Ireland has successfully exited from its emergency funding programme, government borrowing cost are back below 3.5% and forecast GDP growth for 2014 is 2.5%. Ireland is now ranked as the number one place to invest in western Europe.

Following the Global Financial Crisis in 2008, property prices in Ireland collapsed by 50% for residential buildings and 70% for commercial buildings. Due to a broken banking system in the wake of the property crash there has been no lending available in Ireland delaying the Irish property recovery. In the last couple of years there has been considerable interest by private equity firms such as Lonestar, Blackstone, Apollo and Kennedy Wilson to purchase property in Ireland and profit from the recovery. This, along with positive budgetary measures, have helped stabilise the market and all property sectors showed a positive return in 2013 for the first time since 2007.

International private equity to date has only targeted large floor plate buildings located in prime areas. Secondary assets, where traditionally the local developers operate, remains under invested due to continuing financing constraints. As a result a large valuation gap has developed between prime commercial and secondary assets.

Halberd Asset Management are launching their?first fund. They have successfully incorporated an investment vehicle for purchasing distressed Irish real estate and are beginning the fund raising backed by a number of cornerstone investors. The holding company is a Singapore public company limited by shares and will hold a series of tax efficient SPVs in turn holding the individual properties directly. Simon Hopkins, CEO of Milltrust International Group, is chairing the Singapore entity.

The team intend to purchase these assets which will benefit from the continued recovery in Ireland but also the compression of this gap as the market begins functioning normally. They are targeting assets where the current valuations are still only 30% – 50% of build cost and have initial yields of 10 to 15%. The financial projections, supported by independent property research, conservatively project 15-20% IRR on the investment over the Investment term.

Halberd has assembled a team of leading property professionals and developers to acquire and manage the assets during the Investment term which includes an ex-senior portfolio manager with NAMA and the Head of Property from Bank of Scotland (Ireland). Both have experience managing multi billion euro portfolios. This team has unparalleled knowledge and the contacts to identify and acquire exceptional assets being released by those institutions managing the liquidation of distressed portfolios.

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