Sareb Picks Haya, Servihabitat, Altamira to Service Its €41.6 Bn Worth of Assets

19/12/2014 – Expansion

The bad bank of Spain moves on to outsourcing its major loan and property portfolio management and awards Cerberus, Apollo and TPG with the remaining three lucrative contracts, including 126.000 real estate assets valued jointly at some 41.2 billion euros.

The portfolios, forming Ibero Project, have been specifically given to Haya Real Estate (Spanish arm of Cerberus), Servihabitat (controlled by TPG) and Altamira (85%-owned by Apollo).

The winners will administer and sell the soured assets transferred to Sareb by various banks.

Full management will be ceded on Januay 1st 2015 for a term of five to seven years. Likewise, Sareb will receive around 600 million euros as a warranty for the asset management.

About a month ago, Solvia (Banco Sabadell) was awarded one of the four contracts, compound of 42.900 assets worth 7 billion euros in total.


Original story: Expansión

Translation: AURA REE

Axia Has Acquired An Office And 5 Warehouses For €69.33m

1 August 2014 – Estrategias de Inversión

The largest investment was in Alcobendas (Madrid), where it acquired an office building for €28.75 million.

This is proving to be a busy week for the Socimis – on Thursday, Hispania, Merlin and Lar all reported that they have made a number of investments, amounting to €377.1 million, and these companies are continuing to close transactions on Friday. In addition, Axia has invested €69.33 million buying a number of buildings.

Specifically, the company has announced the purchase of an office building in Alcobendas (Madrid) from IVG Institutional Funds for €28.75 million. The building has a gross leasable area (GLA) of 17,266 square metres, plus 396 parking spaces.

It has also acquired three logistics warehouses located in Cabanillas del Campo (Guadalajara), with a GLA of almost 37,877 square metres, for €16.68 million. Two of the warehouses belonged to Parques Industrialises Nuevas Áreas de Actividad Gran Europa and the other one was owned by Altamira Santander Real Estate.

Finally, Axia has also purchased a warehouse in Azqueca de Henares (Guadalajara) with a GLA of approximately 35,781 square metres and another in Dos Hermanas (Sevilla), with a total GLA of 42,466 square metres, for a total price of €23.90 million.

Original story: Estrategias de Inversión

Translation: Carmel Drake

Apollo to Propel Altamira & EVO By Deals With Catalunya Banc & Sareb

26/05/2014 – ABC

Apollo Management International entered the Spanish financial sector last September with the purchase of EVO Banco, Novagalicia´s branch, for €60 million. Then, in April this year, it acquired 85% of Santander´s real estate servicer Altamira for €664 million.

Now, the fund wants to boost both companies and therefore it has joined the bidding for Catalunya Banc´s offices found outside of Catalonia and expressed readiness to sign management, maintenance or sales contract with Sareb (Spain´s bad bank), to be put up for an auction before summer.

The first deal will enlarge the EVO Banco´s office chain, whereas the other will serve Altamira´s growth.



Original article: ABC (by M. V.)

Translation: AURA REE

Vulture Funds Manage Half of the Banks´ Property

If you have ever wondered of buying property from a bank in upcoming years, the odds are high that the operation will be finalized by a foreign fund called Apollo, TPG or Kennedy Wilson. The international investors already manage 52% of the awarded banking assets after the recent purchases of the two real estate companies: Altamira from Santander Bank and Aliseda from Popular. And it points just the tip of the iceberg.

In the contrary to the recession of 90s, the banks cannot wait to get rid of the real estate ballast and focus on their traditional work: granting credits and taking deposits in.

Inside the strategy, five entities (six if Banesto taken into account) transferred the management of their property to the third-parties: Santander by selling 85% of Altamira to Apollo for 664 millon Euros (with 550 million capital gain); Popular, handing control over Aliseda (valued at 815 million Euros) to Värde Partners and Kennedy Wilson for 415 millons; CaixaBank that sold 51% of ServiHabitat to TPG for up to 189 millons; Bankia that transferred its real estate company to Cerberus for about 90 millons; and Catalunya Banc that did the same, selling to Kennedy and Värde property valued at 60 millon Euros.

