10 October 2017 – Expansión
One of the main elements of the strategic plan launched by Liberbank to rebuild its financial health is entering the home stretch. The bank has now received offers from all three of the suitors who have reached the final phase of the sale of the portfolio of real estate assets worth €800 million. And, according to financial sources, the bid from the US fund Bain is the highest. But, Bain is not alone. KKR and Blackstone have also submitted binding offers, however, the cheque that the former is willing to sign is larger than those of the others, add the same sources.
Nevertheless, that does not mean that Bain is going to win Liberbank’s open bid. In the final evaluation of the offers, the perimeter that each bid defines (the portfolio primarily comprises homes, but also includes some land) will weigh as heavily as the financing that is going to be used and the tax implications. All of this could mean that the quality of the bids varies significantly, as well as the impact that one or another may have for the results of Liberbank.
In addition, market sources point out that from the date that the offers were submitted until the date exclusive negotiations begin with one of the candidates, last minute movements may arise that tip the balance one way or another.
All of this despite the fact that the calendar proposed by Liberbank does not allow for much time for the bids to be revised or for the processes to be delayed. The objective of the bank is to announce the principle of an agreement with one of the three funds that have submitted offers “imminently”, according to financial sources. And they consider that this is possible because all three of the proposals are sufficiently adequate to reach an agreement.
Liberbank’s intention is to announce the sale of the real estate portfolio before or during its upcoming capital increase, through which it hopes to raise €500 million from its shareholders. It plans to use the funds raised to improve the coverage levels for its non-performing assets, increasing them to almost 50% (still slightly below the average in the sector, which stands at 52%), as well as to strengthen its capital.
Liberbank’s wish is that its shareholders will participate in the capital increase safe in the knowledge that the bank has released €800 million in toxic assets, which will no longer weigh down on its balance sheet. The General Shareholders’ Meeting was due to approve the capital increase on Monday (yesterday) and the objective is that the operation will last 15 days, starting as soon as the legal processes allow.
Liberbank’s main shareholders have committed to participating in the capital increase, which means that Oceanwood, Aivilo Spain and Corporación Masaveu (owners of 12.6%, 7.4% and 5% of the share capital, respectively) will maintain their respective stakes.
The capital increase is the most important element of Liberbank’s plan to convince the markets of its financial solvency, but it is not the only one. The transfer of the real estate portfolio plays an important role, as did the sale of its real estate subsidiary, Mihabitans, to Haya Real Estate for €85 million. That company, which is owned by the fund Cerberus, has taken over the exclusive management of the foreclosed assets of Liberbank and its subsidiaries for a period of seven years.
Original story: Expansión (by Inés Abril)
Translation: Carmel Drake