Setback For Sareb: Suspension Of “In Tempo” Foreclosure

24 October 2016 – El Mundo

The soap opera involving In Tempo, the tallest residential building in Spain, continues. And the latest episode represents a real setback for Sareb, the main creditor of Olga Urbana, the company that went bankrupt after constructing the famous skyscraper in Benidorm.

Commercial Court number 1 in Alicante, which is handling Olga Urbana’s bankruptcy, has suspended the foreclosure of the property, which, in theory, was going to be awarded to Sareb, after it submitted the only and highest bid, amounting to €58.5 million. The judge has ruled in favour of the appeals submitted by Olga Urbana’s smaller creditors against the aspirations of the bad bank, which had been hoping to take over the building after it spent the summer contending that it had submitted the only official bid.

Nevertheless, according to the ruling dated 13 October, the magistrate considers that In Tempo cannot be awarded until the bankruptcy incidents that are affecting the process have been resolved. As soon as firm rulings have been issued regarding these incidents, the foreclosure will be approved, but not before. This represents a serious setback for Sareb: it had planned to foreclose the 190m tall building and then resell it,  whereby recovering some or all of its debt, which amounts to €108 million in total.

The bad bank will now have to wait until the bankruptcy incidents have been legally resolved. The claims have been filed by Olga Urbana’s small creditors, who consider that the liquidation plan would be harmful for them, given that, in their opinion, they would not recover any of their debt; these companies maintain that Sareb should not hold preferential creditor status, which gives it the right to recover its debt first.

According to these creditors (which include the construction company Kono, the arquitect Robert Pérez Guerras and the former administrator of Olga Urbana, Isidre Boronat), Sareb was an administrator of Olga Urbana and therefore, is responsible for the creditor bankruptcy of the company, which went bust at the end of 2014 with liabilities amounting to €137 million.

The creditors argue that the bad bank should be the last party to recover its money (…). In this way, the small creditors would recover their money before Sareb.

Given that this question has not been decided yet, the judge handling the bankruptcy has opted to wait for clarification as to whether Sareb is a preferential creditor or not, because a premature foreclosure could affect the interests of the other creditors. Meanwhile, Sareb maintains that the foreclosure of the building, which has been valued at €90 million, forms part of the liquidation plan, and would not be harmful to the other creditors.

Original story: El Mundo (by F. D. G.)

Translation: Carmel Drake

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