20 March 2018 – Expansión
Sareb has decided to emulate the large financial institutions and find a partner to help it digest its portfolio of foreclosed assets. The entity chaired by Jaime Echegoyen (pictured below) has decided to create a vehicle into which it will place loans with real estate guarantees (known as NPLs) and in which it will retain a minority stake.
Into this joint company, Sareb will place loans with a gross value of €10 billion, although the definitive figure has not been finalised yet, explain sources in the sector. It would be the largest sale ever made by the company that was itself created with assets proceeding from the intervened banks, and loans with all different kinds of real estate guarantees would be included: from land to tertiary assets. Sareb’s objective is to open up this new company to one or more financial partners and it has engaged the firms EY and CBRE to lead the negotiations. The process is still in a preliminary analysis phase, but the aim is to close it during the second half of the year or at the beginning of 2019.
In making their preliminary contacts, the consultancy firms have approached the main international funds and managers with investments in the Spanish real estate sector to gauge their possible interest in this portfolio, which will initially be called Project Ebro. Once investors have confirmed their interest in the vehicle, thought will be given to defining how the alliance will be forged, say sources in the sector. Possible interested parties include investment giants such as Cerberus, Bain Capital, Blackstone, Apollo, Kennedy Wilson and Goldman Sachs. With Project Ebro, Sareb would be following in the footsteps of entities like Santander, which has reached an agreement with Blackstone to create the company Quasar, with real estate assets proceeding from its purchase of Popular.
In that case, the US fund owns a 51% stake, whilst Santander retains 49% of the shares.
This is not the only loan portfolio that Sareb currently has up for sale. The company has three other processes underway, although Ebro, given its size, is the star project. In this regard, it has engaged Arcano to sell the Nora portfolio, comprising non-performing loans (NPL) backed by residential collateral worth around €400 million; the Vilasoa portfolio, which includes €300 million in loans secured by land; and project Dune, a portfolio that has been relaunched in 2018 comprising €2.6 billion in unsecured loans. In that case, Sareb has engaged PwC to coordinate the sale.
These processes are happening in parallel to the search for a partner to strengthen its property development business. In that case, Sareb is holding talks with large real estate companies and funds with activity in the residential sector with the aim of working together on the development of buildable land and construction projects in progress.
In total, that portfolio is worth around €800 million and Sareb would contribute those assets to a company in which its partner would hold a majority stake.
Original story: Expansión (by Rocío Ruiz)
Translation: Carmel Drake