Spain’s Banks Prepare To Sell RE Portfolios Worth €6,000M

2 October 2017 – Cinco Días

Spain’s banks are reducing their exposure to the real estate sector, step by step, under pressure from the European Central Bank and the Bank of Spain. Five entities plus Sareb are currently preparing portfolios to divest some of their properties, worth almost €6,000 million in total.

Most of the portfolios include doubtful loans or NPLs (non-performing loans) although in some cases, they also include real estate assets, most of which have been foreclosed.

After selling Popular’s assets to Blackstone, Santander is now preparing to sell a portfolio, dubbed Titán by the entity chaired by Ana Botín, through the platform Altamira that it shares with Apollo. The portfolio is worth around €400 million, according to sources familiar with the process, and is being structured as an “online shop window”, open to all potential buyers. The bank received an enormous boost in August with the sale of 51% of Popular’s real estate (primarily NPLs and foreclosed assets), which the market saw as an agile and firm response following the purchase of Popular.

Meanwhile, BBVA is managing so-called Project Sena, involving the sale of a portion of Anida to Cerberus for €400 million. Nevertheless, the market considers that the bank may end up getting rid of the entire Anida business. The bank submitted a statement to the CNMV on Thursday confirming that “it is holding conversations with Cerberus Capital”, although it made clear that no agreement has been reached yet. The nominal value of that portfolio of properties amounts to around €1,100 million. The operation follows in the footsteps of the portfolio known as Jaipur, purchased by the same fund in July.

Caixabank is also preparing two other portfolios. The first, known as Tribeca, amounting to €500 million, will come onto the market within the next few days and will mainly comprise residential assets. The second, known as Egeo, for €660 million, comprises €440 million of unsecured loans and €220 million secured by a mix of real estate assets. The entity expects to receive binding offers very soon, according to market sources.

One of the largest projects on the market has been launched by Sabadell; it is known as Voyager and amounts to €800 million. It contains some problem loans to property developers and the remainder corresponds to other sectors, such as hotels. This portfolio is almost a second part of the project known as Traveller, which the entity sold recently to Bain. The bank is expecting to receive offers in October and wants to close the process in December, according to sources familiar with the process.

Liberbank is also preparing another portfolio, containing non-performing loans, known as Invictus, with a value of €700 million, of which 50% relates to residential.

Finally, Sareb has already put a portfolio called Inés on the market, amounting to almost €500 million, which is in its closing phase. And the so-called bad bank is now preparing its first online loan sales project, initially dubbed Dubai, containing around €400 million. Moreover, the market is also expecting it to launch the sale of another portfolio amounting to €300 million, named Tambo, within the next few days (…).

Although the banks have been criticised for the slow rate of reduction of their real estate portfolios, experts indicate that they are now operating at an acceptable cruising speed (…).

The potential buyers of these portfolios (…) include Apollo, Oaktree, Bain, Cerberus, Blackstone, Lone Star, Castlelake, Värde Partners, Lindorff, TPG and Goldman Sachs.

Original story: Cinco Días (by Alfonso Simón Ruiz)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Santander Unblocks Sale Of Ciudad Financiera After AGC’s Mega-Offer

15 September 2017 – Voz Pópuli

The soap opera involving the sale of Santander’s Ciudad Financiera is closer than ever to being resolved. The Arab fund AGC Equity Partners, Santander and the majority of the creditors have reached an understanding to unblock the process, which has been stalled for three years, after the company that administers Santander’s global headquarters, Marme Inversiones 2007, filed for bankruptcy.

The key has been the size of the new offer presented in recent months by AGC, amounting to around €2,800 million, according to financial sources consulted by Vozpópuli. With this proposal, all of the creditors would receive the amounts due to them and there would even be some funds left over to share out amongst Marme’s original shareholders: the property magnate Glenn Maud and the fund Aabar Investments, controlled by IPIC, which owns Cepsa.

AGC has already informed the judge handling the bankruptcy – at Mercantile Court number 9 in Madrid – that the situation is now ready to be unblocked. But the magistrate has left everything hinging on the Provincial Court, which still has to resolve several prior appeals. Various sources consulted indicate that these resolutions could be resolved by the end of this year or the beginning of 2018. Then the formal auction of the company that owns the Ciudad Financiera could be launched, with AGC as the main favourite, assuming no last minute surprises.

