Spain’s Banks Prepare for a Mass Sale of Refinanced Mortgages Ahead of a European Regulatory Change

14 January 2020 – Expansión

Spain’s large banks are preparing for the mass sale of refinanced mortgage portfolios to opportunistic investment funds over the course of this year, ahead of a European regulatory change that will come into effect from January 2021. The new rules will require most refinanced debt to be classified as non-performing loans, which will impose more onerous capital requirements on the entities holding those assets.

Refinanced mortgages are those whose borrowers are currently up to date with their repayments but whose terms (economic conditions or duration) have been adjusted to avoid defaulted payments.

In the year to September 2019, Spain’s eight listed banks (Santander, BBVA, CaixaBank, Bankia, Sabadell, Bankinter, Unicaja and Liberbank) removed problem loans amounting to almost €37 million from their balance sheets. No detailed figures are compiled about refinanced mortgages, but sources in the sector estimate that a new market worth thousands of millions of euros could be generated as a result of the upcoming legislative change.

According to the new criteria to be introduced by the European Central Bank, refinanced loans will be classified as non-performing if the associated income generated by them falls by more than 1% as a result of the new terms of the loan. With such a strict threshold, almost all such loans will, therefore, be classified as non-performing.

In this context, a new market is expected to emerge whereby the banks try to divest portfolios of refinanced mortgages that are still considered healthy, but at lower prices.

The likely winners will be opportunistic funds, such as Cerberus, Blackstone and Lone Star, which typically buy doubtful assets with average discounts of 70%, and go on to generate double-digit returns through a combination of synergies and economies of scale.

Original story: Expansión (by R. Sampedro)

Translation/Summary: Carmel Drake

Bankia Sells €37M NPL Portfolio to LCM Partners through Débitos

17 July 2019 – El Confidencial

Bankia has sold a portfolio of doubtful assets worth €37 million to the London-based fund LCM Partners. The portfolio, called Marshmello, contains more than 170 secured loans granted to SMEs and distributed primarily in Madrid, Cataluña and Murcia.

The deal is the first that the partially nationalised financial entity has completed through the Débitos platform. Débitos is a German fin-tech that works in association with Beka Finance in Spain to allow financial entities and companies with unpaid amounts on their balance sheets to offer portfolios for sale to institutional investors.

Original story: El Confidencial (by Óscar Giménez)

Translation/Summary: Carmel Drake

The Pace of NPL Sales Falters in Spain

6 December 2019 – Spanish banks have reduced their pace of sales of NPLs this year, as CaixaBank, Sabadell, Bankia, Bankinter, Unicaja and Liberbank unloaded a total of just 4.9 billion euros in the first nine months of 2019. Those financial institutions wrapped up the quarter with €35.006 billion of such assets on their books, 12% less than at the beginning of the year. In contrast, Spain’s banks in sold off €90 billion in non-performing loans and REOs in 2018.

Standard & Poor’s, on the other hand, published a report in February estimating that Spain’s banks should rid themselves of €30 billion in NPLS between 2019 and 2020. That figure would have lowered their collective NPL ratio to below 4% compared to 7% at the time. Both S&P and Spain’s central bank also argued that the banks needed to increase the pace of sales to prepare for a potential slowdown in the economy.

Original Story: El Economista – Eva Díaz

Adaptation/Translation: Richard D. K. Turner

 

Mercal Inmeubles Sells Two Stores in Madrid for €1.7 Million

2 December 2019 – Mercal Inmuebles has finalised its first sale of assets, selling two commercial premises in Madrid for 1.7 million euros. The two conjoined properties are located at Calle Guzmán el Bueno 16, on the ground floor and mezzanine levels of the building.

According to Ibertasa, the stores were valued at approximately 972,000 euros just last year, up from 903,000 euros in 2013. The assets together have 307 m2 and are currently leased to Bankia. Mercal had already had the assets in its portfolio for a decade.

Original Story: Idealista – David Martínez

Adaptation/Translation: Richard D. K. Turner

Bankia Finalises Transfer of €2.7-Billion Real Estate Portfolio to Lone Star

28 July 2019 – Richard D. K. Turner

Bankia has finalised the transfer of a portfolio of foreclosed properties and non-performing loans to companies controlled by the Lone Star XI Fund.

The final value of the portfolio of foreclosed real estate assets has an approximate gross accounting value of 1.42 billion euros, while the portfolio of non-performing loans is worth approximately €1.283 billion. The total size is slightly lower than originally announced due to recoveries since the deal was signed.

The transaction with Lone Star involves the creation of a new company which will hold the assets and be 20 percent held by Bankia and 80 percent by Lone Star Fund XI.

Original Story: Expansión

Goldman Sachs Sells Office Building in Central Madrid

16 July 2019 – Richard D. K. Turner

Goldman Sachs has just sold the office building located at Calle Serrano, 39, five years after it acquired the asset together with another 37 residential and office buildings from Bankia. The property is located in Madrid’s CBD, nearby the well-known Paseo de la Castellana. Goldman was reportedly paid about 8 million euros.

