Sareb Plans To Return €6,000M To Its Shareholders

16 June 2016 – Expansión

Sareb has a business plan on the table that involves returning its shareholders all of their investments, including an annualised return of between 1% and 2%. According to the explanation provided yesterday by the Chairman of the company, Jaime Echegoyen, these plans involve paying back €6,000 million to the banks and insurance companies that hold its share capital, together with the Fund for Restructuring (the Frob).

Between 2012 and 2013, those shareholders invested €4,800 million in Sareb – €1,200 million in share capital and €3,600 million in subordinated debt. The investors have already written off around three quarters of that amount.

Echegoyen, who was speaking yesterday at an event organised by UIMP, Apie and BBVA, did not specify whether the €6,000 million would be returned in cash or by handing over assets that the bad bank has not been able to sell by the time it has to be wound up, November 2027.

The Chairman of Sareb praised the role of the entities that supported the creation of the company, all of the major banks with the exception of BBVA. (…). The company’s most senior executive said that it was “time to help the whole country” (…).

Podemos’ plans

Echegoyen also made reference to the possibility that Sareb may be converted into a public housing stock, as proposed by (the political party) Podemos, something that in his opinion would have serious consequences for the Spanish economy.

“I don’t think we should forget that Sareb owes €43,000 million. If anyone wants to do anyhing with Sareb, they would have to deal with Parliament first and then Brussels”, he explained, before adding that “those €43,000 million would mean raising the deficit by 4 percentage points”.

Meanwhile, Sareb’s Chairman reported that the company has now sold 35,000 properties since it was created, although the rate of sales has decelerated slightly in 2016, to 25 homes per day, compared with the average of 27 since 2013. Despite that, he said that “we are performing in line with budget” and he maintained the goal to “stop losing money in 2017”.

This slight slowdown has happened despite the fact that the real estate market is experiencing a “sweet moment”, according to Echegoyen. This is reflected by the fact that new, more conservative, investors, “such as Socimis, family offices, insurance companies and private banks have covered the gap left by the opportunists”.

The importance of property

According to the executive, low interest rates are encouraging investors to pay attention to real estate assets. “Property is intrinsic to human beings, above all Spaniards”, he said. “Banks are still granting finance, but are no longer allowing any nonsense”, he added.

The Chairman of Sareb acknowledges that competition is being felt from other banks when it comes to selling properties, although he pointed out that the financial institutions are in more of a hurry to sell given the pressures (they face) from the stock market and capital requirements.

“We have time, a trump card, on our side, which lasts for the next 12 years. Furthermore, we are never going to be listed on the stock exchange, which means that we are not subject to pressure from the financial markets”, he noted.

Original story: Expansión (by J. Z. and S. A.)

Translation: Carmel Drake

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