14 July 2015 – Cinco Días
The Aragonese entity is currently managing three separate divestments
Ibercaja wants to clean up its balance sheet and diversify its business before it goes public at the end of 2016. The entity currently has real estate assets worth €2,300 million up for sale under three separate transactions. Ibercaja wants to retain its independence by listing on the stock exchange. The deadline for the presentation of non-binding offers for the portfolio known as Project Kite is this week.
Ibercaja has its mind made up. It does not want to participate in any mergers and is even less willing to be absorbed by another, larger entity. “A few years ago, they tried to include us in mergers through the SIP, but we were not at all convinced. We wanted to retain our independence and that is still our plan”, say sources at the bank when asked about a possible merger with the other medium-sized banks (such as Unicaja, BMN, Ibercaja, Kutxabank, Abanca, Liberbank, Cajamar and Bankinter). The entity chaired by Amado Franco plans to go public at the end of 2016, and it has already engaged KPMG to conduct the relevant studies with that objective in mind. The decision to go public is closely linked to the “Law on Banking Foundations”, which forces the former savings banks to go public if they do not want to be penalised with a reserve fund because their foundations control more than 50% of their capital. The ECB is also putting pressure on these entities to list and or/merge.
One of the main objectives of Ibercaja’s strategic plan for 2015-2017 is the divestment of unprofitable assets. A few days ago, it sold a portfolio of non-performing loans amounting to €200 million, for which it pocketed just over €10 million. Now it has out Project Goya on the market, with assets amounting to around €900 million, in the form of debt to property developers, secured by homes, according to reports from Idealista.
This transaction comes just a few weeks after the entity put Project Kite on the market, which includes mortgage loans from 124 property developers, amounting to around €800 million. In fact, this week sees the deadline for interested investors to submit their non-binding offers. Moreover, during the first six months of the year, the entity sold 1,971 properties through its real estate platform, Salduvia.
Those sales were generated in a homogeneous way across the whole country. The figure represented a 12% increase on the sales recorded a year earlier and represented the divestment of 25% of the stock that the entity had for sale. These transactions have been closed with an overall discount of 4% on the appraisal value of the assets and have generated a positive result on the net book value of €6 million. Salduvia’s sales forecasts for this year stand at 4,300 homes, i.e. 75% of the stock that is currently available for sale and an increase of 20% on the sales recorded in 2014, which amounted to 3,558 units. That sales figure would represent a reduction in real estate risk of €650 million.
Original story: Cinco Días (by Ángeles Gonzalo Alconada)
Translation: Carmel Drake