partnership process, as far as strategic development of the capital is concerned. We still have Dublin Airport Authority making the lion's share with retail rents and airport charges. That would remain in the Irish taxpayer's full control. I cannot see why Ireland should have to pay toll charges to import it's own oil. That is what sickens me.

Along with the fact that Dublin Docklands authority put some much of their money into the Ringsend bottle factory site.

I know that 'oil and fossil fuels' aren't the Green's cup of tea, but I believe Eamon Ryan can see the bigger picture - globally, not only on a national scale. As price per barrel rises, Ireland will go further afield, even to South America if necessary to source its supply. That will of course add to shipping costs. (which are minimal at the moment, as it comes from the west coast of Britain) Shipping costs would be offset if possible, by the use of larger tankers.

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Re: National Asset Management Agency

Postby KerryBog2 » Sun Aug 23, 2009 11:04 am

jimg wrote:I thought I had been pretty clear in what policies I support; which are mainly modeled on the Swedish response. .................


jimg,
I agree with much of your comments but disagree with the above. I can see why some would make a comparison with Sweden – they too had a one-party in control of government for about 80% of the past 70 years, had a financial crisis, are heavily reliant on exports, etc. However, in my opinion this is a narrow view and overlooks a key point.

The real reason why Sweden got out of its economic mess was the devaluation of the krona that happened when in 1992 the krona broke from being pegged to the ecu. Within 10 years or so their effective exchange rate depreciated by more than 30%. This gave the competitiveness of Swedish exporters a huge boost, and broadly speaking allowed them to double their exports figure with a commensurate positive knock-on effect on the national economy.

Ireland is in the Eurozone and cannot devalue. Furthermore, we cannot leave because the Euro & Eurozone are the key factors for the existence of current foreign investment here and in the decision process for future investment.
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Re: National Asset Management Agency

Postby garethace » Sun Aug 23, 2009 11:11 am

I'm not sure how much I want to write about the subject here as I don't believe that there is a big audience on this messageboard for somewhat technical discussion involving finance, business and economics and so it feels like the effort is wasted and I don't have Brian O'Hanlon's stamina.


Believe me, Brian O' Hanlon doesn't have Brian O' Hanlon's stamina left either.

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Re: National Asset Management Agency

Postby garethace » Sun Aug 23, 2009 11:15 am

The real reason why Sweden got out of its economic mess was the devaluation of the krona that happened when in 1992 the krona broke from being pegged to the ecu. Within 10 years or so their effective exchange rate depreciated by more than 30%. This gave the competitiveness of Swedish exporters a huge boost, and broadly speaking allowed them to double their exports figure with a commensurate positive knock-on effect on the national economy.


Excellent point. I am glad that you mentioned it. I think that 'fine tuning' of monetary policy was one of the key elements missing in the Ireland economy for the past 5-6 years.

I wondered why Saabs suddenly became available to so many people. Architects in particular. I would like to drive one some day, even if only for a spin.

Is there any product that Ireland sells to a market, you can say that about today?

Ireland is in the Eurozone and cannot devalue. Furthermore, we cannot leave because the Euro & Eurozone are the key factors for the existence of current foreign investment here and in the decision process for future investment.


That is the larger question to my mind. The question that should have been asked a few years ago and debated fully. We will still have to ask that crucial question today. Even though our reluctance to grapple with it in 2002, has now left us all in a weaker position to deal with the question.

I don't have the answer, I don't even understand the politics, economics or social consequences well enough. But if nothing else happened, except that the present or next government deals with this issue, I would be a much happier and relieved Irish man.

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Re: National Asset Management Agency

Postby garethace » Sun Aug 23, 2009 11:30 am

The crisis in Irish retail banking has nothing at all to do with any of: sub-prime lending, derivatives, liquidity or the global credit markets. No Irish retail bank has had any exposure to the sort of credit derivatives that wrecked the balance sheets of Lehman's, AIG, UBS and the rest.


I want to say something on that particular point. I spoke to a very 'loud' person last December while drinking Amstel and eating hot dogs at a school fund raising fete. He is an extraordinarily knowledge bloke. There as a Dept. of Environment guys present too, and a director on the Dublin Docklands Authority. You could say, a quite informed bunch all round. Everyone seemed at the time to attach the Irish problems, to the chaos happening globally. It was asserted by the 'loud' fellow in particular, because he knew fellow professionals in Iceland, that what saved Ireland was being in the Eurozone.

