Sabadell Set to Sell €10bn of Toxic RE in June After Receiving Deluge of Binding Offers

25 May 2018 – El Confidencial

Banco Sabadell has entered the home stretch of its mission to sell all of its toxic property, a rapid process that is expected to be completed in June. The entity has received a deluge of binding offers for the four portfolios that it currently has up for sale – Coliseum, Challenger, Makalu and Galerna – which have a combined gross value of more than €10 billion.

The first two portfolios contain foreclosed assets (REOs) and include Cerberus, Blackstone, Lone Star and Oaktree as potential buyers (in the final round); meanwhile, the other two portfolios comprise secured loans with real estate collateral (NPLs) and their potential buyers include Deutsche Bank, Lone Star, Bain Capital and Oaktree, according to confirmation from several market sources.

These proposals are now with the Steering Committee, which means that, once that body has given its verdict, the process will be passed to the Board of Directors, chaired by Josep Oliu (pictured above, right), which is the body that has to ratify the name of the winner.

In theory, this ruling is going to be issued within a matter of weeks, in June and, in any case, before August. Sources at the entity have declined to comment on either the finalists or the calendar.

Portfolios and the FGD

Having chosen the names of the winners, Sabadell will be able to close the sale of Challenger, the largest of all of these portfolios, with a gross volume of almost €5 billion; it is the only one that does not need approval from the Deposit Guarantee Fund (FGD), given that all of the assets contained therein come from the Catalan entity itself.

By contrast, the €2.5 billion in properties that comprise Coliseum come from the former entity CAM – Caja de Ahorros del Mediterráneo – and, therefore, need to be approved by the FGD, since it would have to cover 80% of the losses. The same applies to Makalu (€2.5 billion in loans) and Galerna (€900 million).

The need to receive this approval means that it is likely that the entity will have to wait until next year to deconsolidate all of these toxic assets, although it will be able to sign a sales agreement conditional upon that authorisation, like BBVA did in the case of the sale agreed with Cerberus last year to transfer all of its property, some of which is also subject to the FGD’s approval.

By contrast, this year, Sabadell could remove almost €5 billion in the form of Challenger from its perimeter, a step forward in terms of fulfilling the requirements of the European Central Bank (ECB), which is putting pressure on Spanish entities to remove the impact of a decade of real estate crisis from their balances sheets.

Solvia is being left out of the sale

At the end of the first quarter, the entity held €14.9 billion in problem assets, down by 17.6% compared to a year earlier, with an average coverage ratio of 55.2% (56.6% for doubtful debt and 53.7% for foreclosed assets), a percentage that serves as a reference for the funds when calculating their offer prices.

With the sale of all of these portfolios, the entity would reduce its real estate exposure to less than €5 billion.  Since the beginning of the crisis, that exposure has been managed by Sabadell’s own servicer: Solvia.

Some of the finalist funds had asked the entity to include Solvia in the transaction, according to Voz Pópuli, but in the end, that possibility has been ruled out by the bank, as it considers that the valuation of its asset manager is higher than the price that would be offered by funds.

In addition, as El Confidencial revealed, the servicer has created its own property developer, Solvia Desarrollos Inmobiliarios, which has €1,252 million in managed assets and which is also finalising an agreement with Oaktree to create a joint venture promoter.

Original story: El Confidencial (by Ruth Ugalde)

Translation: Carmel Drake

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