The Royal Bank of Scotland Group has announced the sale of Ulster Bank’s giant €5.6bn (£4.8bn) Irish real estate loan portfolio – dubbed Project Aran – to an affiliate of Cerberus.

RBS said Cerberus paid £1.1bn (€1.4bn) for the portfolio, which was increased in size in October from €1.7bn to €5.6bn.

The portfolio counted almost 6,000 properties, predominantly in the Republic of Ireland, but also Northern Ireland.

RBS said the carrying value of the loans in the portfolio was £1bn and they generated a loss of £0.8bn, mainly impairment provisions, in the year to December 2013.

In a statement, the bank added that the sale was “part of the continued reduction of assets in its RBS Capital Resolution division and is in line with the bank’s plan to strengthen its capital position and reduce higher risk exposures”.

Cerberus fought off competition from Apollo, Carval and Goldman Sachs’ special situations fund to buy the portfolio.

Cerberus also emerged today as the buyer of National Australia Bank’s £1.2bn UK loan portfolio Project Henrico and last week clinched Nationwide’s £1bn Project Carlisle.