All in all, you could understand that in December 2008, no one in Ireland fully understood what was afoot. The Anglo scandal hadn't even broken fully at the time, and the Northwall Quay project had only been stopped a week or two before hand. But the picture since then, that has developed in my mind, is that Ireland's problems have very little to do with the global chaos of mid to late 2008.

Increasingly, I am aware that Ireland's problems are of her own making. I am glad that someone else points that out. I am no expert, but I wish to insert one caveat. That Ireland's plan to enter the Eurozone should have been better administered in cooperation with the European central bank. This puts my friends comments, about Iceland, while drinking Amstel and eating hot dogs in a much, much different light I believe. It is not so much, that Ireland was 'saved' by being in the Eurozone. Rather than Ireland placed herself into difficult waters and hopefully not on the rocks altogether, because of a failure to recognise what being in the Eurozone meant for our tiny island.

Not having central banking control over all the Irish banking institutions meant that the Irish banks exercised enormous and unprecedented control over the Irish money supply. Mainly, by means of a back door - by creating and building up the mythology - that Irish property developers were solvent and worth potentially so much. That is the sorry admission that Ireland is finding it difficult to come to.

It has to start with the top - with Brian Cowen, Brian Lenihan and those in government. We need to go back to the ECB and draft a proper strategy for the future. This is more important at the moment, even than Lisbon is, from Ireland's point of view. Maybe a successful Lisbon vote will improve our abililty to do this. I don't have a clue.

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Re: National Asset Management Agency

Postby garethace » Sun Aug 23, 2009 11:52 am

The government is about to pay between 4 and 10 billion in order to ensure that all the people who joined this particular pyramid scheme get their promised payout. The bill for this largess is to be met by future tax-payers. This is not only unjust, it is very bad policy. I'm not a Keynesian by any means but spending this 4 to 10 billion on infrastructure would do far more to maintain activity in the economy than using it to pay off shareholders and bond holders who had been paid handsomely previously for shouldering risk.


Exactly.

We only require €230 million, depending on the price of steel to build national oil reserve facilities.

€130 will buy a controlling interest in the land bank required at Dublin port. (Before a Dutch oil and gas company nabs that from under our nose)

Another hundred million would build the berthing facilites required to accomodate a large size of tanker in Dublin port, in case we ever had to go as far afield as South America to source our product.

We can fix the broken railway bridge up in Malahide as part of the same tender package!

I seriously expect minister Eamon Ryan to display some steel now and allocate a few hundred million in the right area, before we set about spending €90 billion in the wrong area.

This is the least the Green party should demand on behalf of Irish citizens in exchange for support of NAMA bill. The Greens hold the right cards now. All they have to do is ask.

I am biased of course, because I am hoping to extend Zoe a life line. (It has used up it's other nine)

Having said this, I believe the national payments and clearing systems must be protected almost at any cost; any threat to the workings of ATM machines, cheque clearing, direct debits and the like could destroy the wider economy. Secondly - and this is a little more painful - I would offer blanket protection to deposit holders for much the same reason. Beyond these imperatives, I see no reason to pour 10s of billions of tax-payers money into maintaining these failed businesses.


Correct, that is why I see the security of Ireland's oil supply as being an issue that the government could deal with in parallel, rather than separate, from dealing with Ireland's money/credit supply problems.

One or the other will eventually cripple this small island economy of ours, if now dealt with sufficiently by government. The Irish stock market never had this concern on its agenda. More is the pity. As George Soros once said, markets themselves need protection in other to survive and do what it is markets do.

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Re: National Asset Management Agency

Postby PVC King » Sun Aug 23, 2009 3:26 pm

The US built up large strategic reserves almost by accident; the Oklahoma oil fields dried up and they were left with a large number of storage facilities used in the production process which they were in a position to use for storage. In sustainability terms the US is not a good model and the concept energy security means a lot more to them as the distances that they need to move their freight are a multiple of those required here. Their dependence on oil is likely to fall dramatically in light of the recent restructuring of the Detroit motor offer spearheaded by the new Volt car which makes the Pious look very sinful.

