18 February 2016 – Cinco Días
Spanish banks sold non-core assets amounting to €15,800 million in 2015. Spain accounts for 17% of transactions in Europe. Sabadell, Bankia, CaixaBank and SAREB were those most active. The sales pace will go on in 2017.
Investors keep betting on the purchase of non-core assets sold by European banks, with UK on the lead. In total, these sales in Europe accumulated a record of EUR 104,000 million over the past year, the highest level since 2008 according to the European Debt Sales report prepared by KPMG.
Spanish financial institutions divested some EUR 15,800 million, representing 17% of total asset portfolio transactions considered non-core carried out in the continent. Despite these sales, the financial sector still has some 238,000 million in non-performing assets (including doubtful and foreclosed), according to June Data from International Financial Analysts (AFI).
Sabadell, Bankia, CaixaBank and SAREB are so far the Spanish entities making the greater efforts to clean up their balance sheet through divestments of non-core asset portfolios. Bankia and Sabadell remain, however, the hottest sellers in the Spanish market, with one third of the transactions. As a novelty, BBVA has made its first sales over the past year, which brought its first market secured portfolio, an operation called Proyecto Liceo. And BMN with two projects, Neptuno and Pampa.
United Kingdom was the country with the highest sales activity during past year. Debt portfolio divestments totaled EUR 39,000 million. KPMG´s report, one of the most active companies in this type of transaction keeps that Spain has embarked on a path of deleveraging and economic recovery which makes it an interesting country for investors, this way competing closer to UK and Ireland – the latter with sales of EUR 25,000 million over last year. The same applies to Italy, where the amount of transactions totaled 13,300 million, largely from sales of real estate assets owned by its banks. Divestments in UK and Ireland are related to assets included in their “bad banks”. As an example, the study notes that the British entity managing problematic assets in the UK sold through Granite Project a portfolio of EUR 18,000 million to Cerberus Fund.
Despite strong sales, investors keep their interest in Europe in general and particularly in Spain, especially in the purchase of loan portfolios. Ongoing projects in the continent total 44,000 million. The report also reveals that the pace of this activity will go on in 2017, partly due to access to funding at very low interest rates.
The partner responsible for the sale of KPMG´s Corporate Finance portfolios in Spain, Carlos Rubí, stressed that Spain and Italy, “are increasingly active and attracting the investor´s appetite at the expense of UK and Ireland.”
Original story: Cinco Días (by A. Gonzalo)
Translation: Aura Ree