(…) In the next 10 years the funds will be responsible for administration and commercialization of 82.000 properties dumped into banks during the recession, valued at 20.000 million Euros.


Answering the question “what´s in it for the foreign funds?”: their aim is to become super real estate companies and sell their business once Spain recovers from the crisis. Thus, not only are they interested in banks´platforms but also they are acquiring debt of the large companies of the sector: for instance Realia, Colonial or Metrovacesa.

Vulture funds usually invest for five to ten years, planning to sell when the real estate sector revives. (…) In Spain a race among the funds may be observed, running for positioning themselves as benchmark real estate managers. (…)

At the moment the most successful competitor is the consortium of Kennedy Wilson and Värde Partners, managing 25.000 million Euros in assets and loans. TPG, Apollo and Cerberus follow the funds at a distance.

Pending Transactions

(…) Sabadell gave clues of selling Solvia, the biggest real estate company after absorbing CAM. BBVA has not shown any inclination to get rid of Anida. Another real estate company bound to change the owner soon is the one of NCG, that has been already put on sale few months ago.

Source: Expansión

Santander Will Receive 550 Million Euros for Sale of 85% of Altamira to Apollo

Santander will close in the forthcoming days the sale of one of the biggest real estate platforms in Spain. The entity chaired by Emilio Botín will earn around 550 million Euros for transferring 85% of its branch associated with the real estate, Altamira, to the U.S. fund  Apollo Global Management, according to the sources close to the operation.

When Santander and Apollo put their signatures of the document, the operation will become the one of the greatest in terms of money involved, just after the Popular Bank´s handing Aliseda to two U.S. funds for 415 million Euros. Still the entity chaired by Ángel Ron holds huge percentage of its real estate subsidary, 49% on basis of the agreement between him and Värde Partners and Kennedy Wilson.

The pact between Santander and Apollo involves transfer of Altamira´s staff – about 500 people – and a 10-year management contract. According to it, the U.S. fund will be obliged to manage and sell the property awarded to Santander and its non-performing loans. (…)

Apollo will not disburse all in cash but it will pay with help of the consortium of banks´financing. Santander itself belongs to the consortium.

The director of the U.S. fund Leon Black had already announced in an interview for Expansión that he would invest 1.000 million Euros in Spain between 2013 and 2015. Apart from Altamira it acquired Evo from NCG for 60 millions and Finanmadrid from Bankia for 1.6 million Euros. (…)

Apollo took part in the auction of Altamira, known as the Bison Project, together with 3 other main funds investing in Spain: Cerberus, Centerbridge and Starwood.

The transaction gives Santander a chance to earn great captial gains in a single year which previously brought it some losses. (…)

Santander reduced the weight of the real estate company´s balance last year, changing it from 15.450 millons to 11.420 millions between September 2012 and September 2013, according to the entity´s data.

Source: Expansión

Santander sells its real estate company Altamira to the Apollo fund for nearly 700 million Euros.

The financing matters are still pending but, if nothing goes wrong, the investment fund Apollo will close the most important acquisition in Spain. The firm with headquarters in New York  has won  the  auction on Altamira Real Estate, the real estate division of  Banco Santander, committing to pay nearly 700 million Euros. Official sources have declined any comments, as the final price is still subject to finance matters.

After a process of less than three months, Santander is again the first institution to get rid of its real estate business (development and management of assets). The existing interest in the market encouraged the bank presided over by Emilio Botín to hire PwC to manage the sale  after  the  summer. As  in  other  auctions  of  financial or  real  estate  assets,  those interested in the operation were the same great investors.