Santander’s role

One of the keys behind sorting out the sale of the Ciudad Financiera is that Santander has withdrawn an appeal that threatened to perpetuate the bankruptcy process. In this way, the bank chaired by Ana Botín, advised by Clifford Chance, decided to submit a letter alleging that the Marme liquidation plan was not taking into accounts its right to sound out the market (for potential buyers).

In addition, Santander engaged Goldman Sachs to look for offers that would better fit with their interests. Paradoxically, the firm that is now best positioned to win – AGC – is the same one that blocked the bank’s appeal. According to legal sources, Santander pays an annual rent of around €110 million for the property and the rental contract runs until 2048, neither of which would vary under the new owner. But there are other clauses in the agreement that would be changed in favour of Santander.

The final stumbling block is the position of two of the players that invested in Marme Inversiones after it filed for bankruptcy: Aabar Investment, which purchased the shares of one of the original shareholders, the British businessman Derek Quinlan, and which would like to buy the Ciudad Financiera itself; and the Luxembourg company Edgeworth Capital, led by the controversial Iranian banker Robert Tchenguiz.

Sources close to the process think that it will be hard for their appeals to gain traction in the face of AGC’s willingness to repay all the creditors; something that no other investor has offered until now. The other recent offers amounted to between €2,400 million and €2,500 million.

Origin of the problem

Marme Inversiones 2007 filed for bankruptcy in 2014 after it was unable to pay its debts. The company was created in 2008 with very heavy financial burdens, at the worst time, shortly after the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers. Marme paid €1,900 million for Santander’s headquarters in Boadilla del Monte.

Now the situation is just the opposite. The good times in the market mean that obtaining financing is cheaper than it has been for the last decade, something that AGC wants to take full advantage of to seal this complex operation.

Original story: Voz Pópuli (by Jorge Zuloaga)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Santander, Popular & BBVA Transfer Land For 3,700 Homes To Metrovacesa

11 September 2017 – Levante EMV

Santander, Popular and BBVA have transferred land to Metrovacesa for the construction of 3,700 homes in the Community of Valencia. According to real estate sources, the three banks have contributed more than 440,000 m2 of buildable land in some of the best development areas of Valencia and Alicante. The operation includes plots for the construction of hundreds of homes and a retail space in La Patacona.

As a result, Metrovacesa has become the largest real estate company in the Community of Valencia. If we add these latest plots from the banking institutions to Metrovacesa’s previous portfolio, the company now has 660,000 m2 of buildable land for the construction of 5,700 homes.

The land transfer forms part of Project Horizonte, which has seen Santander, Popular and BBVA (all shareholders of the real estate company) contribute land worth €1,108 million to Metrovacesa for the construction of 40,000 homes across the whole of Spain. Santander (which has recently absorbed Popular) and BBVA relaunched Metrovacesa as a platform to provide an outlet for their land portfolios. The banks are looking to make a profit from the rising economic cycle in the construction sector.

Sources close to the operation specified that the most significant plots of land are located in Benimaclet, Moreras and Patraix (Valencia); the development area of La Patacona (the urban plan for Bodegas Vinival in Alboraia); Benalúa Sur and Albufereta (Alicante); Nou Nazareth (Sant Joan d’Alacant); El Acequión (Torrevieja); several plots in Castelló and Sagunt; and buildable land on the seafront in El Puig (…).

Restructuring

With Project Horizonte, BBVA and Santander have concluded the restructuring of Metrovacesa, which they were forced to take over during the crisis, when at the end of 2008, they foreclosed the debt of the Sanahuja family, which was the majority shareholder of the entity at the time.

By virtue of Project Horizonte, the entity chaired by Ana Botín has decreased its stake in Metrovacesa to 61.3%, from the 70.3% that it held until now. Nevertheless, its stake really amounts to 70.5% if we include the 9.2% owned by Banco Popular. Meanwhile, BBVA has increased its stake in the real estate company from 20.5% to 29%. These variations are a result of the various land contributions made by each one of the shareholder entities, which have materialised through a capital increase.

Original story: Levante EMV (by Ramón Ferrando)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Fortress Unwinds Its Final Positions In Spain

7 September 2017 – Voz Pópuli

Fortress has definitively closed a chapter in its history in Spain. The US vulture fund, regarded as one of the most aggressive in the world, has launched two operations in the market through which it is looking to offload its final positions in the Spanish financial sector.

The two deals in question are Project San Siro and Project Baresi. In total, they comprise paid and unpaid loans worth around €300 million, according to financial sources consulted by Vozpópuli. The candidates to buy these loan packages include other opportunistic funds.

