Marathon Acquires 2 Office Buildings in Madrid from CaixaBank

14 February 2019 – El Confidencial

The US fund Marathon Asset Management, one of the first to back the recovery of the residential property development sector in Spain, has set its sights on the peripheral office market. According to sources speaking to this newspaper, the firm has purchased a complex measuring 17,557 m2 in Madrid from CaixaBank.

The complex comprises two office buildings and 300 parking spaces, as well as several commercial premises and is located at number 43 on Avenida Institución Libre de Enseñanza in the Julián Camarillo area, which is home to the offices of companies such as Atos, Indra and Prisa.

It is the second operation of its kind that Marathon has carried out in the past three months, given that in November, it acquired a mixed-used complex, also in this area from Credit Suisse. That complex comprised an office building and a hotel managed by Barceló.

Specialising in value-added operations, as demonstrated in the past, with its anticipation of the recovery of the residential property development market with its investments in Habitat and San José Desarrollos (now Vía Célere), the fund is convinced about the potential of the secondary office market in Spain, which it has placed at the centre of its investment target.

In fact, Marathon is interested in closing more acquisitions of this kind both in Madrid, where it plans to continue growing in the Julián Camarillo area, and in Barcelona, where it is looking at opportunities in areas such as 22@.

Last sale by CaixaBank

The fund, which has been advised in its purchase from CaixaBank by Cuatrecasas, Arcadis and Doble Dígito Brokerage, is planning to carry out a comprehensive repositioning of the asset, given that its current occupancy rate amounts to just 30%, according to market sources. They also indicate that the acquisition price will have amounted to around €15 million.

This complex was originally promoted by Grupo Veintidós in 2010, a company that ended up transferring ownership of the complex to CaixaBank, which lodged it in its real estate subsidiary Building Center.

Meanwhile, the bank reached an agreement with Lone Star last year to sell 80% of its real estate business, which means that this could be one of the last operations that the real estate subsidiary carries out under the control of the entity.

Original story: El Confidencial (by R. Ugalde)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Who are Spain’s Largest Residential Landlords?

11 October 2018 – El País

Every month, they receive rent from thousands of tenants who live in the thousands of flats that they own. They are the large landlords of Spain, although it is worth noting one important point: even though between them, they own more than 120,000 residential rental assets, that figure accounts for just 5% of all of the homes on the rental market. In Spain, the stock of rental housing – which exceeds 2.3 million properties, according to calculations from the Ministry of Development – is still dominated by individuals above all. At the other end of the spectrum, that of companies, it is not easy to draw a clear map of who’s who in the Spanish market. There are banks, investment funds, Socimis, real estate companies, servicers, managers…the difference is substantial: some are owners of houses whilst others specialise only in administering the properties.

The properties intersect between these two larges groups. The homes of a bank may belong to a real estate company owned by the entity itself and be administrated by its manager, which in turn, may be responsible for the houses of other companies. Or a fund may own several servicers, the name given to the platforms that, since the crisis, have absorbed a large proportion of the toxic assets (both properties and mortgages) owned by the banks, and that in turn, may be entrusted with the administration of some of the homes by the banks. The examples are simpler if we look at specific cases. What follows is a portrait of the main protagonists of the residential rental market in Spain. Seven companies that control portfolios that come close to or exceed 10,000 assets each, according to figures facilitated by them and by other sources in the sector.

Blackstone. This real estate investment fund is well on its way to becoming the largest owner of rental housing in Spain. It entered the market in 2013 with the purchase of a portfolio of social housing properties that the Town Hall of Madrid, led at the time by Ana Botella, put up for sale. Those 1,860 homes were just the start of a portfolio that now contains around 32,000 properties. Since then, Blackstone has acquired thousands of toxic assets from entities such as Banco Popular and Catalunya Caixa. From the real estate arm of the latter, CX Inmobiliaria, a subsidiary of the US fund emerged, which is now responsible for managing most of its rental homes. Anticipa is a specialist servicer in what is known as “fragmented management”. Its 15,000 homes do not form part of blocks of buildings, but rather they are scattered all over the country. In addition to that portfolio, Fidere manages 6,200 properties. That Socimi (…) was created specifically after the operation was closed with the Town Hall of Madrid and then continued to add other residential assets to its portfolio, which unlike Anticipa’s form part of blocks and urbanisations. The latest blow, in terms of the effect on the market, came last month, with Blackstone’s agreement to purchase 70.01% of Testa. With the control of that Socimi – which until then belonged to Santander, BBVA, Acciona and Merlin – around 32,000 rental assets are now under the orbit of the US fund, making it the largest landlord in Spain.