Annual consumption of Oil in Ireland is some 9m tonnes or 71m barrels of oil roughly equivelent to a weeks supply in Russia or Saudi; or put another way about 35 tankers.

The existing storage facility at Whiddy Island has a capacity of 8.5m barrels or about six weeks supply. There are some interesting points in Colm Rapple's article below. http://colmrapple.com/?p=34

Maybe rapeseed could be the way to go as it guarantees local production, employment for farmers and hits the green box. What I can't see happening is the Green Party shelling out the $5.4bn it would cost to fill a years supply into storage tanks.

However if land were provided together with development consent were forthcoming possibly one of the global investment banks might set up a fund to build tanks for use in exploiting seasonal movements in oil / pertroleum markets such as driving season and November heating oil spikes. Just make sure where ever it is proposed for there are no Maura Harrington's living close by!
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Re: National Asset Management Agency

Postby garethace » Sun Aug 23, 2009 3:57 pm

Maybe rapeseed could be the way to go as it guarantees local production, employment for farmers and hits the green box. What I can't see happening is the Green Party shelling out the $5.4bn it would cost to fill a years supply into storage tanks.


There is something to do with refinement technology required for biofuels, which will push it out beyond 2025, as I understand from the Feb '09 published report on security of oil supply. While biofuel is of course part of the solution, it will not come into play before 2025 at least.

It is a bit like the rubbish incineration project at Poolbeg. They are still trying to define what are 'acceptable emissions' and how much rubbish can actually be burned. While this is on-going, construction of the project will only drag on longer.

90 days worth of oil storage is what the published report suggested. That was part of the reports objective, to work out the optimal amount of oil storage required. That is where the €230 figure for tankage comes from, which has been verified by preliminary tenders. Of course, you are correct, you still have to fill something into those tanks and carefully manage them. I could forsee that would be done by an international operator and considerable insurance money etc would be involved. It is unclear though whether the National Oil Reserves Agency, NORA, would buy or simply lease the tankage required.

90 days worth of oil was deemed sufficient in the report to allow completely un-interupted working of the Irish economy, until such time as alternative arrangements were found, or the global oil supply shock event was over. But having the supplies on the island and getting it as fast and as cheaply as possible to the main Dublin market seems to be the key driver. The trouble with refinement of the crude oil product at Whitegate (which would mean upgrading of that plant also) would still mean, the heavier product would have to be exported out of Whitegate back to another market somewhere else. We would be left with it on our hands. The idea of having the national oil reserve, is to buy already refined, though more volatile product elsewhere and transport that to Ireland for long term storage.

There is an option to bring it in at Dublin port, though the jetty there still isn't the right size for larger tankers, and pipe the fuel underground along the canal on the north side of Dublin city, to a sterilized land site somewhere on the west of Dublin city. But you are still talking about some facilities in Dublin port, if not locating all of the tankage required there. All I wish to emphasise though, is you read in the Irish newspapers that Zoe developments cannot find a 'buyer' for its Irish continental group shares. I find that really, really odd to be quite honest. It is more than enough to dig them out of the hole with ACC bank and get them back in business as an ordinary building/development company again. The only thing they were good at doing in the first place.

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Re: National Asset Management Agency

Postby garethace » Sun Aug 23, 2009 5:44 pm

Jon Ihle in the Sunday Tribune offers a look into the banking situation in Ireland.

http://www.tribune.ie/article/2009/aug/23/is-anglo-now-the-enemy-within/?q=ihle

For corporate deposits, Anglo pays typically between 3.5% and just under 4%, according to figures provided by Dolmen Stockbrokers. Bank of Ireland and AIB, according to published figures, don't even come close a sign that liquidity pressures have eased somewhat for the two big banks.


Further evidence in my view, that NAMA, a vehicle designed to solve a contraction in global credit flows and liquidity problems, is no longer suitable in the current context. Irish banks seem to be managing fine, but notice that the market has become distorted by the presence of Anglo Irish bank, which is willing to pay over 4% (not quoted publically, but more than lightly is the case) for large deposit sums.

Even at that, I think Anglo is still short a couple of percent, in its loan to debt ratio to conform with ECB regulation.

