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

 

Meridia Takes €83.5-Million Loan to Build Project in Barcelona’s 22@

21 November 2019 – A socimi controlled by Meridia has arranged an up to €83.5-million syndicated loan with CaixaBank and Santander to build the future headquarters of Everis in Barcelona’s 22@ district.

The firm’s real estate vehicle, Meridia III, requested the loan, which will be guaranteed by the plot of land located at Avenida Nova Icària 213, as well any future construction on the site. The loan will last until seven years after the end of construction.

Original Story: Expansión – Marisa Anglés

Adaptation/Translation: Richard D. K. Turner

Insur Refinances €100 Million in Outstanding Debts

20 July 2019 – Richard D. K. Turner

Inmobiliaria del Sur (Insur) took advantage of favorable market conditions to refinance its outstanding debt this week. The firm refinanced 100 million euros of debt, equal to 60% of its total net liabilities, at significantly better conditions, freeing up over 35 million euros over the next five years. Insur owns rental properties, including offices, commercial premises and car parks.

Insur Patrimonial arranged the refinancing in an operation involving a total of 11 banks, led by Santander. Those banks include Caixabank, BBVA, Unicaja, Sabadell, Bankinter and Novo Banco. In addition to the €100 million, the firm also borrowed another €10 million to acquire an office building in Seville for redevelopment into a hotel to be leased to Hotusa.

Original Story: El Confidencial – Carlos Pizá de Silva

Photo: F. Ruso

CaixaBank Nears Sale of Niseko Project

9 July 2019 – Richard D. K. Turner

CaixaBank is nearing completion of the sale of its Niseko Project to two U.S. investment groups, D. E. Shaw and Farallon Capital Management. The total portfolio of non-performing loans have collateral guarantees and a face value of approximately 670 million euros.  

Niseko Project is divided into two sub-portfolios, Hokkaido and Sapporo. Hokkaido, which consists of eight large loans, all with guarantees, is set to go to D. E. Shaw. The sub-portfolio has an estimated market value of about 200 million euros (€400 million face value). The second portfolio will go to Farallon Capital Management and comprises 100 smaller loans.

At the same time, the Catalan bank is putting a new portfolio, the Chamonik Project, worth another 500 million euros, up for sale.

Original Story: El Confidencial – Jorge Zuloaga

CaixaBank Creates a Subsidiary to Finance Loans to Property Developers

17 June 2019 – Eje Prime

CaixaBank has created a new subsidiary to finance loans to property developers. The entity will operate under the brand CaixaBank Real Estate&Homes and will seek stable agreements with established property developers such as Neinor, Aedas Homes and Vía Célere, amongst others.

In 2018, CaixaBank financed 581 real estate projects lending €2.6 billion in total, up by 13% YoY. Moreover, 84% of the developments financed by the bank last year corresponded to projects involving less than 50 homes.

Original story: Eje Prime

Translation/Summary: Carmel Drake

CaixaBank will Occupy Norman Foster’s New Building in Colón (Madrid)

4 June 2019 – Voz Pópuli

According market sources, CaixaBank has won the bid to acquire the iconic glass-cube Axis building that Normal Foster is building in Plaza de Colón in Madrid.

The bank has reportedly fought off competition from Tesla and Microsoft and so the property will be occupied by a sole tenant, rather than by various shops and offices as initially envisaged.

The building work is expected to be completed at the end of this year and the property will comprise three open-plan floors, with large transparent façades overlooking Plaza de Colón and Calle de Génova, as well as a rooftop terrace.

Original story: Voz Pópuli (by David Cabrera)

Translation/Summary: Carmel Drake

The FROB Recorded a €382M Provision Against its Stake in Sareb in 2018

20 May 2019 – El Confidencial

The Spanish Fund for Orderly Banking Restructuring (FROB) presented its accounts for 2018 this week revealing that it decided to recognise a €382 million provision against its stake in Sareb last year.