CaixaBank. Until recently, the Catalan entity was the largest owner of rental homes and it is still in the top three. Unlike the other banks, which succumbed to the pressure to sell to interested investors, the former Caixa owns 27,557 residential rental assets through its real estate arm Building Center. The entity’s own manager, Servihabitat, is responsible for managing those assets, and its portfolio also includes assets entrusted by other owners, taking its total to 42,163 assets. Of those 28,549 are homes (and the remainder are storerooms and parking spaces).

Banco Sabadell. A very similar example to CaixaBank. In this case, the entity’s own servicer, Solvia, is responsible for managing its residential rental assets. Its rental portfolio comprises around 32,000 residential assets and, of those, 74% belong to Sabadell, making it the third largest landlord in Spain with around 23,600 assets.

Haya. In fourth place on the list is the servicer owned by Cerberus. The investment fund created it after acquiring some of Bankia’s real estate portfolio. Then it increased it with purchases from other banks such as Santander. At the end of 2017, based on the most recent data provided by the company, it managed around 14,100 assets.

Azora. This manager administers around 11,000 homes on behalf of other companies and Socimis. Its main clients include Lazora, a company recently recapitalised by CBRE GIP and Madison, which owns 6,800 assets, and Encasa Cibeles, which has 2,500 assets and is owned by the investment bank Goldman Sachs.

Sareb. The (…) bad bank concentrated more than €50 billion in toxic assets during the crisis, including both mortgages and properties. Its objective was, and still is, to divest them, but in the meantime, it has been capitalising what it can. One of the ways is placing some of its properties up for rent. It has more than 10,000 in its portfolio, but it does not manage them directly: it has distributed the management of 5,223 units between Altamira, Haya, Servihabitat and Solvia. The 1,383 that form part of Témpore, a Socimi owned by Sareb, are administered by Azora. Finally, it has around 4,000 that it is reserving for social housing rentals and that it is handing over on a piecemeal basis as one-off agreements are reached with autonomous regions and large town Halls.

Altamira. Another servicer, which belongs to Apollo and Banco Santander. Its rental portfolio comprises 12,500 properties including tertiary assets. Most, around 9,700, are residential assets and belong to Santander or Sareb.

Original story: El País (by José Luis Aranda)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Spain’s Banks Are Queueing Up to Finance Rental Housing

4 July 2018 – El Economista

One of the major challenges facing Spain in the residential market is the organisation of the rental home segment in light of the fragmentation that exists and the boom that is currently underway. There is currently a great deal of demand, but there is also a distinct lack of supply, and the new Housing Plan approved by the Government is not proving sufficient to incentivise the supply with the granting of aid to property developers that build rental housing. In light of this situation, we ask ourselves whether the opportunity that currently exists in Spain to organise the rental market is being taken advantage of?

“I think that the professionals and investors who have launched portfolios thanks to the creation of Socimis are taking good advantage of the opportunity, but I believe that some important players are simply not supporting the sector, such as the Public Administrations. Both nationally and locally, but above all locally, they are failing miserably and this is generating price tensions due to a lack of supply”, explains José Luis Ruiz Bartolomé, Director General of the consultancy firm Chamberí Asset Management.

Along the same lines, José María Cervera, Corporate CEO of Renta Corporación agrees and states that the public sector has been left on the sidelines. “Private capital has taken the initiative in this new segment of the market because it has seen a business opportunity and is looking for returns. And the public sector is going to have to enter, but now the arbitrage and those who are institutionalising it are in the private sector, and so they are going to place more rental properties on the market”.

