Danske plans exit from Ireland with rumored sale of 600 units

Danske Bank S/A (DANSKE) is planning to seek a buyer for about 600 residential properties around Ireland as Denmark’s biggest lender retreats from the country after a real estate crash, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The Copenhagen-based lender is looking to sell the homes in one batch, according to the person who requested anonymity because the portfolio hasn’t been finalized. The original owners bought the properties as investments, or buy-to-let homes, before defaulting on their debts, the person said.

Danske Chief Executive Officer Thomas Borgen is among chief executives of foreign banks seeking buyers for Irish properties after suffering losses during the country’s real estate crash. Overseas investors including Kennedy-Wilson Holdings Inc. (KW) are buying up Irish property as they wager on a recovery in prices.

Caroline Douglas, a spokeswoman for Danske in Dublin, declined to comment on the potential sale. The Danish bank is exiting retail and business banking in Ireland as well as winding down its property investments.

Other foreign lenders to unwind businesses in Ireland include the U.K.’s Lloyds Banking Group Plc (LLOY) and Rabobank Groep from the Netherlands. Kennedy-Wilson agreed to buy a Dublin housing development from London-based Lloyds for more than 80 million euros ($109 million). Bloomberg.