23 December 2015 – El Confidencial
TPG and Goldman Sachs have managed to close one of the largest debt operations of 2015 just before year end. They have just acquired a portfolio of unpaid property developer loans (Project Atalaya) from Caixabank, an entity that has been particularly active in this kind of divestment during the second half of the year. It is understood that the consideration paid amounted to €240 million.
In addition to Atalaya, the bank led by Isidro Fainé (pictured above, right) has also managed to successfully close the sale of Project Tourmalet, acquired by Blackstone for almost €800 million, as well as Project More, another €700 million of non-performing loans, which sparked interest from several international funds and which ended up being acquired by Cerberus.
In total, as a result of these three operations, the Catalan entity has succeeded in transferring almost €2,300 million of debt from its balance sheet during the second half of the year alone, a figure that makes it the most active entity during the period for this type of operation. That is unless there is a last minute surprise from Bankia, which has withdrawn its plans to close the sale of Big Bang this year.
The funds that are interested in acquiring the €4,800 million that comprise the Big Bang portfolio have demanded that the bank led by José Ignacio Goirigolzarri slice it up before they can reach any agreement. This request has forced the entity to recalculate its numbers, which has delayed the completion of the operation, which was expected to be the largest in 2015.
As a result, Caixabank has been the star of the year for this type of operation, to the extent that the three portfolios that it has sold represent some of the largest banking operations closed this year. In fact, if we take the data as at the end of Q3 as the reference point (the most recent official statistics), then the bank has reduced its portfolio of loans to property developers by 30%, which has played a crucial role in enabling it to lower its default rate to 8.7%, compared with the sector average of 11%.
Atalaya is the second major operation that TPG has closed with Caixabank, given that two years ago it also acquired 51% of Servihabitat from the Catalan entity for €189 million, an operation that allowed the US fund to take over the management of the entity’s real estate services for a period of ten years.
Meanwhile, the most important operation involving Goldman Sachs in the Spanish real estate sector in recent times has been its purchase of almost 3,000 flats from IVIMA, together with Azora, in the Summer of 2013, for €201 million. But the US entity is also very active in the analysis of these kinds of operation. For example, it was on the brink of signing an agreement to acquire Procisa, the property development company behind La Finca (in Madrid), which is suffering from a significant debt problem. (…).
Original story: El Confidencial (by Ruth Ugalde)
Translation: Carmel Drake