The four-floor building, which was once home to the Lazard investment bank, has 1,212 square meters of constructed area, including a semi-basement. The asset comes with an pre-approved rehabilitation project, as the American bank opted not to invest in the renovation itself. The main drawback to the asset is that the building’s main entrance is not on Calle Serrano, but rather in a central courtyard.

Goldman Sachs acquired the building as part of a €355-million portfolio, previously owned by Bankia.

Original Story: El Confidencial – Ruth Ugalde

BMO Acquires Building in Madrid for €20MM

28 June 2019

BMO Real Estate Partners finalized its acquisition of the building located at 30 Calle Serrano, in Madrid. The firm bought the asset for approximately 20 million euros from Bankia.

BMO acquired the asset through its Best Value Europe I fund (BVE I), which owns a total of 13 high-street assets throughout Europe, worth than 700 million euros. The real estate consultancy Ascana brokered the deal.

The building is currently leased to Matarranz, a luxury linens store, and is located in Madrid’s wealthy golden mile. The 1000-m2 store was the subject of interest by a number of potential buyers.

Original Story: Idealista – Custodio Pareja

Haya Real Estate Tops Off its Annus Horribilis with Losses of €0.5M

18 June 2019 – El Confidencial

Haya Real Estate suffered an “annus horribilis” in 2018 after it failed to debut on the stock market and was unsuccessful in its efforts to renegotiate its contract with Sareb (discussions are still on-going). Those events were further compounded by the servicer’s recently published results for the year, which saw it record losses of €445,000, compared with a profit of €32.57 million in 2017, despite a 6.7% increase in revenues to €273.7 million.

The losses were caused by several factors, both accounting and operational nature, and would have been even greater had the group not consolidated the results of Haya Titulización, which contributed profits of €1.27 million.

In fact, the real estate servicer platform Haya Real Estate itself recorded losses of €1.7 million in 2018 compared with profits of €20 million last year. They were caused in part by the new contract that the servicer signed with Bankia in 2018, to include BMN’s assets, which involves disbursements and amortisations during the first few years and which have penalised the company in accounting terms. In addition, Haya purchased the company Mihabitans from Liberbank in June 2018.

Specifically, the amortisations of the management contracts of Bankia and Liberbank increased by more than €20 million YoY in 2018, which, combined with the poor performance of other operating costs (they soared by 46% to €92.2 million) meant that the servicer had little chance of repeating its success of 2017.

Original story: El Confidencial (by Ruth Ugalde)

Translation/Summary: Carmel Drake

Sareb Offers the Contracts of Altamira, Servihabitat & Solvia to its Rivals

17 June 2019 – El Confidencial

Sareb is on a mission to change its course. According to market sources, the bad bank chaired by Jaime Echegoyen (pictured below) has decided to put its contracts with Altamira (owned by doBank), Servihabitat (Lone Star) and Solvia (Intrum) out to tender two years before their scheduled renewal.

Even though the contracts are not due to expire until the end of 2021, Sareb is putting them out to tender alongside that of Haya Real Estate, which is due to expire at the end of 2019. This represents a boost for Cerberus’s servicer, given that its competitors will now also have to focus on retaining their own contracts rather than just bidding for Haya’s.

In the event that Sareb awards the contracts of Altamira, Servihabitat and Solvia to other entities, it will have to compensate the servicers since their contracts clearly establish early termination clauses.

Altogether, Sareb is looking at putting out to tender the management of €34 billion in loans and properties that it still has left in its portfolio. The four will have to submit their bids in the next few months, specifying which assets they want to manage and what commissions they will charge.

The largest mandate is that of Haya, which manages assets proceeding from Bankia, which accounted for 37% of the bad bank’s original assets. It is followed by Altamira, which manages the assets proceeding from Catalunya Banc, BMN and Caja 3 (29% of the total); Servihabitat, which manages the assets from NCG Banco, Liberbank and Banco de Valencia (19%); and Solvia,  which manages assets from Bankia (foreclosed), Banco Gallego and Ceiss (15%). Clearly, there is a lot at stake for these servicers.

Original story: El Confidencial (by J. Zuloaga & R. Ugalde)

Translation/Summary: Carmel Drake

Bankia Puts 3,000 Foreclosed Flats Worth €500M Up for Sale

4 June 2019 – El Confidencial

Bankia has put another problem asset portfolio up for sale as it continues to take the Spanish real estate market by storm in 2019. Project Jarama contains 3,000 flats worth €500 million and is one of the bank’s largest operations involving foreclosed assets to date.

The bank chaired by José Ignacio Goirigolzarri has engaged KPMG to coordinate Project Jarama, which is complicated by the fact that more than half of the assets have not yet been fully repossessed by the bank.

In those cases, rulings have been made in the courts to award the property to the bank in exchange for the defaulted debt, but the entity does not yet hold the deeds or the keys, and the final stage of the foreclosure process could take several months in each case.

This sale forms part of Bankia’s strategy to accelerate its strategic plan. At the beginning of 2018, it set itself the target of divesting non-performing assets worth €9 billion from its balance sheet. By March 2019, it had already sold €6.5 billion.

In recent weeks, it has sold a €300 million portfolio to Blackstone and a €150 million portfolio to Cerberus and Kruk.

Original story: El Confidencial (by Jorge Zuloaga)

Translation/Summary: Carmel Drake