In this way, the FROB has now written off 92.3% of its initial investment in the entity chaired by Jaime Echegoyen (pictured above), up from 75% in 2017. If the rest of the investor entities, namely all of the large Spanish banks with the exception of BBVA, do the same, then they will have to recognise losses of around €450 million.

In absolute terms, the FROB’s stake in Sareb is now worth €169 million compared with its initial investment of €2.192 billion. The FROB is Sareb’s largest shareholder with a 45.9% stake, followed by Santander (22.3%), CaixaBank (12.2%), Sabadell (6.6%) and Kutxabank (2.5%).

As the bad bank’s largest shareholder, the FROB typically sets the tone of the provisions for the other entities. Last year, after the FROB increased its cumulative provision to 75%, other shareholders such as CaixaBank and Sabadell recognised extraordinary provisions in their accounts for Q2. This year, the average provisioning rate is expected to increase from around 70% to 90%.

Sareb closed 2018 with losses of €878 million (up by 55%) due to the strong competition in the institutional market and the real estate crisis that still affects much of the country. The bad bank sold 21,152 properties last year and its income from property management soared by 19% to €1.4 billion, but its income from the loan portfolio fell by 16% to €2.2 billion and so total income fell by 5% to €3.7 billion.

The outlook for the bad bank for the next few years is not great and many experts forecast that not even a single euro will be recovered from Sareb.

Original story: El Confidencial (by Jorge Zuloaga)

Translation/Summary: Carmel Drake

S&P Encourages Spain’s Banks to Divest More Property & NPLs

18 April 2019 – Ya Encontré

Spain’s banks got rid of €90 billion in foreclosed assets and doubtful loans last year, almost doubling the transaction volume recorded in 2017 (€52 billion) and setting a new annual record. But they still have a lot of homes left to sell and Standard&Poors is encouraging them to divest more of those properties, with a view to restoring their pre-crisis risk levels of 4% within two years.

According to the ratings agency, the banks still hold properties worth €80 billion, representing one of the highest stocks in Europe and accounting for 7% of the balance sheets of the domestic financial sector. In this context, S&P considers that the banks still need to get rid of another €30 billion in assets, at least, if they are to properly clean up their accounts.

The active buyside players in the market include many overseas investors and funds, such as Lone Star, TPG, Apollo, Blackstone, Bain Capital and Cerberus, which have played an important role in reducing the stock of major financial institutions, such as Santander, BBVA, CaixaBank and Banco Sabadell.

S&P is not alone in its stance. Both the European Central Bank (ECB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) are also urging Spain’s banks to divest the last of their property portfolios as quickly as possible to ensure financial stability ahead of the next recession.

Original story: Ya Encontré

Translation/Summary: Carmel Drake

BBVA Opens 2,000 m2 Multi-Channel ‘Boutique’ Branch on La Diagonal in Barcelona

17 April 2019 – Idealista

BBVA has just signed an agreement to open a ’boutique’ branch spanning more than 2,000 m2 on Avenida Diagonal in Barcelona. The company will take over the premises from the property developer Corp.

The new branch will follow in the footsteps of those already opened by other banking groups such as CaixaBank, which has opened branches offering customised services for clients, including options such as coworking spaces and cafés.

The new spaces integrate the different channels (in person, remote and digital) on offer and provide a better experience for both customers and employees thanks to their open, transparent and better-designed layouts.

Original story: Idealista (by Custodio Pareja)

Translation/Summary: Carmel Drake

Solvia Joins Forces with Orion Capital & Will Manage an Asset Portfolio Acquired from Goldman

8 April 2019 – Idealista

Solvia has joined forces with Orion Capital, which has entrusted the servicer with managing the portfolio that it purchased from Goldman Sachs at the end of last year.

The portfolio has a nominal value of €400 million and contains loans originated by CaixaBank. As such, Solvia will lead the sales process for all of the real estate assets included in the portfolio and for the properties that are recovered as solutions are found to the non-payment of loans.

Original story: Idealista 

Translation/Summary: Carmel Drake