BBVA & Sabadell Finalise Negotiations with the FGD to Sell their ‘Protected’ Toxic Assets

17 July 2018 – Expansión

The two banks are looking to remove their remaining damaged assets from their balance sheets. Sources in the sector calculate that the FGD will have to assume a cost of around €3.5 billion.

The Deposit Guarantee Fund (FGD) and BBVA and Sabadell are on the verge of reaching a definitive agreement that will allow the two banks to sell the majority of their damaged real estate assets that are protected by the FGD in order to clean up their balance sheets.

The fund will know exactly what the cost of the protection is and, in exchange, the banks will assume a greater percentage of the potential losses. Calculations from experts in the sector indicate that the cost that the FGD will have to bear amounts to around €3.5 billion.

The negotiations that have been going on for months between the heads of the FGD, led by Javier Alonso as the Chairman and Deputy Governor of the Bank of Spain, and BBVA and Sabadell, as well as the Ministry of Finance and the other financial institutions, are on the verge of reaching an agreement that will enable the two banks to get rid of the majority of their damaged real estate assets in operations similar to the ones undertaken by both Santander with Popular’s assets and more recently by CaixaBank.

The formula is the same: the two banks group together in a new company, or several new companies, the damaged assets and they sell the majority of the share capital in those companies to an investment fund, holding onto a minority stake that typically amounts to between 10% and 20%. In this way, the banks deconsolidate their real estate positions and their balance sheets look clean.

The problem that BBVA and Sabadell have had is that a large part of their assets to be sold are protected by a guarantee until 2021 whereby the FGD committed to bear the cost of 80% of any losses incurred, on the book value of those assets, when they were sold. This has been the case for the last few years (Sabadell has already sent three annual invoices to the FGD for losses over the last three years and BBVA has done the same for the last two years). And so that will continue until the end of the guarantee period.

Original story: Expansión (by Salvador Arancibia)

Translation: Carmel Drake

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