“Anti-Eviction Law” Reveals that CaixaBank has 5,000+ Empty Homes in Valencia

7 October 2018 – Valencia Plaza

La Generalitat is pushing ahead with its count of empty homes in the hands of owners of large property portfolios in the Community of Valencia. Reporting of these types of assets is now mandatory under the Law for the Social Function of Housing – known as the Valencian “anti-eviction law”, – a text that was watered down by the Constitutional Court (CC) but in whose articles the Consell still retains the tools to demand the reporting of unoccupied assets and to impose fines in the event of a lack of collaboration.

The Valencian Government reactivated the count following the recent ruling from the CC. The most recent figure provided by the Conselleria de Vivienda amounts to 7,315 homes across the length and breadth of the Community: 45% in the province of Valencia, 38% in Castellón and the remaining 17% in Alicante. But the most striking fact comes from the analysis of the owners, given that a total of 5,270 homes are owned by the CaixaBank Group.

The bulk, according to data provided to this newspaper by the socialist Minister María José Salvador, corresponds to 5,065 empty homes reported by BuildingCenter, the company owned by CaixaBank “focused on the divestment of the portfolio of properties proceeding from the group”, according to the company’s own motto -. The remainder to arrive at the total of 5,270 units corresponds to 148 reported directly by Caixabank, 51 from Banco de Valencia, 5 from Credifimo and 1 from Gestión Fondos Credifimo.

Almost all of the homes owned by the group in the Community come from foreclosures made by the now extinct Banco de Valencia, which was awarded to La Caixa for €1 in 2012 under the framework of the bank restructuring. As a result, the data provided by CaixaBank to La Generalitat reveal that, six years later, the stock of assets proceeding from the extinct Valencian bank continues to be very bulky.

In addition to the empty homes reported by the CaixaBank group, the other properties to reach the total of 7,315 units are owned by Sareb (1,598 homes) and Grupo Santander (447), split into the companies Altamira Santander Real Estate (339), Banco Santander (67), Luri 6 SA (36) and Santander Consumer Finance (6) (…).

Register of uninhabited homes (…)

The law provides for the creation of the Register of Uninhabited Homes (…) so that all of the homes that are declared uninhabited by the administration can be grouped together and “housing solutions can be granted to those people who need them most”. The objective of the administration is to “mobilise the more than 500,000 empty homes that there are in the Community”, according to estimates.

Original story: Valencia Plaza (by Dani Valero)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Sareb Recorded Turnover Of €5,000m In 2014

29 January 2015 – Cinco Días

Echegoyen strengthens his team with a man from Barclays

Jaime Echegoyen has made his debut as the Chairman of Sareb, following the surprise resignation of Belén Romana on Monday, by analysing the entity’s provisional accounts for 2014.

In a meeting on Wednesday, the Board of Directors estimated that Sareb will close the year will total revenues of €5,000 million and an EBITDA of €1,000 million.

The final figures will be subject to a ruling by the Bank of Spain, which has not yet published the definitive accounting regulations that will govern the bad bank’s results; it is expected to require that an extraordinary provision be applied to the company’s accounts.

Sareb’s turnover in 2014, as valued by the company itself in a statement, exceeded the amount recorded in 2013 by almost one third. This, says the company “shows the capacity” that it has “both to generate resources through the management and sale of its assets, as well as to assume the commitments of debt cancelation”.

Based on last year’s accounts, Sareb will have repaid €3,416 million of the debt issued to acquire its portfolio, i.e. more than the €3,000 million initially envisaged, of which €2,916 million has already been paid; the remainder will be paid in February. Moreover, the company has made interest payments amounting to €1,135 million on that debt.

Once this process has been completed, Sareb will have repaid €5,416 million of its debt, which has the backing of the state, in just two years.

“Sareb is fulfilling its main objective, which is to manage and sell its portfolio without generating higher costs for the taxpayer”, explained Jaime Echegoyen at the first ordinary meeting held by Sareb’s Board in 2015.

Almost €1,000 million of the total revenues related to the sale of 13 wholesale portfolios, primarily to international investors.

“Although we do not yet know the accounting framework that will be applied to our results in 2014, we can say that the company has achieved the objectives that were set for it last year, and has deepened its strategy for the generation of greater value from the portfolio”, said Echegoyen. “We have a highly skilled workforce that this year has managed more than 10,700 proposals from developers for example; furthermore, the gradual entry into operation of the new contracted servicers will allow us to improve efficiency and provide an increased commercial focus”, he added.

Echegoyen’s first appointment

In parallel, Sareb’s Board of Directors approved a proposal to strengthen its management team, which has lost six members, including Romana, in the last 14 months (in addition, three directors have been replaced).

Juan Ramón Dios Rial will now join as the company’s Director of Recoveries and Restructuring. He comes from Barclays, where Echegoyen was previously CEO.

According to Sareb, Juan Ramón has extensive experience in the management of risk and the restructuring of debt relating to the real estate business. The new director will take over the role currently held by Enrique Saiz, who will continue to collaborate with the company.

Original story: Cinco Días

Translation: Carmel Drake