Sabadell Considers Selling €1.8 bn Portfolio Whilst it Negotiates with FGD

1 February 2018 – Voz Pópuli

Banco Sabadell is preparing an artillery of divestments over the coming months. The entity chaired by Josep Oliu (pictured above) has been sounding out the market for several weeks now regarding the launch of what would be its largest sale of problem assets to date, worth €1.8 billion, according to financial sources consulted by Vozpópuli.

This operation, which still needs to be approved by the bank’s Board of Directors, would be the precursor to a mega-operation amounting to €12 billion that the entity is considering launching over the next few months, according to Expansión. Sabadell has three mandates granted to launch these divestments in 2018 with Deloitte, KPMG and Alantra.

Nevertheless, these sales have been held up by the Management Committee of the Deposit Guarantee Fund (FGD). The €12 billion that Sabadell wants to sell are precisely those covered by the Asset Protection Scheme (EPA) granted by the semi-public fund during the sale of CAM.

The Management Committee, whose members include bankers from some of Sabadell’s competitor firms, is questioning the sale of the €12 billion because of the hole it would cause in its own accounts. The FGD held equity funds of €1.6 billion at the end of 2016. The same thing is happening with BBVA. In that case, the FGD is considering whether to approve the accelerated sale of assets proceeding from Unnim’s EPA.

Two positions

This story is about two very different positions. On the one hand, Sabadell and BBVA want to bulk sell all of the problem assets that they inherited from the purchases of CAM and Unnim, respectively, in one go. In terms of the danger posed by the end of the EPA, they know that, like happened to Liberbank, when the guarantees end, the unsold assets will affect their capital ratios, by raising the denominator (APRs).

Meanwhile, the FGD is studying the impact that these operations may have and whether the contracts signed at the time allow such accelerated divestments.

Sabadell was one of the most active entities in the sale of problem portfolios last year, with the sale of Project Normandy to Oaktree and Project Voyager to the largest pension fund in Canada.

Original story: Voz Pópuli (by Jorge Zuloaga)

Translation: Carmel Drake

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