Criteria Cuts Ties With Servihabit & Will Manage Its Own Properties

2 June 2017 – Expansión

Criteria Caixa has taken another step forward in the process to deconsolidate itself from CaixaBank. The holding company that owns stakes in subsidiaries of the La Caixa Banking Foundation (Fundación Bancaria La Caixa) has decided to internalise the management of its real estate assets, a function that until now have been performed by Servihabitat.

That servicer is owned in part (51%) by the US fund TPG and the remaining 49% stake is owned by CaixaBank. According to sources, Criteria will have to indemnify Servihabitat for the early termination of the contract with a payment amounting to €34.5 million.

The original agreement between the two companies was signed in 2014 and the contract still has six years left to run, given that it is due to terminate in 2023. The document included a clause to cover the possibility of an early termination in exchange for the payment of compensation, which has now been agreed by mutual agreement between the two parties.

The properties owned by Criteria account for around 7% of the total volume of the portfolio that Servihabitat has under management. The company also manages the properties foreclosed by CaixaBank, but its aim over the last few years has been to increase its client base by incorporating new portfolios onto its platform. The servicer took a giant leap when it was awarded the management of several portfolios by Sareb, comprising real estate assets from Novacaixagalicia, Liberbank and Banco de Valencia.

In 2016, the assets managed by Servihabitat increased by 4.8%, to reach 239,132 units, with a value of almost €50,000 million. The company recorded turnover of €285 million, up by 14.8%, thanks to the sale of homes worth €1,645 million, up by 11%.

Portfolio of €2,842 million

Criteria, which is chaired by Isidro Fainé, considers the decision to move to directly managing its own real estate assets, worth €2,842 million, to be strategic. Of the total amount €515 million – 18% of the total – are assets allocated for sale; €1,021 (36%) correspond to the land portfolio – noteworthy plots include those adjoining Port Aventura park –; and €728 million (26%) relate to rental properties. Finally, another €578 million (20%) constitute assets allocated to La Caixa Banking Foundation’s affordable housing programs.

Original story: Expansión (by S. Saborit)

Translation: Carmel Drake

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