Link Financial Acquires Aiqon Capital Espana

27 October 2017 – Newswire

Yesterday, the Link Financial Group announced that it had bought a specialist loan servicing platform, Aiqon Capital Espana. Based in Madrid, the one hundred and ten people strong team will add further capacity to Link’s existing Spanish business, Link Finanzas. The team will continue to service the €6 billion portfolio of loans bought by the Group’s Investment Manager, LCM Partners.

“Link Financial has been active in the Spanish market since 2004 when it established Link Finanzas. This announcement demonstrates the breadth and depth of opportunity we continue to see in Spain and underscores our commitment to this vibrant market. With a strong, full-service platform in place, we are confident that both businesses, operating under the Link Financial banner, will together grow and build on each other’s strengths. We are proud to welcome our new colleagues to the firm and are excited by the opportunities that this acquisition will offer Link Financial in the Spanish market.” – Selina Burdell, Link Financial Group Chief Operating Officer.

“The acquisition of the Aiqon business has been part of a wider transaction and portfolio purchase concluded by LCM Partners. The Aiqon team bring a depth of expertise in servicing Small to Medium Enterprise receivables and this means they are a seamless addition to our existing business and operation in Spain.

The Spanish market offers a lot of opportunity for businesses such as Link and Aiqon and together we will be stronger and able to offer our banking partners an exceptional proposition in the servicing of loan portfolios.” – Pablo de la Viña, Managing Director, Link Finanzas.

Established in 1998, Link Financial Group is a leading specialist outsourcing firm, providing European financial institutions, investors and other credit providers with outsourced loan management, debt purchase and standby servicing solutions. Today, it manages more than 2.5 million customer accounts, employs 700 people across 10 European offices and manages €25 billion of Gross Book Value.

Link was one of the founding members of the industry and has been at the forefront of innovation ever since. Link’s proprietary operational platform allows its businesses to service a range of asset types from within and outside the financial services industry.

Original story: Newswire 

Edited by: Carmel Drake

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Blackstone Buys 4,500 Rental Homes From Sabadell

13 January 2016 – Expansión

Blackstone has won one of the largest ever real estate auctions and it did so during the final days of 2015. A few weeks ago, the US fund completed the acquisition of 4,500 rental homes from Banco Sabadell, according to financial sources consulted by Expansión.

This represents the largest block sale of homes by a Spanish bank in recent years, given that the sale is still pending of two larger portfolios that Bankia and Ibercaja have put on the market.

The latest operation, which forms part of Project Empire, has now been signed by both parties; a few conditions precedent are still outstanding, but they are expected to be resolved within the next few weeks. Given that the agreement was actually reached in 2015, it will be accounted for within last year’s results, which Banco Sabadell will announce on 29 January.

The portfolio was initially valued at around €600 million, however, after it was first put on the market, the number of flats included in the portfolio decreased from 5,000 to 4,500 (bringing the valuation down to €540 million). The interested funds had been demanding discounts of between 40% and 70% for banks’ portfolios of homes, on the basis of the quality of the assets. In the case of Project Empire, since the homes in the portfolio are all rented out, the price obtained by Sabadell could have been higher, given that Blackstone will obtain regular rental income, as well as taking ownership of the assets.

Firm commitment

This purchase strengthens the US fund’s position in Spain, whose senior advisor is Claudio Boada. The homes will be managed by Blackstone’s real estate subsidiary, Anticipa, the entity formerly known as CatalunyaCaixa Inmobiliaria, led by Eduard Mendiluce. In addition, the fund has three other subsidiaries in Spain, which also manage property investments, namely: Fidere, which focuses on homes for rent (many of which are social housing properties); Logicor, which concentrates on the logistics asset segment; and Multi Development, which specialises in shopping centres.

Blackstone completed its largest ever investment in Spain last year, with the purchase of 40,000 mortgages from Catalunya Banc, worth €6,400 million for €3,600 million. Anticipa manages that portfolio, together with a few others acquired from entities such as CaixaBank, taking the entity’s total assets under management to €10,000 million.