The two projects essentially comprise the final dregs of the portfolio that Fortress holds in the Spanish banking sector: loans from Santander, Barclays España (now part of CaixaBank) and Lico Leasing, the former finance company of the savings banks that Fortress purchased at the height of the crisis.

The US fund, led in Spain by the banker José María Cava, was one of the first to enter the financial sector at a time when the lack of trust at the international level was at its peak. It was between 2010 and 2011, when the first interventions of the savings banks began and several cold mergers were carried out, which gave rise to groups such as Bankia.

Critical time

Fortress completed its acquisition of a portfolio from Santander in 2012, just before the rescue of the finance sector. In that deal, Fortress purchased €1,000 million in consumer credits from the group chaired by Ana Botín.

A year later, the US fund announced the purchase of Lico Leasing. That was Fortress’ last major operation in Spain, which broke down just two years later. The fund took a long time to obtain authorisation from the Bank of Spain to approve that acquisition, and so by the time it did receive it, the credit tap had been reopened and so Lico arrived late to the recoveries sector.

For that reason, Fortress decided to close this business and its other financial commitments in Spain. First, it sold one of its recoveries platforms (Paratus) to Elliott and Cabot. Next, it sold Geslico to Axactor. And in terms of the other portfolios (Lico, Santander, and Barclays), it let some of them mature and the remainder is what is now being put up for sale.

It also leaves behind other possible opportunities that the fund considered, such as its failed entry into the share capital of Sareb and of other savings banks, with which it was unable to reach an agreement due to the significant price differences. Fortress is now more focused on other business niches in Spain and most notably in the Italian market, where it purchased, together with Pimco, the largest portfolio of loans, worth €17,000 million, from Unicredit last year. Given its profile, the Spanish banking sector will become the focus of Fortress once again when the next crisis hits.

Original story: Voz Pópuli (by Jorge Zuloaga)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Santander Considers Selling 51% Of Popular’s RE To A Single Fund

20 July 2017 – Expansión

The process initiated by Banco Santander at the end of June to find partners willing to take on some of Popular’s portfolio of foreclosed assets and doubtful real estate debts (with a gross value of €30,000 million) is moving ahead and the entity’s preferred options are starting to emerge (…).

According to sources familiar with proceedings, one of the options that Santander is considering is the sale of 51% of this real estate business to a single buyer.

The same sources explain that the sale of a majority stake to an investment fund would allow the Cantabrian bank to deconsolidate all of the non-performing real estate risk from its balance sheet, as it would be left with a minority stake. Santander has engaged Morgan Stanley as the advisor bank for the process and has appointed independent director Pedro Pablo Villasante to supervise the entity.

Sources in the market indicate that interested parties include some of the funds specialising in these assets, such as Apollo, Blackstone and Lone Star. They add, nevertheless, that the definitive format through which these firms will enter into the operation has not been defined yet since any deal is still in a very preliminary phase.

Non-binding offers

Sources at Banco Santander acknowledge that this possible deconsolidation of the real estate business, through its sale to a partner, is just one of the options being considered. However, they maintain that the definitive decision as to whether the entity will choose a single buyer or more than one buyer has not been taken yet and is not even close to being taken.

According to sources close to the bank, the operation is still in the “attracting interest and receiving non-binding offers” phase. This period will continue until at least after the presentation of the results corresponding to the first half of the year, which is planned for Friday 28 July.

The period during which the various funds may submit their non-binding offers is expected to remain open until that same date, at least. Market sources are confident that other major investors will also express their interest, including Cerberus, Goldman Sachs, KKR, Kennedy Wilson and Värde Partners. The next phase will see the receipt of the binding offers

Following the resolution of Popular and its acquisition for €1, Santander revealed its plan to reduce its non-performing real estate assets by 50% within 18 months. The segregation of the property portfolios into a single vehicle could reduce that period even further (…).

Santander’s proposed plan may also include an additional agreement with the buyer fund to acquire 51% of the servicer Aliseda. That subsidiary, which is responsible for managing all of the real estate assets proceeding from Popular, is currently controlled in its entirety by Santander, after the entity chaired by Ana Botín repurchased the 51% stake held by Kennedy Wilson and Värde Partners on 30 June (…).

Popular’s real estate portfolio, which is located primarily in Andalucía, the Comunidad Valenciana and Cataluña, includes around €17,000 million in foreclosed properties and another €13,000 million in doubtful property developer loans. These assets include, for example, more than 25,800 homes (which are being marketed by Aliseda) and office complexes (…).