At the end, Apollo signed last Friday the letter of intentions which grants exclusivity over the other contestant, Centerbridge (owner of Aktua, the former recovery company from Banesto), in order to finalize the investment. The funds like Cerberus (Bankia Habitat) and Starwood did not reach the final stage, as they were worse than the main offers, after including  real  estate  assets,  as  well  as  the  management  contract  of  the  properties, operative structure and staff included.

Should this operation be completed, Apollo would become one of the most active investors in the market. At the beginning of the crisis, the NY firm landed in our country with the acquisition of  different portfolios of  consumer credits from  Bank of  America. Later, its managers succeeded in the acquisition of EVO Bank, the banking business of Novagalicia Banco developed under that brand outside Galicia, Asturias and Leon, for an amount around 60 million Euros.

Right now, the type of assets is rather different. Altamira Real Estate is one of the biggest real estate companies in the market. In April 2012, the institution with headquarters in Boadilla del Monte merged its subsidiary with Mesena, the specialized unit from Banesto, creating a giant that manages properties (under construction or finished) with a value of more than 3500 million Euros. (…)

Once this was carried out, it was necessary to enhance the commercial capacity of the subsidiary. For this reason, Santander extended the auction campaign until the end of the year, through Altamira´s web, for a catalogue of 5000 properties, garage spaces, storage rooms or  offices. This aggressive selling strategy has made it  possible to  sell 11800 properties during the first nine months of the year.


Source: El Confidencial

Four funds reach the final stage in the acquisition of Altamira

The list of candidates to acquire the real estate subsidiary of Santander is getting smaller.  The bank presided over by Emilio Botín has named four funds which will have total access to Altamira´s data and that will compete to manage the properties of the group during the next ten years.  They are Cerberus, Apollo, Centerbridge and Starwood, according to sources close to the operation.

The first three, all US funds, were in all the bets to reach the stage of the binding offers.

The surprise has come with Starwood, the biggest international venture capital fund – owning all assets of the hotel chain with its name – which had not landed in Spain yet.  And according to financial sources, it is here to stay, as its offer was the most generous one from the four submitted.

The other three candidates are veterans in the Spanish market. Cerberus did not want to lose this operation, as it would mean becoming  the biggest real estate management company in Spain, after Sareb.  The US fund has recently acquired the management of Bankia´s properties, after acquiring its real estate company for 90 million Euros. To join Altamira and Bankia Habitat would mean the leadership in Spain.

Apollo also has a lot to lose in this operation. After the acquisition of Evo Banco and Finanmadrid, this fund only misses a real estate division  to be a baking competitor in Spain.

On the other hand Centerbridge would also take a leap after acquiring Aktua, the property management company of Banesto, last year. This fund is one of the most active ones in Spain.

Once the four final contestants are chosen, these will have nearly a month to analyze the operation in detail and present the final offers. The operation will be closed in December, as Santander wishes to complete this disinvestment before the end of the year.

The operation, known as Bison Project, includes the real estate management platform, with its 250 to 300 workers, and an exclusive contract for the sale of properties for 10 years. (…)

Santander negotiates the sale of Altamira with ten international funds.

“You establish the price. Tell us how much”. This slogan, used in Altamira´s last campaign, fits perfectly with the sale process started by the institution presided over by Emilio Botín in order to transfer this subsidiary. This disinvestment is now the operation of the year among international funds, which see Altamira as the biggest real estate platform to grow in the Spanish market.

Nearly ten foreign investors have shown their interest in Santander´s real estate company and could present in the next few days their non-binding offer for the Bison Project, as the operation has been officially named.

The sale includes the real estate management platform of Santander, with its 250-300 workers, and an exclusive agreement for the sale of properties for around ten years. The fund which acquires Altamira will manage and sell the properties awarded by Santander – the webpage includes around 15.000- and the failed real estate credits. Initially there have been talks of including the transfer of some portfolios of awarded assets, but this option has been finally discarded.

