Sabadell to Sell Solvia As It Unloads Real Estate Assets

30 August 2018

Banc Sabadell is taking offers for Solvia after ruling out placing it together with portfolios of real estate assets.

Unlike Santander and Caixabank, which unloaded most of their real estate assets when they transferred their portfolios of properties to investment funds, Banc Sabadell kept Solvia out of its sale of assets to Cerberus, which was concluded in July. Now, however, the Catalan bank is taking offers for its subsidiary, with an eye on wrapping up the sale within a few months.

Sources in the financial industry told Economia Digital that Sabadell, which is chaired by Josep Oliu, has decided to finalise the sale of its real estate assets through a partial or total sale of its servicer, Solvia. Although it has not yet initiated a formal sales process, the bank reportedly hopes to finalise the deal during the last four months of 2018.

“We are not a property firm, it is not our line of business,” Jaume Guardiola, CEO of Sabadell, has stated on several occasions when asked about the future of the bank’s real estate assets and its property firm, Solvia. Market sources had speculated that Solvia would be sold off together with the bank’s portfoli0 of property, land and related loans. However, Solvia remained in the bank’s hands.

Sabadell decided to leave the property firm out of its sale of the bank’s three property portfolios, worth 11 billion euros. Two of the three were eventually acquired by the venture capital fund Cerberus. The bank held on for a higher price for the servicer and hopes that the asset will help in the sale of the portfolio of properties that it still possesses, which is worth about another €2 billion.

That decision was made just over a month ago, but Guardiola’s position seems to have won, and the bank has put the sale of its property firm on the table again. The idea is that the company will be sold without any included assets, and the sale will be restricted to Solvia’s network and operations, in addition to its roughly 800 employees.

Sabadell has not yet received any formal offers, although Solvia is expected to draw some interest, considering that it is one of Spain’s biggest servicers. Several investment funds are investing in the country’s property market and could be interested in acquiring a servicer.

Solvia, in the hands of a fund?

All the large funds that have acquired real estate assets in Spain already have subsidiary property firms. Cerberus, which bought assets from BBVA and Sabadell, has Haya Real Estate. Apollo, which acquired Santander’s assets, owns Altamira. Lone Star owned Neinor, though it subsequently sold it, it will also acquire Servihabitat when it completes its purchase of 80% of Caixabank real estate assets. Lastly, Blackstone owns Anticipa.

However, other funds are making smaller purchases and could be interested in a property firm such as Solvia to help unload their property holdings in the future. Oaktree, which has acquired several buildings, the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) and Bain Capital are all possible buyers.

Sabadell waves goodbye to its real estate business

This summer, Banc Sabadell sold a good part of its real estate assets. Of the three large portfolios it had on sale, two went to Cerberus and the third to Deutsche Bank. The assets sold to the investment fund were valued at 9.1 billion euros, while the portfolio that Sabadell sold to the German bank had assets worth €2.4 billion.

Sabadell applied a 57% write-off on the sales, a figure below previous large sales by BBVA and Santander, where the discount exceeded 60%. The banks that waited most, such as Caixabank and Sabadell itself, benefited from the growing interest of investors in Spanish property to sell their holdings at a higher price.

Original Story: Economia Digital – Xavier Alegret

Translation: Richard Turner


The Real Estate Recovery Cools Off In Valencia

12 May 2017 – Las Provincias

The recovery will have to wait. The signs of reactivation that were seen in the real estate development sector in the Community of Valencia in 2015 cooled off again in 2016. Although the number of operations involving land purchases grew by 38% last year, from 511 to 826, the fact is that they involved smaller spaces. This means that the surface area sold to property developers decreased by 10.6% from 2.3 million m2 to 2 million m2, according to data from the Ministry of Development.

The only exceptions were in the tourist areas to the south of Alicante and in the city of Valencia. “The area to the south of Alicante is still the most active place, with significant property development activity (c. 2,000 homes under construction), led by a significant recovery in purchases by non-residents. The typical buyer at this initial stage of the recovery can afford to acquire a home with own funds or with a significant down payment, representing more than 40% of the property value”, said the Director of Sales and Marketing at Solvia (Banc de Sabadell), José Peral.