Original story: Expansión (by Nicolás M. Sarriés)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Santander Could Earn Up To €630M From The Sale Of Popular’s RE

14 July 2017 – Expansión

Santander will make a profit from the clean-up of Popular’s balance sheet. The bank may earn up to €630 million from the sale of its foreclosed assets and doubtful real estate loans, which have a gross value of €30,000 million. The bank’s real estate risk, according to the European authorities, amounts to almost €37,000 million, including the stakes in real estate companies, which amount to around €7,000 million.

These profits will be obtained in the best of the possible scenarios considered by Citi in a report published this week. The North American investment bank was responsible for advising Santander during its purchase of Popular, which ended up being closed for the symbolic price of one euro.

Santander plans to divest all of Popular’s non-performing assets within three years. But Citi thinks that it will have to offer discounts of between 15% and 20% on the net value of the assets to incentivise bids from investment funds and private equity firm, amongst others. The net value of the assets amounts to around €9,300 million with a provisioning level of 69%.

Financial sources believe that Santander will accelerate the sale of Popular’s more impaired properties to clean up that part of the balance sheet before the end of this year. In this way, it may recognise juicy accounting profits, according to the sources. Popular’s real estate portfolio contains €10,500 million in land, hotels and more than 25,000 homes, according to the latest available figures. Half of the properties are located in Andalucía and Valencia.

Ana Botín has set the goal of getting rid of half of Popular’s non-performing assets within a year and a half.

Clean up

To clean up Popular’s toxic assets, Santander is undertaking a capital increase amounting to €7,072 million. The bank will recognise a provision against €7,900 million of Popular’s non-performing assets to increase the coverage level of the real estate risk from 45% to 69%. The average coverage level in the sector is 52%, which is why financial sources say that Santander is likely to mark a milestone that has not been seen in the Spanish banking sector for years: it looks set to sell property at a profit.

Santander is negotiating with the funds to divest Popular’s non-performing assets. It is studying the possibility of creating one or more vehicles to separate the risk linked to property from the acquired entity. Morgan Stanley is advising the bank on the clean-up plan. Some funds, such as Blackstone, Apollo, Bain Capital and Lone Star have approached the bank to understand its strategy.

Santander forecasts that its purchase of Popular will generate cost synergies of around €500 million from 2020 onwards, although Citi elevates that figure to €606 million. The investment bank considers that Santander is being too conservative in its calculations of the return on investment and its impact on earnings per share.

According to Citi, the purchase of Popular will generate a return of 24% for Santander in 2020 in the best-case scenario, above the 13-14% forecast by the entity. And it estimates that the operation will allow Santander to increase earnings per share by 6% in three years, compared to the forecast of 3%.

Leader in Spain

The resultant entity will rise to the top of the market in terms of assets (almost €470,000 million), deposits (€255,000 million) and loans (€249,000 million). (…).

Original story: Expansión (by R. Sampedro)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Santander Invites NBOs For Popular’s Assets & Aliseda By End Of July

6 July 2017 – Voz Pópuli

It could be the largest real estate operation of the last few decades in Spain. Santander has revolutionised the world of the major investments funds with the express sale of all of Banco Popular‘s property, after engaging Morgan Stanley to coordinate the sale.

The bank chaired by Ana Botín may sell all of Popular’s real estate assets and loans, worth €30,000 million, in one go. The process is going faster than investors expected. Santander and its advisor have given the funds it has invited to participate until the end of the month to submit their non-binding offers (NBOs). And the prices being floated amount to around €5,000 million, according to financial sources consulted.

Blackstone, Apollo and Lone Star are already working on the process and Cerberus may join them shortly. They are the largest opportunistic funds present in Spain, with the most financial muscle to be able to handle an operation of this kind. That is why they have been chosen. However, the doors to new investors have not been closed.

The idea is that the buyer will acquire a 51% (or higher) stake in a joint company together with Santander and that that company will hold Popular’s €30,000 million assets. These assets are provisioned at 69%, and so they have a net value of almost €9,250 million. We calculate therefore that to acquire 51% of these assets and loans, plus take over Aliseda (which Santander repurchased last week), the buyer will have to pay around €5,000 million.