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Re: National Asset Management Agency

Postby garethace » Sun Aug 23, 2009 7:58 pm

Tired old infrastructure.

http://www.independent.ie/national-news/my-legs-turned-to-jelly-as-i-saw-the-bridge-collapse-1867312.html

The existing Irish oil tankage isn't far behind that particular lump of steel, I can tell you. Which is really why Brian Cowen needs to seriously think about this country's strategy going forward. The taxpayers' shoulders are not as big as they used to be. We have to be smart now, with how we use what money we have.

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Re: National Asset Management Agency

Postby jimg » Sun Aug 23, 2009 11:09 pm

I am going to be very brief here; it may come across as being curt. I'm not even going to quote but hopefully I haven't misrepresented what I've read.

Re. payments, clearing and deposits. These have nothing to do with confidence in the system. I have a professional knowledge of these aspects of banking and these are basic clerical functions which either operate or do not. Anglo, for example, is not even a full member of IPSO - the payments umbrella - and so do NO direct debits, operate NO ATMs, etc.

Re. devaluation; this is a tool to stimulate exports. This provides a boost for service and manufacturing exporters. It DOES not turn insolvent banks into viable entities. In the Swedish case, most of the retail banking dead wood had already been chopped or was already positioned on the chopping board before the economy had turned around. They had also stomached a sickening asset devaluation which many here seem to believe is something to be avoided. Even this is muddling things again - confusing the general economic condition with the specific and simple question of how to deal with insolvent banks.

Re. "knowledgeable" professionals diagnosing Ireland's economic problems. My interest in Anglo was spiked by the opposite. I came across some of their treasury people and was completely unimpressed; they were poster boys (all male) for the worst kind of arrogant celtic tiger "professionals". I have a little knowledge of finance, so I could filter out the arrogant bluster but having done so, I could detect nothing in terms of erudition, thoughtfulness or intelligence. This is personal, to be fair, but I found them to be obnoxious and a bit stupid to be honest. The fact that the were younger than me didn't help. I also find the general level of knowledge of finance in Ireland to be pathetic even among highly successful business people and professionals; understandable since until recently there was so little money around, it made little sense to study how it actually works.

Re. "macro-economic" numbers justifying spending 4-10 billion to pay off unsubordinated and regular bond holders. I'm side stepping the validity of the numbers, which would be an easy target. My issue is that this is a complete non-sequitor. It wouldn't matter if a functioning construction industry added 100 billion a year to the economy - that HAS NOTHING to do with the aspect of policy under discussion which is how do you defend spending a couple of years of the entire income tax take on paying off the debts of failed enterprises? Anglo will be as f*cked as they are now except that they'll have a few less bonds in their list of liabilities.

Re. predicting percentage drops, future demand numbers, etc., etc.; I now have a relatively minor role in a small company which has a team of about 20 rocket scientists - all with highly technical/mathematical PhDs and distinguished previous careers - supported by top IT people with access to the massive computing power and unlimited amounts of market data. We are able to come up with USEFUL (i.e. statistically significant) financial predictions in some very limited situations for perhaps 2 SECONDS into the future. Even then, often it doesn't work out. As a result, I am skeptical to the point of being scoffing when I hear armchair economists and internet message contributors predicting future figures and numbers years ahead. If any of these figures were worth a damn, the producer of them would be as rich as George Soros. At the very least, read some of Naseem Talib on future "trends" and the value of these sorts of "reasonable" numbers.
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Re: National Asset Management Agency

Postby KerryBog2 » Mon Aug 24, 2009 8:36 am

jimg,
Anglo is a nonsequitur. It should have no place in post NAMA Ireland, and hopefully will be wound down and the profitable bits sold off. Wait for the waves of redundancies in the Fin. Services sector. My guess is that Anglo will be one of the first, it is only a question of whether it will happen before or after the NAMA legislation next month..

Your points:
jimg wrote:Re. payments, clearing and deposits.

Agreed

jimg wrote:Re. devaluation; this is a tool to stimulate exports.