In 2015, demand for buildable residential land increased along the Alicante coast, primarily in the coastal tourist towns that spark the most interest in the international market, such as Xàbia, Dénia, Benidorm, Calpe and Orihuela-Costa. Thus, in some of these areas and, in particular, in the latter, the supply of available land decreased considerably and transaction prices increased, which is why some property developers have started to move to the northern coast of Alicante, for example, to Finestrat.

Nevertheless, this trend, which started in the south of Alicante is now moving to other areas. For example, the new build market in the city of Valencia did an about-turn in 2016 after several years of inactivity, according to Peral. Currently, a great deal of activity is being undertaken: a lot of projects are already underway, building permits have been granted for others, and others still are in the pre-sales process.

This situation explains the focus being placed on these markets by the new players arriving in the Community of Valencia, such as the fund Neinor Homes, which is constructing its first projects in the Valencian neighbourhood of Malilla and in Playa de San Juan de Alicante.

In terms of the capital’s metropolitan area, there has been a slight uptake in demand for buildable residential plots of land in towns with more than 20,000 inhabitants. It is also worth noting the number of transactions involving plots of land (…) for family homes, involving small and medium-sized local property developers.

Original story: Las Provincias (by A. Castillote and Á. Mohorte)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Imperio Fórum Buys The Vinçon Building In Barcelona

1 December 2016 – Inmodiario

Imperio Fórum, a Spanish holding company owned by the Canadian investor Marco Fabiani, has purchased the former Vinçon building, located at number 175 on Calle Pau Claris in Barcelona, through one of his companies in which other shareholders also hold stakes. Imperio Fórum has acquired the residential part of the property, which is spread over 6 floors and covers 2,000 m2 in total, comprising 10 apartments and one penthouse.

The operation, which has been completed for €6.5 million, has been advised by Jordi Coma from the consultancy firm Think Big Capital and has received financing from CaixaBank. The renovation work will begin during the first quarter of 2017.

Six months ago, Marco Fabiani also bought another corner building with similar characteristics on El Eixample in Barcelona for €5 million. That property was located on Calle Sant Antoni Maria Claret, close to the modernist complex of Hospital de Sant Pau, where the renovation and marketing of 19 apartments, 2 penthouses and 3 retail premises is already underway. That operation was financed by Banc Sabadell.

Original story: Inmodiario

Translation: Carmel Drake

Anticipa Strengthens Its Commitment To The Rental Business

30 November 2016 – Economía Digital

Anticipa is continuing to grow its rental home business. At the end of 2015, the real estate manager bought a batch of empty homes from Banc Sabadell, specifically, 3,700 properties that it has been incorporating into its portfolio over the last few months. In addition it owns 5,500 homes from the real estate stock of the former Catalunya Caxia, the seed for the current firm Anticipa.

“We are clearly in a buying position” said Eduard Mendiluce, CEO of the company, in comments to La Vanguardia. The group has already formalised its offer to buy the Eloise portfolio that Sareb or the bad bank has put up for sale. This package of unpaid loans to property developer includes 150 buildings, containing around 4,000 homes”.

“We are already one of the largest rental home real estate companies in Spain, and we have an orderly portfolio, with market profitability and the capacity to continue growing, by incorporating more homes”, said Mendiluce.

Renegotiation of mortgages

According to explanations given by the director in a recent interview with Economía Digital, Anticipa is renegotiating 3,000 of the mortgages that it inherited from the Catalunya Caixa portfolio in their first year of life. 2,400 will result in “daciones en pago” (the cancelation of the debt in exchange for handing over the keys) and another 600 cases will see their terms and conditions renegotiated, in such a way that homeowners will be able to afford their debt repayments.

Original story: Economía Digital

Translation: Carmel Drake