Sabadell Could Receive up to €400M for Solvia

24 October 2018 – Expansión

Change of tack for Sabadell. The bank has put Solvia up for sale, its real estate subsidiary, which it owns in its entirety, to try to earn €400 million, according to sources familiar with the process. Sabadell has awarded the mandate to sound out offers to Alantra, although other investment banks may also be advising the entity. Sources at the bank preferred not to comment in this regard.

Sabadell has activated the sale of Solvia three months after cleaning up its balance sheet to remove €11.5 billion in toxic assets. At that time, it decided to go against the trend in the sector and not divest its real estate platform, taking advantage of the sale of the portfolios.

Sources at the entity defend that the real estate platform holds significant latent value.

Other sources in the sector estimate that a reasonable price that the bank could obtain for divesting this asset is €200 million. That figure is equivalent to four times its EBITDA, a reference that the market has used for the sale of the property management arms of Servihabitat (CaixaBank) and Aliseda (Popular).

Sabadell’s strategy of separating the sale of the two portfolios from that of Solvia is to maximise revenues.

As is typical in these types of transactions, the final price will depend on whether the management of future toxic loans, known in the financial jargon as NPLs, are included in the sale.

Appetite

Alantra has already received interest from three opportunistic funds. One of the best positioned is Cerberus, according to various financial sources. In fact, the US fund acquired two large portfolios of foreclosed properties (Challenger and Coliseum) from Sabadell in the summer, with a combined gross value of €9.1 billion.

The US fund’s Spanish platform, Haya Real Estate, could gain muscle with the operation to accelerate its plans to debut on the stock market. And it could also benefit from important synergies, given that it already manages almost €40 billion in assets.

Sources at the sector also point to Intrum, the new brand that the Norwegian fund Lindorff is operating under, following its merger with the Swedish firm Intrum Justitia, and a new international player that wants to enter the European market with this operation, whose name has not been revealed.

In theory, the deadline for firm bids for Solvia, through binding offers, will close this month. Nevertheless, Sabadell is already holding very advanced negotiations with a single fund to sign the sale of Solvia, according to sources in the know. Sabadell has been weighing up the sale of its real estate platform for months. Jaime Guardiola, CEO of the bank, admitted at the beginning of the year that it was considering putting it on the market in light of the appetite from the funds for real estate and these platforms.

Solvia manages 148,000 assets, with a value of more than €30 billion. Since 2015, the company has focused on the marketing of new build developments and has put more than 10,000 homes on the market. It has 36 franchises and 18 own centres, which together make 54 offices located all over Spain (…).

Original story: Expansión (by R. Sampedro & S. Saborit)

Translation: Carmel Drake

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