26 January 2017 – Expansión
Sabadell was the only Spanish bank to have its own stand at Fitur. The entity’s decision to physically attend the tourism sector’s major annual meeting reflects its desire to consolidate its position as the key player in this business segment, which is so strategic for the Spanish economy.
Two years ago, the bank chaired by Josep Oliu decided to launch Sabadell Negocio Turístico, a specialist division that has allowed it to secure a market share of 31% and increase the volume of financing it has granted to the sector to €4,500 million.
Over the last two years, the granting of loans to tourism companies has grown by €1,500 million, according to José María Martín Rigueiro, Director General of this business unit.
According to the executive, 90% of this volume is used to finance hotel purchases and the remaining 10% corresponds to loans used for renovation projects and energy efficiency improvement plans in tourist establishments. Nevertheless, in terms of the number of transactions, the proportion is inverse, in other words, 90% of the loans (by number) are granted for renovations and 10% for acquisitions.
More than 13,500 clients
“We have positioned ourselves as a key player in the whole sector, given that we are the only bank to offer a specific value proposition for financing tourist services and products. Moreover, it is suitable for large hotel chains, as well as the smallest of rural hotels”, said Martín Rigueiro.
Thanks to its specialist agents, Banco Sabadell is growing its client portfolio by 7% per annum and is now collaborating with 13,500 companies, including hotel groups, campsites, travel agents and tour operators. Moreover, its net investment balance is increasing at an annual rate of more than 10% and the volume of client resources managed is growing by more than 25% each year. The objective for this year is to grow its client portfolio by 8% and to increase its credit investment by 10%.
“At Fitur, we were breathing an environment of maximum optimism; the hotel sector is expected to grow this year, in terms of both occupancy rates, as well as average room rates”, explained the Director of Sabadell Negocio Turístico.
The banker also attested to the strong interest from international funds keen to invest in hotel assets in Spain. Investors are managing returns of between 9% and 18%, said Martín Rigueiro. (…). The greatest interest is being seen in the vacation hotel segment, as well as in the urban segment, in major capital cities.
Financing for hotel purchases is being provided across the board: to investment funds, Spanish family offices, individual investors, as well as hotel chains. 90% of the sectors largest players are clients of Banco Sabadell, and the bank now also has a market share of 45% in the SME tourism segment.
According to Sabadell, the default rate of new loans granted to hotels since the crisis is very low, given that operations are no longer being leveraged on the basis of the value of the underlying real estate assets, but rather on the basis of the business plans and income statements of the establishments. (…).
In parallel to this specialist business unit, Sabadell also operates in the hotel sector through HI Partners, a hotel investment and management company.
Original story: Expansión (by Sergi Saborit)
Translation: Carmel Drake