15 May 2018 – La Vanguardia
Banco Sabadell has definitively completed its divestment from the hotel business by selling off the last of the establishments that did not form part of the package acquired by Blackstone last year. Overall, the bank chaired by Josep Oliu has recorded income of around €35 million from the sale of 11 medium-sized establishments in different parts of Spain. The last one to be sold is the Barceló Estepona, which has been acquired by Hotusa.
In that case, the financial entity has sold the ownership of the property in which the hotel is located. In the majority of cases, the establishments were managed by a specialist company. All of the hotels were left over from the real estate crisis. Sabadell ended up taking ownership of them in recent years in lieu of payments for the debts that their owners had taken out and which they could not repay. In other cases, they were the direct result of mortgage foreclosures for non-payment.
In recent months, the bank led by Jaume Guardiola has been considering several alternatives for its hotel portfolio, including a possible stock market debut. In the end, the entity opted to sell most of the assets owned by the company HI Partners to Blackstone last year. The 11 establishments that were left out of that operation are the ones that have just been sold. In the operation with Blackstone, the bank obtained gains (extraordinary profits) of €55 million from proceeds of €630.7 million. In that deal, it sold establishments such as the ME Sitges Terramar, the Hilton Sa Torre in Mallorca and the Axel Hotel in Madrid to the international fund.
In addition to the Barceló Estepona, the bank has also just divested the following hotels: Barcelona Gate, Margas Golf, Cunit and La Selva. Most of the establishments sold in this final phase were not beachfront properties, nor were they large. Other properties sold recently include the Asta Regia Hotel Jerez de la Frontera acquired by Hotusa, the Aparthotel Augusta in Boí Taüll bought by Kesse Invest, the Balt Hotel Spa in Gijón purchased by Artiem, the Barceló Oviedo acquired by Barceló and the AC Lleida bought by AA Hoteles.
In parallel, the bank is continuing with the process to divest a large proportion of its non-hotel real estate assets that also resulted from the real estate crisis, including those inherited from the now extinct entity CAM. The bank has launched the sale of toxic assets amounting to €10.8 billion through a number of separate operations. It is a significant amount with respect to the €13.5 billion in assets that the bank had registered on its balance sheet at the end of last year.
The CEO Jaume Guardiola also announced last month during the presentation of the entity’s quarterly results that the entity is analysing the future of its real estate subsidiary Solvia. “When there is an opportunity to create value”, it will be sold, explained the director (…).
Original story: La Vanguardia (by Eduardo Magallón)
Translation: Carmel Drake