Sabadell Still Struggling To Digest CAM’s RE

30 January 2017 – El Mundo

Real estate is continuing to weigh down heavily on Banco Sabadell’s balance sheet, above all due to the complications involved in digesting the enormous portfolio of properties that it inherited from CAM, most of which are located in the Community of Valencia. The entity is selling more properties than ever, its revenues have soared, the number of assets being sold exceeds the number of properties being foreclosed and the prices at which it is selling its real estate are continuing to rise, however, the overall impact of the initiative is still generating losses, albeit for the time being. Specifically, Sabadell’s real estate asset business unit lost €908.4 million in 2016, according to the Group’s annual results, which were presented in Barcelona on Friday.

Those losses already reflect the effect of the Asset Protection Scheme (EPA), which the entity relies on to cover 80% of the losses generated by CAM’s real estate portfolio.

The Catalan bank still holds €9,035 million in real estate assets on its balance sheet, which represents just 2% less than at the end of 2015. Most of those properties (land, buildings, homes etc) belong to the stock of loans that it inherited from CAM and are located in that former entity’s areas of operation, in other words, the Community of Valencia and Murcia. Of those €9,035 million real estate assets, €7,166 million stem from foreclosed assets and embargos of construction companies and property developers, which were unable to repay their loans, and of those €3,851 million corresponds to land. In other words, 42% of the entity’s stock is land, the least liquid asset.

Sabadell owns finished homes worth €1,377 million. Moreover, its properties from unpaid mortgages amount to €1,918 million.

Overall, the bank has managed to offset the mass entry of properties onto its balance sheet with an intensification of sales. For example, it closed 2016 with the entry of properties (homes, land, premises, etc) worth €384 million, whilst the sale and divestment of these assets amounted to €457 million. In other words, it is now selling more than it is taking on.

Solvia is working hard too

In addition, Solvia, the bank’s real estate subsidiary, which has its operations centre in Alicante, sold assets worth €1,557 million last year, up by 40% compared to the previous year, with 14,553 operations, i.e. 27% more. The entity said that “the reduction in the sales discount and the overall increase in prices are signs of the recovery”. Last year, Solvia relied on sales of large asset portfolios to institutional investors to improve its ratios. Not in vain, 22% of its sales are made to that kind of buyer. (…).

Original story: El Mundo (by F.D.G.)

Translation: Carmel Drake