Hopefully all of us know that. The point made was that we cannot devalue, being part of the Eurozone. Devaluation was central to Sweden’s recovery; we do not have that option, so comparison to the “Swedish Model” is futile.

jimg wrote:Re. "knowledgeable" professionals diagnosing Ireland's economic problems. ........(Anglo’s)... treasury people and was completely unimpressed; they were poster boys (all male) for the worst kind of arrogant celtic tiger "professionals". ........ I could filter out the arrogant bluster but having done so, I could detect nothing in terms of erudition, thoughtfulness or intelligence. This is personal, to be fair, but I found them to be obnoxious and a bit stupid to be honest. The fact that the were younger than me didn't help.

I disagree. I too have done some trade finance and forex with Anglo (in Dublin) and found them very knowledgeable, efficient and competitive. Age &sex do not matter to me once I get a decent rate/service (in currency matters!) Furthermore, I suspect that their Treasury ops are the only profitable part of that bank.

jimg wrote:I also find the general level of knowledge of finance in Ireland to be pathetic even among highly successful business people and professionals.

That is a very big generalization: with the exception of a few journalists and many businesspeople you have a reasonably valid point. It does not help when the national broadcaster employs dingbats. E.g. on RTE’s Radio 1 this morning their business reporter was interviewing the CEO of Kingspan on its results. Q. “When are you going to return to profit?” A. (after an intake of breath) “We are in profit” Q. “well (slight pause)..more, then?” Enough said.

jimg wrote:Re. "macro-economic" numbers justifying spending 4-10 billion to pay off unsubordinated and regular bond holders. ........ how do you defend spending a couple of years of the entire income tax take on paying off the debts of failed enterprises? Anglo will be as f*cked as they are now except that they'll have a few less bonds in their list of liabilities.

It can be justified to save Ireland’s economy if there is a coherent, feasible plan. What most posters are bemoaning is that such a plan is not evident.

jimg wrote:Re. predicting percentage drops, future demand numbers, etc., etc.; As a result, I am skeptical to the point of being scoffing when I hear armchair economists and internet message contributors predicting future figures and numbers years ahead.

The impact of market influences on stock, bond and currency prices is much more immediate than on macroeconomic factors. Other areas do not move as fast. For example, insolvency trends (particularly in construction), the numbers of houses built, the property price differential between property in Dublin and other capitals all clearly indicated we would have a crash. That is why I have consistently suggested that more heads – political and banking – should roll.
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Re: National Asset Management Agency

Postby garethace » Mon Aug 24, 2009 9:17 am

Thanks to all of the above posters for their contributions again. I understand it does take a lot of effort and energy on your behalf to make those contributions. I will spend a lot of time and concentration taking in what is said above. Although, beyond thanking you for the contributions, I am not sure I have a lot more to add to the debate. I am fairly satisfied I have exhausted most of the ideas I had in my brain, and opinions I have managed to scribble down above.

I stuck a lot of them on the Designcomment blog also. They might be easier to access there and look a bit more presentable.

Thanks again to all.

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Re: National Asset Management Agency

Postby garethace » Mon Aug 24, 2009 9:21 am

I came across some of their treasury people and was completely unimpressed; they were poster boys (all male) for the worst kind of arrogant celtic tiger "professionals". I have a little knowledge of finance, so I could filter out the arrogant bluster but having done so, I could detect nothing in terms of erudition, thoughtfulness or intelligence.


I believe where a lot of the damage done, was not in the banks such as Anglo Irish. But a lot of financial departments of good Irish companies began to live in the same clouds that you describe above. There are lots and lots of those Irish companies now, which have a difficult un-learning process to go through. That is where the challenges do stand, whatever about Anglo Irish at this stage.

Although, I do take on board Kerry Bog's opinion which points to the fact the Anglo's treasury department knew their way around.

I also find the general level of knowledge of finance in Ireland to be pathetic even among highly successful business people and professionals; understandable since until recently there was so little money around, it made little sense to study how it actually works.


I do believe that Jimg's point here, has a lot of relevance in the context that I am most familiar with, the construction industry.

What Jimg described, is how I think about the 'award winning' architects in the architectural profession. They had no money about all through the 70s and 80s in order to learn any better. That is a fact. That is why we are building from a low base in the context of the Irish architectural professionals today. That is what I tried to expand upon in the Sunday Tribune article.

http://www.tribune.ie/article/2009/aug/23/developing-on-the-back-of-a-cigarette-box/

Even though Zoe were doing things cheaply and efficiently, they were leading thinkers in some ways. Michael D. Higgins, had a great line in his Irish Times Saturday 22nd August article, where he claims the 'questions don't even rise to the challenge.