For all of these reasons, during 2018, we are observing the creation of a new industry. Given that in Spain there are 18.5 million households, according to the latest figure from the Active Population Survey (EPA), and of those, 22% are rental homes, there are 4.7 million rental homes in total. Of that portfolio, only 5% are owned by institutional companies; the remaining 95% are owned by individuals.

“The Public Administration has done something important, which is to reorganise the real estate sector and separate property promotion and development activities, by creating Socimis that operate under a special framework. That has brought us closer to a situation that is more similar to those seen in other European countries. Now, we will have to see how the different players that are emerging in this market position themselves, and in two or three years, we will see the consolidation of this sector, which means that the Public Administrations will have to continue refining their regulations so that the sector can develop and be brought into line with those of other European countries”, says Nicolás Díaz-Saldaña, CEO at Témpore (Socimi of Sareb).

Nevertheless, not all of the experts in the sector concur. David Botín, Director of Real Estate Development at the ACR Group, says that this opportunity is not being leveraged. “It is possible that we are seeing the beginnings of a new rental market, but to date, just 22% of our households are renting and that supply is being provided almost exclusively by individuals. As such, it is very hard to fathom how we will reach the percentages seen in other countries such as Germany, where rental properties account for 48.3% of the market or the United Kingdom (36.6%). It is really hard to increase the stock in Spain because there are 19 million homes, and so a 1% increase means placing 190,000 more homes on the rental market, and that would take between three and four years (…). At that rate, nothing is going to happen quickly. No market works if there is no equilibrium between supply and demand. We need a large and varied supply for this market to work effectively”, he adds.

It is true that, historically, Spain has been a country of property owners, but the cultural and socio-economic changes that have been happening in recent years are drawing some new business lines, where the rental market is taking centre stage and is starting to become institutionalised. The new players in this market are: on the one hand, the Socimis, which are listed companies that serve as investment vehicles with tax benefits. The largest of them is Testa, which will debut on the stock market soon and which is owned by Santander, BBVA, Acciona and Merlin Properties. There are also others such as Azora, Vivenio (Renta Corporación), Témpore (Sareb) and Fidere, amongst the largest. Within this market, we can also include the servicers, which although they do not own properties, manage them, such as Solvia (Sabadell), Anticipa (Blackstone), Haya (Cerberus), Altamira (Apollo and Santander). And then, there are companies owned by the banks, such as Building Center (Caixabank) and other types of companies such as Alquiler Seguro, family offices, etc.

Therefore, now that the new players required to institutionalise this market are starting to be created, the next step is to develop a portfolio of assets. “We are going to need to reach agreements with property developers to build homes for rental (…), and at Sareb, we are going to use some of the land that we have for the co-development of rental homes (…)”, says Nicolás Saldaña.

That is a formula that is starting to spark interest. According to the experts, property developers have always been reluctant to enter the rental market, because they didn’t see it as their business, but in the end, the market trend has changed and whilst the sale and purchase segment will continue to exist, so too will the rental sector and property developers will have to participate (…).

The rental segment is a market that has always existed in the hands of individuals, but now, it is being professionalised, thanks to the arrival of overseas capital. “Investors have contributed many things, besides capital. They have contributed methodologies, rigour, professionalism (…). The banks were not open to this business before, they only financed promotion, but that has changed. For six months now, everyone has been wanting a piece of the pie and now there is a queue of financial institutions wanting to finance this type of business (…)”. Says José María Cervera (…).

Investing in residential properties is profitable. The gross return from investing in rental homes has increased to 7.3% from 6.3% a year ago, due to the strength of demand for rental properties, according to the real estate portfolio Idealista (…).

Original story: El Economista (by Luzmelia Torres)

Translation: Carmel Drake

CaixaBank Sells Office Building in Valencia to Bancalé

9 March 2018 – Levante EMV

The Aragonese holding company Bancalé has just acquired an office building measuring more than 7,300 m2 on Avenida del Puerto in València. And it seems that the firm, which owns the electronic goods chain K-tuin, has put the building up for rent, as evidenced by the enormous sign that has been hanging from the façade for several weeks now.

