Sareb Puts Spain’s Largest Ever NPL Portfolio Up For Sale

7 November 2017 – Voz Pópuli

Sareb wants to star in the largest sale to date of non-performing loans in Spain. The company chaired by Jaime Echegoyen has put a portfolio of unpaid loans worth €2,600 million up for sale, according to financial sources consulted by Vozpópuli. It hopes to sell the portfolio before the end of the year and since it contains NPLs that are recognised off-balance sheet, all of the consideration paid will correspond to profits.

This operation has been baptised as Project Dune and is being advised by KPMG. Until now, the largest sale of an unsecured non-performing loan portfolio was completed by BBVA in 2014, when it sold a portfolio worth €1,700 million to Deutsche Bank.

Non-performing loans are credits that have been written off by the banks, which remove them from their balance sheets after recognising 100% provisions against them. In the case of Sareb, they are what is known in the market as mortgage tails: essentially, they are loans that remained uncollected following the execution of a real estate loan. These loans are purchased by opportunistic funds at significant discounts, of between 95% and 97%, which try to recover the maximum amount by taking the debtors to court. Since they are fully provisioned, the entire amount that Sareb receives from this sale will be recognised as profits.

Project Dune actually comprises two sub-portfolios: Pilat, containing 2,261 unsecured non-performing loans to 1,500 small- and medium-sized property developers, worth €2,442 million; and Kirbus, containing 115 loans secured by real estate, with a combined nominal value of €176 million.

In this way, the second sub-portfolio has almost 1,000 properties as collateral, of which around half are apartments, located primarily in Barcelona, A Corñua and Madrid. Half of the Dune portfolio is located in Cataluña, the Community of Valencia and Aragón.

On the basis of the prices that tend to be paid in this market, Sareb could end up generating revenues/gross profits of between €125 million and €175 million from this sale, depending on the degree of interest that the portfolio sparks amongst the funds and the level of competition between them.

Project Dune is not the only deal that Sareb has underway since it also has other portfolios worth more than €1,000 million on the market. The largest process currently in progress is known as Project Inés, containing €400 million, whose purchase is being finalised by Deutsche Bank. The bad bank typically uses these types of operations towards the end of the year to balance its budget and generate higher revenues to allow it to pay off some of its debt.

This sale is being coordinated by the prestigious portfolio team at KPMG, led by Carlos Rubí. Most of the team came from PwC and joined the firm in 2014.

Original story: Voz Pópuli (by Jorge Zuloaga)

Translation: Carmel Drake

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