The connection between philosophy, ethics, economics and social theory that was possible in Smith’s time, even by way of speculation, is allowed little space now. There is no discourse that has it as its centre. One is forced to conclude that not just language, but scholarship itself, that has failed the public. At a time when new models are needed, even suggested by events such as the ecological challenge and enduring global poverty, even the questions do no rise to the challenge.


http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/opinion/2009/0822/1224253076519.html

My only objective in my Sunday Tribune article was to raise a good question about architecture. In order that our questions going forward might rise to the challenge. What I have read in the past from Frank McDonald written about Zoe didn't quite rise to that challenge that I feel is so important. Because McDonald was mostly taking his cue from Shelly McNamara and Yvonne Farrell - two excellent professionals by international standards, but two who grew up in Ireland without a worn five pound note in profits for most of the time. Their contribution to the debate, in turn, has been defined by the poor economic situation. Not that I condemn they for that, it was their circumstance. I merely wish to point out the fact.

Having gone from a situation of poverty in building terms, they were suddenly trust into a situation where there was a way too much money being pushed through the OPW's channel to build 'public architecture'. The spate of local authority head quarters all over the country, being a prime example of that. But also, projects such as the Grafton Architects office block at Merrion Row, though a beautiful building inside it, in many ways. Does not represent the skills in terms of value management, that Ireland Inc. needs to develop in order to competer globally.

I know we cannot export construction of office blocks. But often architecture has a way of displaying the bias and values of the society that produce it. Often architecture rises above what is around it. Maybe that is what Grafton Architects were trying to do, but trying to hard. At the expense of other ideas such as value management. For a building (Merrion Row) which achieved such a small, miserable office floor plate area, an absolute fortune was spent on it. That is why I believe we need both the Zoe tradition and the Grafton Architect tradition to work (hopefully) together.

This article in today's independent in particular sets out what I mean.

It's clear now that foreign direct investment won't solve our employment problems, and most entrepreneurs feel a more streamlined machine is needed to create future world-beating Irish brands. . . . .

. . . The recession will give local businesses access to cheap, empty factories, warehouses and equipment as well as a trained work force.

With a little support there will be some great companies born over the next number of years. We must aim higher, we must aim for world class.


http://www.independent.ie/business/forget-foreign-investment--lets-grow-our-own-multinationals-1867544.html

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Re: National Asset Management Agency

Postby garethace » Mon Aug 24, 2009 9:57 am

BTW, this was one of the once-in-50 years events that the security of oil supplies in Ireland report was modelled around.

Disruption is expected in the Dublin docks area this morning as the Dublin Council of Trade Unions has called on members to join a demonstration in support of striking Siptu members.


http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/breaking/2009/0824/breaking6.htm

Something had better happen soon, or that 1.5 days of oil reserve is going to run dry. Dublin port doesn't have a leg to stand on in this strike and the workers know. It is time to do what Thatcher did with coal. It would at least remove the oil supply component from the equation in future industrial actions.

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Re: National Asset Management Agency

Postby garethace » Mon Aug 24, 2009 10:11 am

Barry O' Halloran wrote an excellent article in today's Irish Times newspaper.

The Government may well be more concerned with getting the legislation past a bolshie Opposition and a lukewarm Green Party, but once it does that, we are once again in uncharted legal territory. And at that point, nobody, not even the lawyers, can tell us what will happen next.


http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/finance/2009/0824/1224253136147.html

There is also something else from Éibhir Mulqueen in the Times:

But she said that every single economist in the country would have said that former minister for finance Charlie McCreevy’s economic philosophy of “when I have it, I spend it” ran counter to every economic instinct.


http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2009/0824/1224253138195.html

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Re: National Asset Management Agency

Postby garethace » Mon Aug 24, 2009 11:01 am

Now that is what I call an academic 'wallop' from Gurdgiev.

http://trueeconomics.blogspot.com/2009/08/economics-24082009-alan-please-read-me.html

Brian O' Hanlon
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Re: National Asset Management Agency

Postby garethace » Mon Aug 24, 2009 11:12 am

More breaking news at Dublin port.

