Bankia And BMN Both Put NPL Portfolios Up For Sale

27 March 2015 – Expansión

Divestments / Bankia and BMN are seeking to replicate the transaction completed by Catalunya Banc in 2014 on a smaller scale. The market expects a “boom” in these sales in 2015.

After two years divesting shareholdings and bad debts, Bankia considers that the time has come for it to transfer some of the non-performing mortgages that it deems to be unrecoverable. The entity led by José Ignacio Goirigolzarri has put a portfolio amounting to €1,300 million up for sale, of which more than €900 million relate to unpaid mortgages. BMN has also put a similar package of loans up for sale, amounting to €160 million, of which €52 million relate to mortgages.

Investors have received these operations with a great deal of anticipation, because since Catalunya Banc transferred a portfolio of problem mortgages amounting to €6,500 million to Blackstone last summer, no other entity had decided to follow suit.

After the step taken by Bankia and BMN, a number of entities are expected to join the band wagon and put some of their real estate loans to individuals up for sale.

Change of course

Until now, the bank had been reluctant to sell mortgages to opportunistic funds for reputational risk reasons. To avoid this, Bankia and BMN have decided to exclude loans relating to subsidised and social housing (from their portfolios). Moreover, sources in the financial sector explain that overseas funds may offer more alternatives for non-performing loans than the banks, since they purchase the loans at a discount and so can offer discounts themselves. These investors, just like the banks, must comply with the Code of Good Practice developed by the (Ministry of) Economy in 2012.

The sale launched by Bankia forms part of Project Wind, advised by KPMG . In total, the portfolio contains overdue loans amounting to €1,300 million, which are split into three sub-portfolios: mortgages; loans to SMEs and real estate developers, secured by properties, worth €180 million; and unsecured loans amounting to €210 million.

The mortgage portfolio comprises 4,300 loans, with an average value of €214,000. Most of the mortgages were granted to purchase property in Cataluña (32%), Madrid (25%) and Valencia (18%). Furthermore, 83% of the 4,300 non-performing loans are involved in judicial proceedings.

These types of transactions allow banks to remove non-performing assets from their balance sheets, release provisions and devote new resources to new more profitable activities.

Foreign funds will monitor this transaction very closely, especially those who have purchased a real estate platform in recent years: Cerberus (Haya Real Estate), Apollo (Altamira), Centerbridge (Aktua), TPG (Servihabitat), Blackstone (Catalunya Caixa Inmobiliaria) and Värde Partners y Kennedy Wilson (Aliseda). Having purchased the real estate management platforms in 2013, these investors are now keen to nurture (feed) them with their own assets, and whereby obtain profitability from their investments.

In addition to this transaction, Bankia has two other deals in the pipeline: the sale of hotel loans – Project Castle – for which it has received non-binding offers of between €200 million and €300 million; and the transfer of syndicated and bilateral loans amounting to €500 million – Project Commander – which Deloitte is advising.

On a smaller scale

In the meantime, BMN has put a similar portfolio up for sale to that offered by Bankia as part of Project Wind. It amounts to €160 million, of which one third are unpaid mortgages. The sale of this portfolio, known as Project Pampa, is being managed by N+1. Almost all of the 300 mortgages included in this portfolio are secured by properties in Cataluña.

BMN hopes to close the sale of its portfolio by the end of May. In the case of Bankia, the transfer process may last until the middle of the year.

Original story: Expansión (by Jorge Zuloaga)

Translation: Carmel Drake