The key, after the summer

In addition to the bids for the 51% stake, experts are not ruling out the possibility that one of the funds will go off piste and put a proposal on the table for a smaller package of assets. Santander is open to all ideas at this stage. The group plans to first listen to the proposals, analyse them over the summer and then negotiate the small print between September and December.

This is the operation that the large opportunistic funds have been waiting for since 2011. Those investors arrived in Spain during the worst period of the crisis with the purchase of small loan portfolios and real estate platforms, with their sights set on the hope that large opportunities would arise some day, such as in this case with Popular.

In fact, they have been complaining for a couple of years that the portfolios coming onto the market are too small (ranging between €500 million and €1,000 million) for their appetite, given that other types of competitors have emerged that have caused prices to soar and have left them without any assets.

It is also worth considering that the funds that are participating in this process raised capital at the end of last year to invest in Southern Europe. Specifically, €15,000 million. As such, they have liquidity to handle operations such as Popular’s.

The three funds and Cerberus starred in major acquisitions in Spain during the crisis. Blackstone acquired Catalunya Banc’s macro-portfolio of doubtful mortgages amounting to €6,400 million. Apollo purchased Altamira, several portfolios and Evo Banco. And Lone Star secured Project Octopus (€4,500 million in large real estate loans), purchased Neinor and listed it on the stock market, and has recently agreed to acquire Novo Banco in Portugal.

Original story: Voz Pópuli (by Jorge Zuloaga)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Santander Buys 51% Of Popular’s RE Arm, Aliseda, For €180M

3 July 2017 – El Economista

Banco Santander is going to control 100% of the real estate arm of the recently acquired Banco Popular. The bank led by Ana Botín has repurchased 51% of Aliseda for €180 million. Since 2013, that stake had belonged to the funds Värde Partners and Kennedy Wilson.

In this way, the entity hopes that it will be able to fulfil the objective set by itsPresident Ana Botón to cut Popular’s real estate balance in half within 18 months.

With complete control over Aliseda, Santander hopes to accelerate the pace of divestment. Currently, Popular owns almost €37,000 million in non-performing assets.

In this sense, the bank also announced that it has launched a search process for partners for a portfolio containing foreclosed assets and real estate loans amounting to €30,000 million.

At the end of 2013, Popular reached an agreement to create a joint venture to manage its real estate business. The operation, worth almost €815 million, saw Popular record profits of around €710 million. The repurchase is expected to be completed during the third quarter of this year and will involve capital consumption of €302 million.

Aliseda sold 11,290 properties in 2015, with a turnover of more than €1,970 million. In 2014, it sold 8,600 properties for €1,500 million.

In fact, at the end of last year, Banco Popular considered removing these properties from its balance sheet through the creation of an independent real estate company, which would have included high-quality assets, such as its properties in Sotogrande, as well as homes in ghost neighbourhoods of Madrid. Although the CNMV was notified, the operation did not go ahead in the end.

Original story: El Economista

Translation: Carmel Drake

Santander Engages Morgan Stanley To Execute Express Sale Of Popular’s Property

29 June 2017 – Voz Pópuli

Banco Santander does not want to waste any time with its sale of Popular’s properties. The entity chaired by Ana Botín has engaged Morgan Stanley to execute an express plan to get rid of the problem assets that it has inherited from its subsidiary, according to financial sources consulted by Vozpópuli. Sources at Santander declined to comment.

According to the same sources, the mandate does not outline the sale of specific assets, but rather it defines which would be the best solution: the rapid transfer of assets in large batches; the reactivation of Ángel Ron’s old idea of creating a bad bank (Project Sunrise); the transfer of assets to Testa and Metrovacesa; or taking things more slowly to benefit from the economic recovery.

It is about putting the real estate balance sheet in order and defining the best path for each asset type. But Morgan Stanley’s work, which is being led by its CEO, Juan González Pedrol, will not focus only on resolving Popular’s existing property puzzle. It is also meeting investors to get them to analyse assets and prepare bids.

The fact that Santander has already committed to a mandate of this calibre shows that it is not afraid of reducing the volume of problem assets, which amount to almost €50,000 million after the merger. That is something that investors would penalise in the event that those assets stagnated on the bank’s balance sheet. In that context, a few weeks ago, Botín committed to cutting Popular’s real estate exposure in half by 2019.

The person responsible for this task at Santander is Javier García Carranza, Deputy General Manager of the group and Head of Restructuring, Real Estate, Investments and Venture Capital. García Carranza joined Santander from Morgan Stanley, where he used to be responsible for Real Estate in London.