Another one of the most active investors in Spain in recent months has been Oaktree, which competed against Blackstone to take over Sabadell’s portfolio.

For the Catalan entity, this operation allows it to continue improving the quality of its balance sheet through the sale of non-performing assets. Sabadell has reduced the volume of problem assets on its balance sheet by €3,500 million since the start of 2014 ,to €22,350 million at the end of September 2015.

In addition to Project Empire, Sabadell sold other portfolios last year to investors such as Pimco, Aiqon and Sankaty. Altogether, it transferred assets worth €2,400 million to those funds in 2015.

Original story: Expansión (by J. Zuloaga/S. Saborit)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Sankaty Buys CAM’s RE Companies From Sabadell

4 December 2015 – Expansión

The fund Sankaty is finalising the purchase of a large package of real estate subsidiaries from Banco Sabadell, which the entity inherited from CAM. The US investor, which is itself a subsidiary of Bain Capital, has won a competitive auction held as part of Project Chloe, which will be signed before the end of the year, according to market sources.

The operation includes stakes in the companies’ shares, as well as debt, together worth €800 million. According to various sources, the sales price will range between €200 million and €250 million, which represents a discount over the nominal value of around 30%.

By purchasing the companies’ shares and debt, the fund will exert direct control over their real estate assets: land, work-in-progress property developments and finished properties.

This is Sankaty’s second major operation in Spain in 2015. In May, the fund acquired 40 large real estate loans from Bankia, worth €500 million.

Like many other overseas investors, Sankaty is committing itself to the acquisition of land and work-in-progress property developments in the hope of benefitting from the recovery of the Spanish economy, with an improvement that is already taking shape in the real estate market. These funds are joining forces with local property developers and, by purchasing at deep discounts, are hoping to obtain returns on their investments of up to 20%.

For Project Chloe, Sankaty will delegate the management of the assets to Altamira Inmuebles, the management platform owned by Apollo (85%) and Santander (15%), which has advised the fund during the process.

For Sabadell, this divestment is the latest in a series of similar deals undertaken in recent months, such as Project Cadi, which involved the transfer of €240 million of property developer loans to the US giant Pimco and the platform Finsolutia. In addition, it sold a portfolio of written-off receivables worth €800 million to the Malaysian fund Aiqon and it is negotiating the transfer of 3,000 rental homes, as part of Project Empire.

Exposure to real estate

Just like the rest of the Spanish financial sector, Sabadell is trying to reduce its exposure to real estate by combining the sale of homes through its network – its subsidiary Solvia is responsible for this – with the sale of portfolios to large international funds.

The bank, led by Josep Oliu, has one of the highest degrees of exposure to the real estate sector, due, in large part, to its purchase of CAM in 2011, although that was partially covered by an asset protection scheme (un ‘esquema de protección de activos’ or EPA) of up to €14,000 million. The entity has been working for several quarters now to reduce its volume of problem assets, which amounted to €22,350 million in September, and in recent months it has managed to stabilise its balance of foreclosed assets at €9,200 million, i.e. it has reached the point where the amount of (newly foreclosed) properties being incorporated onto its balance sheet is lower than the amount (of previously foreclosed properties) it is selling.

As the entity explained when it presented its results for the third quarter, it sold 7,654 foreclosed assets between January and September 2015, which represented an increase of 6% compared with the same period in 2014, and it achieved this even though it offered lower discounts on those properties compared with prior year.

Original story: Expansión (by J. Zuloaga)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Sabadell Puts €250m NPL Portfolio Up For Sale

29 January 2015 – Expansión

Opportunistic funds / “Project Cadi” includes non-performing loans that the entity once granted to real estate developers

Banco Sabadell is making progress in its strategy to reduce the volume of foreclosed assets and bad debt on its books. The financial group led by Josep Oliu, which today releases its results for 2014, has just put an NPL portfolio worth €250 million up for sale.