According to sources at the company, the building was acquired from CaixaBank a few months ago, in an operation whose economic consideration has not been revealed. The property used to belong to Banco de València, which used to operate some of its services from there. However, the seven-storey building has been empty since 2012.

With the sale of the historical Valencian entity to CaixaBank for €1 in 2012, the building was taken over by Building Center, the real estate subsidiary of the Catalan bank. In 2017, it was finally sold, after it was put on the market and Bancalé made the best offer.

Sources at the group, which is headquartered in Zaragoza, and which comprises a family office linked to the businessman Juan Ramón Fabre, believe that they will be able to let the entire building to a single tenant. The offer includes the ground floor, which is currently occupied by a branch of CaixaBank. “The feeling we have is that there are no products like this in Valencia, with 7,000 m2 of office space available and concentrated in a single space”, say sources at the company. The new owners intend to invest in the building and will do so to adapt it to the needs of the client that rents it out.

With this operation, Bancalé has made its first incursion into the real estate sector in Valencia. The holding company has a real estate division, with offices in Madrid, Barcelona and Zaragoza. It is also a majority shareholder in a hotel investment vehicle that has a presence in Washington, New York, London, Brussels, Berlin and Cologne, according to its website.

Student halls of residence are another focus for the firm’s investment, as well as the logistics sector, where it owns assets in the Plaza de Zaragoza platform. In recent times, the group has also been positioning itself in the renewable energy field with projects in Aragón.

All in all, one of the most well-known facets of the Aragonese group is its chain of electronic shops K-tuin. Bancalé owns the network of 17 establishments in Spanish regional capitals, which sell Apple products and generate a global turnover of more than €150 million.

In addition, Bancalé has also had interests in the social healthcare field, specifically in Valencia. Fabre’s firm had a fleeting experience in the retirement home sector, as the owner of the La Seu nursing home, an establishment with 155 beds on Calle Gobernador Viejo in the old town. The Aragonese firm sold that building to Sanitas at the end of 2016, after experiencing problems with the management of the centre.

Original story: Levante EMV

Translation: Carmel Drake

CaixaBank Hires KPMG to Accelerate Sale of Rental Homes Worth €3bn

29 November 2017 – El Confidencial

Spanish financial entities have put their foot down on the accelerator to remove a decade’s worth of real estate crises from their balance sheets. The starting gun was fired by Banco Santander in the summer, when it transferred 51% of the €30 billion in toxic assets that it had inherited from Popular to Blackstone; and yesterday, another milestone was marked by the agreement announced between BBVA and Cerberus, which will allow the bank to deconsolidate more than €12 billion in foreclosed assets.

The next major step may involve CaixaBank after the entity engaged KPMG to try to accelerate the sale of a significant batch of real estate assets, with a net value of €12.1 billion. Specifically, the professional services firm is already working on organising one or more processes to allow the sale of some of the €3 billion that the bank owns in rental assets, according to sources familiar with the process.

That portfolio contains almost 40,000 units and, if it ends up being sold, will represent one of the most significant divestments made by the entity to date. Sources at CaixaBank acknowledge that they are working with KPMG and admit that one of the services that the firm is rendering “may include the sale of certain foreclosed rental assets” but they point out that it would only for a portion of the aforementioned €3 billion.

The sale to Testa of 135 homes, announced in September, fits within this strategy – a small appetiser ahead of the main course that the bank led by Gonzalo Gortázar really wants to serve. Its efforts are aimed at trying to taking advantage of the excess liquidity held by the large funds and the current attractiveness of Socimis to find an exit for its foreclosed rental assets.

Despite CaixaBank’s interest in reducing its real estate exposure, something that both the Bank of Spain and the European Central Bank are asking the entire sector to do, the entity is choosing to be cautious. It is pushing ahead one step at a time, according to market sources, who say that the bank is working to redefine the future of its whole real estate division.

New route map

CaixaBank’s real estate activity is currently divided into two large subsidiaries, Building Center, the real estate company that owns the bulk of the entity’s foreclosed assets; and Servihabitat, a platform (servicer), in which the bank holds a 49% stake, whilst the other 51% is owned by the fund TPG.