The Bison Project will not only mean that the winner will become the manager of the properties of the biggest Spanish financial group, it will also be the entrance key to manage the assets of the bad bank in the future. Santander is the biggest private shareholder of this company, only behind the Restructuring Fund, with 17% of the capital.

This expectancy has been a decoy for funds such as Cerberus, which already has a real estate company in Spain: Bankia Habitat, acquired in September for 90 million Euros. Altamira would provide this investor the leadership in the Spanish real estate sector and it would allow it to enter the management of Sareb. This fund already acquired 350 million Euros in mortgages from the bank presided over by Botín last year.

Centerbridge also has experience in closing agreements with Santander. It acquired Aktua, the recovery management company of Banesto, in 2012.

For the fund Apollo, this operation would mean completing the recent acquisition of Evo Banco with a real estate platform. This management company has the intention of investing up to 1.000 million Euros in Spain in the next few years.

Meanwhile, for Lone Star it would mean the first great operation in Spain after losing the first sale of Sareb, the Operation Bull, at the very last moment. This fund acquired 140 million Euros in credits from Santander in the same operation as Cerberus.

There are other funds specialized in real estate operations which cannot be discarded, such as TPG, which has acquired Servihabitat, from CaixaBank, for up to 189 million Euros; Kennedy Wilson and Värde Partners, which has acquired the real estate company of Catalunya Banc; and Fortress, which has recently acquired Lico.

Morgan Stanley, who tried to acquire a portfolio of real estate assets from Santander valued at 3.000 million Euros in the Operation Scuderia, is also present in the pools. The differences in prices and the reservations from the Bank of Spain blocked the sale.

Since then the restructuring driven by Economy in 2012 has allowed banks and foreign funds to get closer. The Spanish institutions are opting for transferring their real estate platforms first, as a first step to sell great packages of homes.

At the same time, the institutions have accelerated the sale of properties through their commercial network. Santander transferred 33.500 properties last year and has sold another 4.500 in the first quarter of 2013. The institution has a target of closing the year with 20.000 properties sold. Thanks to these operations, the net exposure of the bank to the construction sector has decreased down to 11.600 million Euros, from the 24.900 million Euros at the end of 2011.

Foreign funds aim to buy Spanish property managers before market awakens.

Foreign investors are preparing bids for the property management units of several Spanish banks, hoping to break decisively into a real estate market that has brought few bargain housing deals for funds even after five years of a price slump.

U.S. investment firms Cerberus Capital Management CBS.UL, Centerbridge Partners and Lone Star are among those preparing to join a preliminary round of bidding for Santander’s SAN.MC Altamira Real Estate, two sources familiar with the matter said.

The Altamira deal, which would give the successful bidder a team of managers and a contract to handle Santander’s property sales but would not include real estate assets on the bank’s books, is the latest of several similar moves by rivals.

Most Spanish banks are contracting out the units, or selling them, to raise cash without parting with foreclosed housing that they own, which foreign investors want to buy but only at very low prices.

The first bids for Altamira are due on Thursday, the two sources said. Lone Star declined to comment. Cerberus and Centerbridge did not respond to requests for comment.

Spanish lenders were hit hard by a real estate boom which turned to bust in 2008, landing the banks with soured loans to developers and forcing them to foreclose on properties.

The banks were told by the government to make steep writedowns on property exposures last year, leaving some short of capital and forcing Spain to request a 41 billion euro ($55 billion) bailout from Europe for the weakest lenders.

The writedowns had sparked hopes among international investors that banks would start offloading big bundles of properties, unfreezing Spain’s real estate market, but few deals have come yet through.

“Ask and offer prices (for property portfolios) are much closer now, …. but at the very, very cheap levels funds are interested in banks still think “I can’t, it’s a loss’,” said Manuel Anguita of Aguila Capital, which brokers deals between banks and investors.

The interest shown by foreign investors was welcomed in the Spanish real estate sector as a sign of serious commitment.