The mandate given to his former entity is one of the most sought-after in the investment banking sector, alongside the capital increase, from which Morgan Stanley has been ruled out. Names still in the running for that €7,000 million-operation include Citigroup and UBS, as global coordinators, and Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Barclays, BBVA, HSBC and CaixaBank, according to Bloomberg (…).

Saracho’s plan suspended

One of the first measures introduced by Santander after it took control of Popular was to suspend the operations that Saracho’s team had set in motion. The former management team had at least two portfolios on the market (…).

Sources in the market expect Santander and Morgan Stanley to bring a large portfolio onto the market before the end of the year, given that there is a lot of demand from large international funds. The clean-up conducted during the merger, of almost €8,000 million, means that the group is ready for these operations.

Following the merger, Santander has accumulated problem assets amounting to €48,417 million, according to the latest official figures. Of those, €36,800 million come from Popular, with a coverage after extraordinary provisions of 66%, and €11,600 million from Santander, which before the merger held a coverage of 57%. That means that the new Santander-Popular entity has more assets than Sareb.

In addition, the group holds other investments, such as its stakes in Metrovacesa, Sareb and Testa Residencial, which, in the case of Santander alone, amount to €5,300 million.

Original story: Voz Pópuli (by Jorge Zuloaga)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Santander Is Ready To Divest €7,500M Of Popular’s Problem RE

21 June 2017 – Cinco Días

Banco Santander acquired Popular last week, including its €30,000 million real estate exposure (comprising properties and problem loans), which the entity dragged into the new model of European resolution. That slab ended up taking out Popular’s new President, Emilio Saracho, after he proved himself incapable of finding a credible solution for unblocking the property on the entity’s balance sheet, despite taking over the reins in February.

By contrast, the President of Banco Santander, Ana Botín, needed just a few hours to appear publicly with a strong message to calm the market. “We are going to divest half of the real estate assets in 18 months”, she said. A challenge into which her entity will invest €7,200 million to clean up the bank that it purchased for €1. But that is just the first step.

The signal that Santander is going to give the market is one of an agile response to digest the real estate assets. Whilst it has already taken a decision to increase the coverage of those assets, which guarantees that it will be able to sell them with large discounts without having to record large losses, the bank is now in a position to sell both the secured debt portfolio and the real estate assets in an accelerated manner. In total, it has identified €7,500 million in assets that it could divest in a matter of months if it so decides.

Doubtful debt

Of the €12,100 million in doubtful loans inherited from Popular, the company presided over by Botín has a battery of up to €5,000 million that it has already identified that it could package up and sell as quickly as it wants, according to financial sources familiar with the portfolio.

These sources indicate that Santander will likely slice up the €5,000 million into several portfolios and put them up for sale. Although this is a significant amount, the financial sector considers that if the bank puts the packages on the market at a good price, it will receive quite a favourable response from the typical opportunistic funds that participate in these types of processes.

Strategy with subsidiaries

Moreover, it has been revealed that the entity presided over by Botín will likely use its real estate subsidiaries to digest the assets. That is the first scenario being considered by the team from Santander that is intervening in Popular. In fact, it has already come up with some provisional figures regarding how much could be transferred to the different companies: between €2,100 million and €2,500 million.

A large part of that amount, around €1,200 million, corresponds to land that can be transferred to Metrovacesa, according to the same sources. Santander owns a 70% stake in that company, in addition to the c.9% stake held by Popular. (…).

Santander is also currently evaluating the contribution of between €500 million and €800 million in high-quality tertiary assets (primarily offices) to the Socimi Merlin Properties, which is listed on the Ibex 35. That process – which could be approved before the end of the year – would be completed only after analysing the assets and evaluating whether they fit with the company’s current portfolio, which contains properties worth more than €10,000 million. (…).

Finally, the entity may also transfer rental homes worth between €400 million and €500 million to the Socimi Testa, which it plans to debut on the stock market in 2018 and which is currently negotiating the incorporation of Acciona’s buildings into its portfolio (…).

Sources at the bank warn that it is still too early to quantify the assets that it wants to put up for sale first, given that any sale would have to be preceded by a new valuation process. (…).

The team that is going to lead this process on Banco Santander’s side is being led by José Antonio García Cantera, the man that Botín has put at the head of Popular for this transition period until the full integration has been completed, and by Francisco Javier García-Carranza, the entity’s new CEO. (…).

Original story: Cinco Días

Translation: Carmel Drake