The second company, which has been given the mandate to manage the bank’s properties, but not ownership of them, has just hired Iheb Nafa as its new CEO, to replace Julián Cabanillas. It has also engaged McKinsey and Oliver Wyman to analyse all of its future options; any change would require the firm to reach an agreement with TPG; moreover, that giant may be interested in increasing its stake in Servihabitat.

CaixaBank has net real estate assets amounting to €12.1 billion according to its most recent quarterly report as at 30 September. All of this “property” is included in the area known as Non-Core Real Estate, which generated losses of €330 million during the first nine months of the year. The jewel in that crown is the real estate company Building Center, owner of the majority of the foreclosed assets, whose accounting coverage ratio stands at 49%.

Sources in the sector expect the bank to make its big move within the next year, and for it to be in line with those already made by BBVA and Santander. For the time being, the entity is limiting its expectations to the field of research, by indicating that “KPMG, Oliver Wyman and McKinsey are redefining operating processes to improve logistics and efficiency”.

Original story: El Confidencial (by Ruth Ugalde)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Fiatc Invests €27M to Grow its Nursing Home Business

28 November 2017 – La Vanguardia

The insurance company Fiatc is going to give a fresh boost to its nursing home business, with the opening of two new centres, one in Vall Park and the other in the former Sant Josep clinic. Altogether, the firm is going to make an investment amounting to €27 million. Meanwhile, it is also considering growing its business as an operator of buildings built for this purpose.

Joan Castells (pictured above), President of the insurance company, explained that, in the end, they have opted to convert the former Sant Josep del Putxet clinic into a nursing home and day centre. “We want to build an above-ground complex measuring 4,500 m2 and we are negotiating the plans with the Town Hall to decide whether to demolish the building and construct a new one or conserve the existing structure and restore it”, he explained. The centre will focus on elderly people who have a certain degree of personal independence and the firm wants to obtain the necessary municipal permits to begin construction in 2018. Fiatc purchased the property from Building Center in the summer for €4.1 million and plans to invest €15 million in the project in total.

Meanwhile, according to Castells, Fiatc is also finalising the municipal permits to start construction work on a new nursing home in Vall Park, above the Ronda de Dalt in Gràcia. That property will have 150 beds and will require an investment of more than €12 million. The firm wants to grow in the sector, including as an operator, and is also considering taking over the management of a residence owned by a private group in Terrassa.

The insurance company started to operate nursing homes for elderly people in 2006, with Blau Almeda, a complex measuring 8,600 m2 with 144 beds. It then added the Cugat Natura complex in Sant Cugat, which includes 32 sheltered apartments and a nursing home with 172 beds. Its most recent project, in 2014, was in Les Masies de Mollet, with 148 beds and 40 spaces in the day centre.

Fiatc recorded revenues from premiums of €539 million last year, up by 7.9% compared to 2015, and a profit of €3 million. In recent years, the insurance company has focused on growing its life division, which grew by 23% in 2016, to account for 30% of its total portfolio. Life now exceeds the health insurance division (27%), whilst the automobile division, where the firm first started out, accounts for just 14%. The company now has 50% of its business outside of Cataluña, as well as 60% of its 517,000 members.

The insurance company currently employs 850 people, although that figure rises to 1,450 for the group as a whole, including the Diagonal clinic in Esplugues de Llobregat, two medical centres in Barcelona and another one in Vilanova i la Geltrú. According to Castells, the company bases its growth on its network of exclusive agents: it has 54 branches located all over Spain and a network of 1,700 agents, as well as agreements with around 3,000 brokers.

Original story: La Vanguardia (by Rosa Salvador)

Translation: Carmel Drake

CaixaBank Considers Selling 1,000 Homes To Overseas Funds

11 March 2015 – Expansión

‘Project Eurostars’ / The Catalan group is sounding out investors to assess their interest in the portfolio, which mainly comprises homes on Spanish coast.

The Spanish bank wants to widen the ‘drain’ through which it is offloading property from its balance sheet. As well as leveraging on the intense activity in their sales networks, financial institutions are looking to take advantage of the interest shown by overseas funds by packaging up batches of homes. One of the first groups to join this trend is CaixaBank, which has been sounding out the market in recent weeks regarding the sale of a portfolio of 1,000 homes known as Project Eurostars; Expansión has had access to the corresponding sales prospectus.