One employee on today's march said she was being offered just €4,000 redundancy pay after 11 years working with the company.


http://www.independent.ie/breaking-news/national-news/hundreds-join-striking-port-workers-on-dublin-march-1867993.html

I know exactly where she is coming from there.

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Re: National Asset Management Agency

Postby KerryBog2 » Mon Aug 24, 2009 11:46 am

garethace wrote:Barry O' Halloran wrote an excellent article in today's Irish Times newspaper.



http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/finance/2009/0824/1224253136147.html


Brian O' Hanlon


No. He's wrong in several historical and factual aspects. Export credit would have covered the non-payment by Iraq had AIBP a valid policy (It didn't because the falsely declared foreign beef to be Irish). Furthermore, AIBP was not saved, it went under and was bought back by Goodman for pence in the £.
Sloppy journalism, making misinformation fit what he wants to say.
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Re: National Asset Management Agency

Postby garethace » Mon Aug 24, 2009 11:50 am

Thanks Kerry Bog for that input. I knew there had to be another side to that story.

Funny how history, even though I vaguely recall the early 90s when it happened, can be re-modelled to say what one likes.

Now I realize why I wish to stop short of working in pure journalism. Working out there in industry is more exciting anyhow.

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Re: National Asset Management Agency

Postby garethace » Mon Aug 24, 2009 12:05 pm

There is one question I would like to ask all of you, before I lay this to rest and pursue other ventures. It is to do with what Mike Milken described in his article.

http://www.mikemilken.com/articles.taf?page=37

I worked for a development company. I don't know if how similar or dissimilar it was to others. But the whole thing in summer to autumn 2008, was to sign as many lease agreements as we could in order to re-structure the company from a capital point of view.

Previous to that, we simply would have left the commercial space sitting there on the market and not really worried about it. Eventually, the right kind of tenant, which was usually a large state tenant or retail operator would come along and take it from us. Because the locations were that good, we didn't work too hard.

That philosophy had to alter very much though by December 2008 - ultimatims were flying around, that our model wasn't nearly going to work. That is when space that was left in one big chunk before started being dividied up and let to whoever was out there. It was a very big U-turn to make for one company.

That reminds me very much of Jon Ihle's article in yesterdays Sunday Tribune.

http://www.tribune.ie/article/2009/aug/23/is-anglo-now-the-enemy-within/

In the end, from my point of view, an Irish development company was like an Irish bank. We were chasing liquidity as much as possible to try and cover our deposit to loan ratio. To try and compensate for the ‘gearing up’ we did in 2006, when the good times looked set to continue for ever. Or maybe we were completely drunk at the wheel.

Because my accountant friend in a rival development company told me, over beers, at some stage in 2007 that a recession was definitely on its way. When he told me, I didn't even want to listen to his point of view. But he was much better able to read figures than I ever was. He was still only my age, but he had worked in project management capacities inside a whole string of the big guys, IBM, Microsoft, Vodafone and others. I know he was heavily involved in the Sandyford project of Cork developer John Fleming, though not working directly for him.

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Re: National Asset Management Agency

Postby KerryBog2 » Mon Aug 24, 2009 2:27 pm

garethace wrote:There is one question I would like to ask all of you, before I lay this to rest and pursue other ventures. It is to do with what Mike Milken described in his article.

http://www.mikemilken.com/articles.taf?page=37



Nothing much to argue with there. “Cash is King” is a well-worn cliché. The Celtic Tiger boom was credit-driven, with “Sales” ruling the credit control area. Too much micromanagement and specialisation, not enough “big picture.” At a micro level companies seemed to forget about getting paid. Guns were put to heads – “if we don’t supply, competitor X will get the business.” It applied right across industry, including the Banks, where a fast turnaround time (e.g. Anglo, often with crap risk assessment) and corner-cutting hastened the fall of many.

While we're on bonds, one of the factors that many have ignored is the role of the rating agencies. (I’ve mentioned it in the past, but nobody picked it up.) These are the same guys who gave us the great ratings on DotCom companies and led to its subsequent bubble.

