17 December 2018 – El Confidencial
The Canadian fund CPPIB has been awarded BBVA’s last major portfolio of problem assets. The investor, which manages the money of the public pensions in the North American country, is negotiating the final details of its purchase of €2.5 billion in unpaid real estate loans from the Spanish entity, according to financial sources consulted by El Confidencial. BBVA declined to comment.
The sale, framed as Project Ánfora, is going to close within the next few days.
CPPIB has won the bid, fighting off competition from two major US investors: Cerberus and Lone Star. The auction has been coordinated by Alantra and, according to average market prices, must have been closed for a price of around €1 billion.
For BBVA, this same represents almost the conclusion of the clean up of its real estate inheritance. Together with Project Ánfora, the entity, which is still chaired by Francisco González, agreed to sell €12-13 billion in property to Cerberus (Project Marina) a year ago. The final details of that operation are still being closed with the Deposit Guarantee Fund (FGD).
Before the sale of Ánfora and Marina, BBVA had a net real estate exposure of €5.5 billion, based on data as at September 2018. The aim is for the real estate inheritance to be reduced to almost zero by the end of the year.
The Ánfora portfolio also contains refinanced loans amounting to €900 million, a new type of asset in this type of process.
For CPPIB, this is the second batch of problem assets that it has purchased from BBVA this year. It already acquired Project Sintra, containing €1 billion in unpaid loans to property developers.
The Canadian fund broke into Spain a few years ago with the acquisition of Altamira, together with Apollo and the ADIA sovereign fund, the main investor vehicle of Abu Dhabi. CPPIB’s interest in Spanish real estate means that it cannot be ruled out that it will end up being the buyer of Altamira following the current sales process. Large vehicles such as the Canadian one use alternative assets such as properties to diversify their portfolios and reduce their dependence on stock market and bonds.
Original story: El Confidencial (by Jorge Zuloaga)
Translation: Carmel Drake