The group chaired by Isidro Fainé (pictured above) has handed over the management of this transaction, whose information was first distributed to funds at the end of February, to the real estate consultant JLL. According to the timeline proposed initially, investors should have submitted their non-binding offers yesterday and the process should close by the end of the month.

The Eurostars portfolio comprises 1,091 real estate assets, with an estimated combined value of €103 million. The majority of the portfolio is made up of 807 homes, primarily located on the Mediterranean coast, with an average value of €122,000. The portfolio also includes 250 parking spaces, 26 store-rooms and 5 shops.

The homes are concentrated in Barcelona, Tarragona, Valencia, Alicante, Granada, Cádiz, Navarra and Tenerife.

In the information that has been distributed, the advisor JLL highlights two key features that it hopes will appeal to foreign investors: the improvement in the real estate market, with an 18% increase in (the volume of) house sales between 2013 and 2014; together with “the positive economic outlook and increasing volume of investment”, with investors allocating €23,000 million to Spanish property in 2014.

The homes to be sold are currently held on the balance sheet of the Building Centre, a subsidiary of CaixaBank, after being foreclosed.

The group sold 13,794 properties in 2014, i.e. 27% more than in 2013 and the volume of foreclosed assets increased by 12%, to reach almost €15,000 million in gross terms.

Original story: Expansión (by Jorge Zuloaga)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Caixabank Injects Another €1.900 Million Into Its Real Estate Business In Order To Rejuvenate It

11/08/2014 – El Economista

In only two years the bank has had to invest almost 4,000 million euros in Building Center. The bank is increasing sales of homes and land by around 10% following the alliance with the investment fund TPG.

Caixabank has recently injected 1.900 million euros into its real estate subsidiary with the aim of stabilising the balance of its equity. Last June it invested this amount into Building Center, a company which manages homes and land reclaimed due to payment defaults by its customers.

With this transaction, the Catalan bank once again stabilises the balance sheet of this franchise, increasing its share capital in the face of its increasing activity and its losses suffered as a result of increases in provisions and increasing sales at losses. Equally, it is balancing the level of financing from debt compared with equity.

It is not the first time that Caixabank has had to go to the rescue of Building Center. It already injected 2.000 million euros last year. But neither is it the only bank to have to carry out this type of transaction on a recurring basis.

Last year, in separate transactions the five banking groups (Santander, BBVA, Sabadell, Popular and Caixabank itself) paid out almost 9.000 million to their real estate companies. Including Caixabank’s transaction just over a month ago, the amount goes up to some 11.000 million.

At the close of 2013, Building Center had a total equity of closeto 3.500 million euros, but suffered losses of 1.800 million. During the first half of this year, its activity has continued to produce a hole in its finances. According to the financial statements of the group, its real estate operations, which also include loans to property developers, led to results of €468 million in the red, primarily due to adjustments to write down the value of properties and also debts due to insolvency.

Expansion of its portfolio

In the first six months of the year, the subsidiary of Caixabank incorporated as a real estate company has increased the volume of its properties to 14.445 million euros before provisions, primarily due to the incorporation of new plots of land into its portfolio. In December, the value of entity’s foreclosed assets was around 13.284 million.

The firm adjusted the value of these properties with provisions of 7.700 million in order to anticipate losses and in order to be able to do away with them more quickly, incurring the minimum losses possible.  The level of provisions against the Catalan bank’s portfolio amounts to 53 per cent, meaning it can offer discounts of up to that amount on the sale price without suffering further losses.

The La Caixagroup also has another real estate business, Servihabitat, which is a subsidiary of the holding company Criteria and which, up until the incorporation of Caixabank in 2011 and subsequently that of Building Center, encompassed all of the properties which it received in exchange for defaults on loans.

As a result, the total volume of the real estate portfolio of La Caixa is €18.500 million, with provisions of 55 per cent, according to data included in its half year report.