“These types of deals are a very good sign – no-one buys a platform to stay in a country for a year,” said Fernando Acuna of property management firm Taurus Iberica.

“These will give the funds a deep knowledge of what is going on…and allow them to manage other assets they might buy which don’t belong to the bank.”


Several banks have relinquished their property management operations in recent weeks, which will let them refocus on their core business.

Cerberus picked up the contract to manage properties and developer loans for state-rescued Bankia BKIA.MC, paying between 40 million and 90 million euros to run the property business over 10 years.

The Altamira deal – dubbed ‘project bison’ by bankers after prehistoric paintings at the Altamira caves near Santander – could be worth more, one source said.

Santander declined to comment.

Mid-sized lender Sabadell SABE.MC could look to sell its real estate arm Solvia in the coming months, according to two other sources familiar with that deal.

Sabadell said there was no existing mandate to sell the unit but it did not rule out studying it in future.

International investors want to buy the businesses to reap commissions from sales and gain platforms with which to manage other assets they might pick up in Spain, bankers and real estate experts said.

Real estate prices appear closer to hitting the bottom, Acuna at Taurus Iberica said, after a slump of some 40 percent in five years. That could help funds finally buy more portfolios as buyers and sellers get a clearer idea of price prospects.

A ‘bad bank’ created to manage real estate assets of rescued lenders is also stepping up sales of bundles of properties.

“Ultimately these (property management) platforms will probably be brought together and we’ll end up with three dominating this market in a few years,” said one Madrid-based investment banker.

Santander creates a subsidiary to speed up the sale of properties.

Santander wishes to speed up the sale of its portfolio of properties with a new organization of this activity. For this reason it has founded a new subsidiary, Altamira Real Estate Distribution, which will be in charge of the commercialization of these products.

The new institution takes on all commercial competences which until now had been in the hands of the real estate company of the group, Altamira Real Estate, which will from now on concentrate on administrative tasks.

The subsidiary starts with a capital of 2,5 million Euros. Its president, Eduardo Quintana, holds the same position in the real estate company of the group, but the members of the board are different in the two institutions.

The target of Altamira Real Estate Distribution is to reach a greater specialization in the sale of properties, one of the main objectives of the group.

The requirements of efficiency when getting rid of this type of assets are greater after the entrance of Sareb into the market. , which has received properties from the weaker institutions and that will progressively get rid of them in the next fifteen years. Anyhow,  the institution declares that Sareb is not a direct competitor and will not condition its offer, as both institutions target different markets.

Santander offers 8766 new and second hand properties in the website of Altamira Real Estate, scattered around Spain. Valencia, with 841, is the city with more assets. Las Palmas, with 72 and Barcelona with 640, follow.

The institution has launched a campaign with discounts of 25% on the market price. These discounts are a constant in most real estate subsidiaries from banks in order to adjust to the market situation and the fall of prices.

Santander sold last year 33500 properties with a discount of 51%. These operations reduced its exposure to the construction business (12500 million Euros in 2012 from the 24900 million Euros at the end of 2011) after the effort in provisions carried out by the institution.

During the first quarter of 2013, the bank has gotten rid of 4500 properties and its target is to close the year with the sale of 20000.

Altamira Real Estate, the bad bank of Santander, had losses of 609 million Euros last year and the group carried out a capital extension of 987 million Euros in order to restore its financial situation. The capital of the real estate company after these operations reaches 1112 million Euros.

The group has contributed to the social housing fund with 590 properties to rent. Santander has contributed with 441 and Banesto, with 149.

The fund has 5981 properties scattered around 33 financial institutions, the rural saving banks included. Bankia is the one that has contributed more, with thousand properties, followed by BBVA, with nine hundred properties, and Caixabank with a total of 943.

This method was created at the beginning of the year with the drive of several Ministries, the Bank of Spain and the Spanish Federation of Municipalities.

Source: Expansión