According to market sources, the so-called Project Cadi includes non-performing loans that were once granted to real estate developers. Through Solvia, Sabadell is taking a very active role in packaging these types of loans, in the face of strong buyer interest from opportunistic funds that are now active in the Spanish market. At the beginning of the month, the bank already disposed of another portfolio worth €435 million (Project Tritón), which included 630 non-performing loans to small- and medium-sized developers, as well as 700 foreclosed assets in Valencia, Andalucía, Cataluña and the Balearic Islands. This sale was put together through a bond issue, acquired by Deutsche Bank and Hipoges. Sabadell may already be sounding out the market with a view to selling other portfolios over the next few months.

This type of transaction reflects the confidence that funds have in the recovery of the real estate market in Spain. In parallel, banks are interested in this kind of transaction because they lighten their balance sheets and allow them to generate income from assets that are no longer productive and that have already been provisioned. According to sector sources, these transactions are closed with discounts of around 75%, which means that the funds are paying the financial institutions 25% of the nominal value of the loans.

The largest transaction of this kind in Spain was closed in 2014 by Blackstone, which acquired a €6,392 million mortgage portfolio from Catalunya Banc. Lone Star and JP Morgan also bought loans from Eurohypo amounting to €4,500 million. Other funds that have acquired portfolios include Aiqon, Lindorff, Cerberus and Starwood.

Original story: Expansión (by S. Saborit and J. Zuloaga)

Translation: Carmel Drake

BBVA Puts €2.000 Million Of Bad Debts On Sale

12/08/2014 – Expansión

BBVA intends to carry out the largest sale of a portfolio of defaulted loans of individuals and SMEs in Spain since the beginning of the financial crisis. The bank presided by Francisco González has made the first steps towards transferring more than €2.000 million in this type of loan, which will be a landmark event in the sector.

Up until now, the largest transaction completed between banks and foreign investment funds was the one carried out by Catalunya Banc, when it transferred €1.480 million in defaulted loans to the Malaysian investor Aiqon Capital.

One of the main characteristics of the sale by BBVA, known as Project Saturn, is that the majority of the loans are very old, so the funds will offer less money for them.

Unlike other banks, which sell bad debts soon after they are classed as such, BBVA opts to spend a lot of time working to recovery the unpaid loans itself.

Apart from this transaction, the bank is among the least active in the sale of defaulted loans. In the last few years it has always sold portfolios with a lower volume than the sector average. For example, four months ago it sold €180 million of defaulted loans to the Swedish investor Intrum Justitia, and last year it handed over a portfolio of €300 million of defaulted consumer loans to the investment fund York Capital and to Savia Asset Management, the firm of Javier Botín, son of Santander’s president.

Original article: Expansión (by J.Z. Madrid)
Translation: Aura REE

Sabadell Sells 554 Million of Doubtful Debts to Aiqon Capital for €23,3 Million

05/08/2014 – Expansión

Bank Sabadell has completed on Monday the sale of a portfolio of debts which were completed provided against amounting to 554 million euros to the international investor group Aiqon Capital for a price of 23,3 million euros.

The sale is part of a transaction referred to as Project Siroco, and in doing so it transfers the risk of these portfolios, the bank presided by Josep Oliu has announced in a statement.

The general director of Bank Sabadell, Miguel Montes, has pointed out that this transaction is “new evidence of the capacity of the bank to produce transactions which help to reduce the exposure of non-strategic assets.

Furthermore, the transaction, which forms part of the balance sheet transformation strategy, has been carried out by means of a competitive sales process which has generated significant investor demand and which positions the bank as one of the primary operators of this type of portfolio.

The transaction has been managed by the structured transactions team, which belongs to the Institutional Markets Management team of Bank Sabadell’s Asset Management area.

Original article: Expansión
Translation: Aura REE