With the aim of expediting sales and improving the management of foreclosed properties, as well as generating profits, La Caixa reached an agreement with the investment fund TPG at the end of last year for it to take over its property platform. The fund took over 51 per cent of Servihabitat and receives commissions for divestments and management of the whole portfolio of the group presided by Isidro Fainé, including Building Center.

This alliance and the reawakening of the sector in recent months have led Building Center to increase the number of transactions between December 2013 and June 2014. It has sold and leased more than half of last year’s total. It has surpassed 11.456 properties, compared with 18.386 in the whole of last year.

Sales of 1,200 million

These transactions have provided the bank with revenues of 1.213 million euros, an increase of 10 per cent on the inter-annual rate. In 2013 income reached €2.180 million.

Caixabank admits that sales, specifically, rose by 30 per cent, but that they continue to generate losses. In other words, the sales are made with discounts greater than the level of the provisions.

This situation is the prevailing trend across the sector, which sees no choice but to keep lowering prices in order to expedite sales and do away with the property burden. In some cases, the discounts reach 80 per cent, mainly in peripheral areas or those which are less desirable. Plots of land are also reaching or exceeding this fall in price, although the banks have also set up various projects to develop land which can be built on, in order to raise their value and sell them with greater profits in the future.

Sales of homes and land by the five largest banks, among which is Caixabank, have increased to 35.000 properties. These transactions have meant more than 4.000 million euros of revenue for the banking sector as a whole.

Original article: El Economista (by F. Tadeo)
Translation: Aura REE

Building Center Sells Five Properties to TPG For the Total of €43 Mn

31/07/2014 – Expansion

Building Center has closed the first sale of several real estate asset portfolios currently up for sale. The branch of CaixaBank has sold a package of five buildings to U.S. fund TPG for a joint €43.5 million.

They are two blocks of apartments located in Madrid and three commercial properties in Tenerife, Pamplona (Navarre) and Majorca.

TPG was selected by CaixaBank to share holding of the bank´s property servicer Servihabitat. The firm earned €106 million during the first half of the year, up 26%. Servihabitat manages a €43 billion worth of assets belonging both to Criteria, another arm of La Caixa, and to Building Center gathering CaixaBank´s foreclosures.

Building Center decided to speed the asset sales up by creating several portfolios of finished but still empty homes, dwellings for rent and land.

At the end of the first half of 2014, the company was disposing of a €6.75 billion in repossessed assets with a 53% coverage. In six months, it sold 11.456 properties for the total of €1.21 billlion, by 10% more.

 

Original article: Expansión (by S. Saborit), Ascri

CaixaBank Announces Building Center´s Assets Sell-Off

25/07/2014 – Expansion

CaixaBank has decided to shed majority of its REO assets originating from developer in-lieu payments and foreclosures. The properties are lodged in Building Center, a company founded in mid 2011 by the bank. At present, the firm owns assets valued at €6 billion.

The sale is a part of a larger, non-core asset divestment plan of the entity and it will be carried out by an orderly liquidation process.

The first two packages, named the “Port” and the “Bridge” have already been spotted by investment funds eyeing the Spanish property market in search of opportunities.

In detail, the “Port” portfolio consists of finished and empty houses and it was put up for sale at an asking price of €120 million. If it comes to the “Bridge”, the lot includes rental housing units valued at between €700 million and €800 million. This portfolio is said to be enjoying great popularity among such funds as Azora and Blackstone.

Residential units (homes and land) account for 80% of the entire CaixaBank´s firm´s portfolio, whereas the rest represent industrial properties, offices and shops, mostly located in Andalusia but also in Madrid and Barcelona.

The sale of Building Center´s assets embraces also land, to be apportioned in portfolios soon. Talking about their class, they are urban plots with approved building permits.

Building Center served to La Caixa as a warehouse for all REO assets foreclosed after March 2011. Prior to that time, the entity stored its reposssessions in Servihabitat XXI which mergered with Criteria and then vaporised.

Both the properties held by Building Center and Criteria are managed and traded by Servihabitat Servicios Inmobiliarios.

 

Original article: Expansión (by Rocío Ruiz)

Translation: AURA REE