Back in June of 2008 when I posted here about the huge rise in construction sector failures, I also was watching the figures on Bond defaults, but did not post as it was not germane to the discussion. At that time there were 28 defaulting entities (including four confidentially rated), affecting debt worth $18.4 billion. That already exceeded the 22 defaults in all of 2007 affecting debt worth $8.1 billion and just a couple shy of the 30 defaults in 2006 affecting debt worth $7.1 billion. Of the 28 defaulters to end-May in 2008, 27 were from the U.S., and one from Canada. By contrast, there were only 17 defaulters in the U.S. in full-year 2007 and 22 in 2006. The pace of U.S. defaults through the first five months of the year was the fastest since 2003.

Enjoyable as it has been, this discussion is gone far from architecture, we should draw a line!
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Re: National Asset Management Agency

Postby garethace » Mon Aug 24, 2009 2:43 pm

Cash is King, thanks for that.

I'll remember it the next time, if there will be one.

The Celtic Tiger boom was credit-driven, with “Sales” ruling the credit control area.


I suppose, because the Celtic Tiger boom was credit driven, and the global financial crisis was credit related, it made a lot of sense to assume what Ireland needed was to 'un-block' the credit channels again. This is the assumption made by all NAMA architects of the problem as they perceived it.

Sure credit fuelled the Celtic Tiger. But what that credit did, was it inflated prices of assets resulting in banks which are now insolvent. Which is a different matter entirely from banks that have liquidity problems, related to something like an on-going global credit crisis today. This mis-representation by the architects of NAMA to the Irish people, is what bothers me.

If the banks are to learn anything from the crash, we need to define the problem better. We also need to know who was calling the shots in the end, where larger developers were concerned. I am close enough to the situation myself, to know precisely, up to and including the present day, it is the banks who tell Irish developers what to build and where to build it. That bothers me quite frankly and I don't know if banks even realize they are doing it.

They should stop now, and allow everyone to be what they are meant to be. For better or for worse. Otherwise, as Michael D. Higgins put it, scholarship as well as language has failed us. The questions don't even rise to the challenge. What are we training our architects and professionals etc for? If there professional opinion isn't even valuable enough to be used?

That brings us right back into the architectural debate, if nothing else will.

Guns were put to heads – “if we don’t supply, competitor X will get the business.”


Exactly right, that was certainly the case.

It is like the great old slogan of the dot.com of being the 'first to market', the early mover gets it all and so forth. Except in Ireland, that mythology was made into: People who bought any land, any where in the Irish landscape 'cheap' before 2000, were now minted. Because they had been the early movers, so to speak. What that implied was that large land owners were completely 100% secure. Recent events have proven that is far from being the case.

With property, every weekend it would appear in the newspaper that X or Y competitor had bought a site, tied up a deal or was after a tenant lease. We were only running a race in order to pass out our competitors. That was the kind of psychology we were caught up in, for sure. It was an information driven bubble as a lot of bubbles are.

These are the same guys who gave us the great ratings on DotCom companies and led to its subsequent bubble.


Robert Shiller's book, which I didn't enjoy greatly the first time I read it, about the Subprime Solution was good on that aspect. One asset bubble was replaced for another in terms of what was 'sought after'. Again, the information driven aspect comes to the fore.

It could be strongly argued that Alan Greenspan was the architect of much of it. But it could also be argued that peoples' addiction to information broadcasting on the price of assets, shares, property etc, also had much to do with it.

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Re: National Asset Management Agency

Postby garethace » Mon Aug 24, 2009 4:09 pm

The cat is out of the bag now.

Green Party Chairman, Senator Dan Boyle, has warned that his party's support for the NAMA legislation cannot be taken for granted.


http://www.rte.ie/news/2009/0824/banks.html

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Re: National Asset Management Agency

Postby Cliff Barnes » Mon Aug 24, 2009 5:47 pm

garethace wrote:The cat is out of the bag now.



http://www.rte.ie/news/2009/0824/banks.html

Brian O' Hanlon


Poor Dan.

Rejected at the polls so he has to get some attention somehow.

The Greens will grandstand,hum and haw,squeak and moan but will toe the Government line.

Its either that or face the electorate and get wiped out.
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