13 September 2016 – Expansión
Ibercaja is still putting the shine on its balance sheet ahead of its IPO, which is expected to take place at the end of next year or the beginning of 2018. Having transferred the administration and sale of 14,000 real estate assets to the platform Aktua in February, it is now on the verge of getting rid of all of its non-strategic holdings.
According to sources at the group, the bank has divested more than 200 business projects since 2012, which has allowed it to reduce its volume of portfolio investments by approximately €285 million. But the most important achievement is that it has now managed to finalise the investment plan inherited from Caja 3, as defined by Brussels, when that entity received public aid in 2012. 129 companies from the former savings banks were identified with an investment volume of €153 million, which means that Ibercaja is fulfilling all the requirements.
Nevertheless, it still needs to return that aid. Caja 3 received €386 million in contingent convertible bonds (CoCos) signed by the FROB, of which Ibercaja returned €20 million in March. The remaining balance has to be repaid between March and December 2017.
These divestments represent one of the pillars of Ibercaja’s strategic plan for 2015-17, together with the repayment of the aid; the issue of €500 million in subordinated debt from last year; the sale of problem debt to property developers; the transfer of its real estate assets to Aktua; and this year, its growth plan in Madrid; and its digitalisation plan, for which it has signed a strategic agreement with Microsoft.
In fact, within its specific divestment plan for 2015-2017, approximately 100 companies were identified as possible divestment targets, whereby reducing the volume of its investment portfolio by approximately €180 million. Currently, according to sources at the group, it has divested 53 companies, including total and partial sales. In total, it has decreased its investment in corporate projects by €68 million, with a positive contribution to the group’s consolidated result of €10 million. Its profits amount to €23 million since 2012. Meanwhile, sources at the group added that capital amounting to €27 million has also been freed up. In total, own funds have increased by €50 million.
In addition to the sale of Gestión de Inmuebles Salduvia, which was included in the agreement reached with Aktua in February this year, Ibercaja’s other major divestments include, by order of importance: the divestment of the Naturiber Group (specialising in the meat sector), Portobelio and Ahorro Corporación Infraestructuras (private equity funds), Ahorro Corporación Gestión (the fund manager), Titulización de Activos, Imaginarium (the toy retailer) and ATCA (a technology development company).
Over the next few years, Ibercaja plans to continue executing its divestment plan, which involves more than 50 additional sales, which will allow it to reduce its portfolio by approximately €112 million more, with the resulting positive impact on the income statement and an efficient allocation of capital.
Ibercaja reported profits of €72.3 million during the first six months of 2016, up by 3.7% compared to a year earlier, thanks to the sale of its real estate arm, as well as sales of debt.
Original story: Expansión (by D. Badía)
Translation: Carmel Drake