Copisa Sells 7 Plots To Castlelake To Avoid Bankruptcy

18 November 2015 – El Confidencial

Josep Cornadó, the President of Copisa, the construction company accused of paying unfair commissions to Jordi Pujol Ferrusola and of financing Convergència Democràtica de Catalunya (CDC) in exchange for sizeable contracts, has had enough of his comings and goings at court, and is trying to save his company from bankruptcy. Given its precarious financial situation, with overdue amounts owing creditors, the Catalan construction company has been forced to put itself into the hands of the so-called vulture funds.

According to financial sources, Copisa has sold seven plots of land in Cataluña to Castlelake, a firm that specialises in opportunistic operations and manages $7,200 million around the world. The company, formerly known as TPG Credit Management, has created a team in Spain to take advantage of the difficult situations that companies and institutions are finding themselves in; many are having to sell (off assets) at any price to pay their creditors.

One of the entities that fits this profile is Sareb, or the ‘bad bank’, from which Castlelake has purchased several batches of real estate assets. Another is Copisa, which is throwing in the towel for the third time in just over a year because it cannot pay its debts. Sources in the sector indicate that Castlelake has acquired seven plots of land from the Catalan construction company, with a buildable area of more than 32,000 m2. The land is primarily located in L’Hospitalet and has been sold with discounts of more than 40% on the book value.

The transfer of these assets has been performed with the approval of BBVA, Santander and Caixabank, the three main creditors, with which the group owned by the Cornadó family has been negotiating repayment extensions for almost four years. The last missed payment amounted to €20 million and it has been overdue now for several months, which means that the banks are entitled to enforce the loans and repossess the guarantees. Or in other words, to take ownership of Copisa’s shares, and whereby become owners of the company.

(…) At the same time, the company has completed the sale of two other assets linked to the real estate company Neinor, the former subsidiary of Kutxabank, which was acquired by Lone Star last year for almost €1,000 million.

According to official sources, Lone Star, the opportunistic fund that has created the largest real estate company in Spain through its purchase of the non-performing loan portfolio from the German bank Eurohypo for €3,400 million, has also acquired two property developments from Copisa in Barcelona, one on Calle Pintor Alsamora and the other on Plaza de Europa, which together include 110 homes, and have a buildable area of almost 13,000 m2.

In the hands of the three major banks

The company, which has negative equity of €113 million, should technically be wound up. Only the continued extensions from Santander, BBVA and CaixaBank, are allowing it to survive and not have to file for bankruptcy. Copisa’s debt amounts to almost €300 million, whilst its parent company Auro 97 SL, carries liabilities amounting to €420 million. (…).

Original story: El Confidencial (by Agustín Marco)

Translation: Carmel Drake