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npl-reo Market News: Spanish Real Estate Intelligence

The Fund Centricus Enters the Bid to Buy Solvia

28 November 2018 - Expansión

A candidate with an exotic air about it has entered the auction for Solvia, the real estate subsidiary controlled in its entirety by Sabadell. The fund Centricus, which is headquartered in London but which has several Chinese and Japanese shareholders, has submitted a binding offer to acquire Sabadell’s asset management platform, according to sources familiar with the process.

Official sources at the bank preferred not to comment in this regard. Centricus wants to enter the Spanish market to compete with the large investment funds specialising in asset management, such as two of the other players interested in Solvia: Cerberus and Intrum, formerly Lindorff.

Centricus manages assets worth more than USD 20 billion and has worked together with the Japanese giant SoftBank to raise funds amounting to USD 100 billion at the international level.

Asian alliances

The British fund also recently joined forces with the Chinese companies China Merchants Group and SPF Group to launch a USD 15 billion fund to invest in technology companies.

Centricus, Cerberus and Intrum have all submitted binding offers for Solvia amounting to more than €300 million. According to sources close to the operation, one of the funds has even offered an amount close to the €400 million that Sabadell aspires to receive. The bank has awarded the mandate to divest Solvia to Alantra.

Sabadell activated the sale of its real estate platform after cleaning up €11.5 billion in toxic assets from its balance sheet. At that time, it preferred to not sell Solvia, like the majority of its competitors did, to try to maximise its revenues. The bank considers that the real estate platform has significant latent profits. Cerberus could be the favourite in the contest since it is now holding advanced conversations with the entity.

Natural buyer

The US fund is the “natural” buyer for Solvia, say financial sources. In fact, during the summer, Cerberus acquired two large portfolios of foreclosed properties from Sabadell (Challenger and Coliseum), with a combined gross value of €9.1 billion.

Sabadell wants to sign the sale of the real estate platform before the end of this year to have its balance sheet free of property remnants. Solvia manages 148,000 assets, with a value of more than €30 billion. In parallel, the bank has also placed up for sale its property developer subsidiary, Solvia Desarrollos Inmobiliarios. The completion of that operation has been delayed until the beginning of 2019.

Original story: Expansión (by R. Sampedro)

Translation: Carmel Drake

 
Cerberus, Intrum & DoBank Bid to Acquire Altamira

15 November 2018 - El Confidencial

There is still an appetite for the servicers' business. The sale of the 85% stake that Apollo owns in Altamira is making its first cut of candidates, with some of the most high profile investors in the segment amongst the finalists. According to financial sources, the fund Cerberus (Haya Real Estate), the Swedish firm Intrum (Nordic Capital) and the Italian firm DoBank (Fortress) are the candidates that have progressed in the process, which is being coordinated by Goldman Sachs, and which was relaunched after the summer following months on the table.

Other players in the sector interested in Spain are also in the process, both at the domestic and European level. One of those new candidates is the US firm Davidson Kempner, which has a portfolio of USD 30 billion under management and with interests in the transformation of toxic assets in the United Kingdom and Ireland, according to sources involved in the operation.

Apollo is willing to take advantage of the hunger for this type of vehicle to make gains, although it does so after four years at the helm of the servicer and having not been awarded any of the large real estate portfolios that the banks have sold (Santander to Blackstone, BBVA to Cerberus, CaixaBank to Lone Star and the Sabadell-Solvia process, in whose final stretch it is not participating). In fact, this divestment comes after Apollo's manager for the last few years – Andrés Rubio – left the fund.

The price of the management platform could reach €1.5 billion (debt included), a business for which Apollo paid €664 million in January 2014 in exchange for an 85% stake (the remaining 15% is still owned by Banco Santander). The agreement comprised the management of toxic assets (recovery of loans and sale of properties) until 2028, although the transformation of that perimeter has led to a change in the management conditions (commissions) and to the repayment of a €200 million dividend.

Altamira has assets under management amounting to more than €50 billion, compared with €26 billion in 2014, and a portfolio comprising more than 82,000 properties at the end of 2017, making it the largest servicer in operation in Spain. In addition to its contract with Santander, it also manages assets for Sareb (which account for 30% of its portfolio) and for third parties – international investors, financial institutions, family offices and institutional clients – as a result of the international expansion plan launched in 2017.

Original story: El Confidencial (by Carlos Hernanz)

Translation: Carmel Drake

 
Spain's Banks Plan to Sell Real Estate Worth €12.5bn+ over the Next 2 Years

19 November 2018 - El Economista

The banks have set themselves the deadline of 2020 to reduce the property that remains on their balance sheets to an absolute minimum. On the basis of the strategic plans set out by Bankia, Liberbank, Ibercaja and the portfolio of commercial premises put up for sale by Santander, the entities are planning to divest at least €12.5 billion in non-performing assets over the next 24 months.

At this stage, we do not yet know which objectives CaixaBank will set itself in this regard; the entity will unveil its new strategic plan in London on 27 November. Meanwhile, the entity led by Ana Botín has delayed the presentation of its new objectives to the beginning of next year, as it awaits the evolution of the outcome of the elections held in Brazil in October. The exit of the United Kingdom from the European Union, which must take place in March, is also important for the group.

Spain’s entities have accelerated the divestment of their real estate in a frantic fashion over the last 15 months. This summer, Banco Sabadell sold four portfolios of non-performing assets for a combined gross value of €12.2 billion. Those operations allowed the entity to fulfil in one fell swoop the objective that it had set itself in its Strategic Plan 2018-2020 to reduce its non-performing assets by €2 billion per year.

At the end of the third quarter of this year, the entity led by Josep Oliu held €13.62 billion in toxic property left on its balance sheet, nevertheless, once the sales undertaken this summer have been completed, that exposure will be reduced by almost half to €7.67 billion, most of which comprises doubtful loans. The exposure of foreclosed assets has been reduced to around €1.2 billion.

Orderly reduction

With respect to Bankia, in its Strategic Plan to 2020, the entity projected an annual reduction in non-performing assets of €2.9 billion, which would result in the clean-up of €8.7 billion over three years. The bank chaired by José Ignacio Goirigolzarri has divested €2.4 billion during the first three quarters of this year, according to its latest accounts at the end of September, which means that it needs to sell only another €500 million during the final quarter (…).

In the same way, Liberbank closed the third quarter of the year with gross non-performing assets amounting to €3.6 billion, 25% less than it held a year ago. The bank has set itself the objective of leaving €1.7 billion on its balance sheet by the end of 2020, in other words, €1.9 billion less than it currently has.

Finally, Ibercaja, which also unveiled its objectives to 2020 in March, announced its plans to reduce its toxic assets by 50% in three years, which would mean decreasing the balance by around €1.85 billion.

15 months of sales

Santander fired the starting gun on this race with the sale of 50% of Popular’s property to Blackstone, in an operation announced in August last year. Since then, the largest sale by the bank was a portfolio of flats and garages to Cerberus in September, for a purchase price of around €1.535 billion. Thus, the bank still has a second portfolio of foreclosed assets up for sale with a gross value of around €2.4 billion (…).

The most active investment funds to purchase portfolios over the last few months have been Cerberus, Blackstone and Lone Star. Between then three of them, they have made acquisitions of foreclosed assets and doubtful loans from the Spanish banks and Sareb amounting to €48 billion (…).

Original story: El Economista (by Eva Díaz)

Translation: Carmel Drake