Private-equity giants in the United States Apollo and Lone Star are the final bidders vying to acquire a portfolio of deep-in-arrears AIB home loans that were originally worth about €1 billion, according to sources.

AIB set about selling the portfolio, dubbed Project Oak, early last year but postponed the deal as it diverted resources to manage the impact of the Covid-19 shock on borrowers. The transaction was revived late last year.

The emergence of Apollo as a contender will come as a surprise to many followers of the loan sales market in Ireland. The New York-based group, with more than $400 billion (€331 billion) of assets under management, was among the first wave of buyers of Irish loans in the early part of the last decade as overseas banks retreated from the market. However, it has not been an active buyer in the Republic in recent years.

Lone Star has been among the most consistent bidders for non-performing loan (NPLs) portfolios brought to market in the State in recent years. Cerberus, a US distressed-debt firm, had also previously been circling the AIB portfolio, largely involving borrowers who have not engaged with the bank for years, but is no longer involved in the process.


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Source: The Irish Times

By Joe Brennan