NH at the Verge of Selling Sotogrande to Cerberus For €225 Mn

31/07/2014 – ExpansionPro

NH Hotel Group nears signing a contract on transferring its real estate affiliate Sotogrande to Cerberus for €225 million. The transaction is expected to be nailed down within the next weeks.

However, still yesterday NH assured the National Stock Market Commission that sale of the asset which has been in the group´s hands since 2006 is not confirmed. The Sotogrande complex at stake stands in the city of San Roque (Cadiz). Thus, the outside-of-Spain projects, located in Italy, Mexico and in the Dominican Republic will remain in possession of NH but sooner or later they will be sold as well.

Likewise, NH will still rent the two 4* hotels situated inside the complex, totalling 254 rooms. The group will destine the proceeds from the sale for trimming its €801 million indebtness.


Original article: ExpansionPro (by Y. Blanco, 31 Julio 2014, pp 4)

Translation: AURA REE

AURA REE Reports: Cerberus Is the Leading Real Estate Servicer in Spain

1/07/2014 – Bloomberg

Haya Real Estate, a property management company run by Cerberus Capital Management LP, has taken the lead in the distressed-real estate servicing, encompassing a €19.9 billion share of administered assets. The firm currently holds a 22.4% market share with 210.949 properties (30% more than last year), according to OUR REPORT quoted by the site´s journalist Sharon Smyth. Therein, we have analyzed data on assets published on the websites of Spanish banks.

In the article, the reporter adduces the words of our founder and CEO, Fernando Acuña Ruiz, commenting on the matter: “that figure for the value of market is just the tip of the iceberg. It uses only published data. In reality, the market is much larger as there is product, including bad loans, that isn’t made public.”

Madrid-based Haya has added considerably to its market share by signing the 10-year agreement on management of €7.3 billion worth of assets owned by savings bank Cajamar.

Moreover, among other funds buying-out distressed debt and assets, in September 2013 Haya bought Bankia Habitat real estate manager from Bankia for €90 million. Apart from that, Cerberus´s arm signed a contract with Spain´s bad bank on administration of its €17 million worth of soured assets in December 2012.

In total, Haya manages property valued at €35 billion and scattered all around Spain. The servicer sells at pace of 30 homes per day.

Haya, Anida and Servihabitat are the biggest real estate managers in the country, accounting for 50% of the market. They are followed by smaller companies such as Aliseda, CXG, Altamira, Aktua and Solvia, according to Aura REE.


Original article: Bloomberg (by Sharon Smyth)

Summary: AURA REE

Cerberus & JC Flowers Negotiate With Cajamar on €350 Mn Capital Enlargement

27/06/2014 – Expansion

Spanish cooperative savings banks cross the limits. At least two huge American funds, Cerberus and JC Flowers are negotiating with Cajamar on possibility to inject €350 million in fresh capital into the entity.

Allegedly, the ampliation would reinforce the branch of Cajamar – Banco de Crédito Social Cooperativo, although the bank claims there is no relation between the two matters. The newly created credit institution associates 32 cooperative savings banks with 4 million customers, 6.500 employees and 1.350 offices.

Cajamar also denies that the funds are the only finalists at the operation, as also insurance firms like Generali and financial groups specilized in cooperatives like Rabobank and Crédit Agricole wish to present their bids. The bank says it seeks long-term investors as in short-term it does not foresee becoming listed.

Cerberus bought two servicing companies from banks, Bankia Habitat and Cimenta2 (from Cajamar itself) through its investment arm Haya Real Estate. JC Flowers at the moment is eyeing the Spanish market without any decisive movements, however it in other countries it owns Italian insurer Eurovita and a part of Northern Rock´s portfolio.


Original article: Expansión (by Jorge Zuloaga)

Translation: AURA REE

Elliott, Apollo & Cerberus Strive For Cesce

18/06/2014 – Expansion

Investment funds Cerberus, Elliott and Apollo will tilt at a bidding for 50.2% of Compañía Española de Seguros de Crédito a la Exportación (Cesce, translated as Spanish Company For Export Credit) to be put up for sale by the Government soon. The three firms have previously invested in financial businesses like Sareb or savings banks.

In total, around 10 companies showed interest in the state company, among which one may find Spanish Mapfre, Mutua Madrileña or Axesor. The total value of Cesce is estimated at between 300 and 320 million Euros.


Original article: Expansión

Translation: AURA REE

Santander negotiates the sale of Altamira with ten international funds.

“You establish the price. Tell us how much”. This slogan, used in Altamira´s last campaign, fits perfectly with the sale process started by the institution presided over by Emilio Botín in order to transfer this subsidiary. This disinvestment is now the operation of the year among international funds, which see Altamira as the biggest real estate platform to grow in the Spanish market.

Nearly ten foreign investors have shown their interest in Santander´s real estate company and could present in the next few days their non-binding offer for the Bison Project, as the operation has been officially named.

The sale includes the real estate management platform of Santander, with its 250-300 workers, and an exclusive agreement for the sale of properties for around ten years. The fund which acquires Altamira will manage and sell the properties awarded by Santander – the webpage includes around 15.000- and the failed real estate credits. Initially there have been talks of including the transfer of some portfolios of awarded assets, but this option has been finally discarded.

The Bison Project will not only mean that the winner will become the manager of the properties of the biggest Spanish financial group, it will also be the entrance key to manage the assets of the bad bank in the future. Santander is the biggest private shareholder of this company, only behind the Restructuring Fund, with 17% of the capital.

This expectancy has been a decoy for funds such as Cerberus, which already has a real estate company in Spain: Bankia Habitat, acquired in September for 90 million Euros. Altamira would provide this investor the leadership in the Spanish real estate sector and it would allow it to enter the management of Sareb. This fund already acquired 350 million Euros in mortgages from the bank presided over by Botín last year.

Centerbridge also has experience in closing agreements with Santander. It acquired Aktua, the recovery management company of Banesto, in 2012.

For the fund Apollo, this operation would mean completing the recent acquisition of Evo Banco with a real estate platform. This management company has the intention of investing up to 1.000 million Euros in Spain in the next few years.

Meanwhile, for Lone Star it would mean the first great operation in Spain after losing the first sale of Sareb, the Operation Bull, at the very last moment. This fund acquired 140 million Euros in credits from Santander in the same operation as Cerberus.

There are other funds specialized in real estate operations which cannot be discarded, such as TPG, which has acquired Servihabitat, from CaixaBank, for up to 189 million Euros; Kennedy Wilson and Värde Partners, which has acquired the real estate company of Catalunya Banc; and Fortress, which has recently acquired Lico.

Morgan Stanley, who tried to acquire a portfolio of real estate assets from Santander valued at 3.000 million Euros in the Operation Scuderia, is also present in the pools. The differences in prices and the reservations from the Bank of Spain blocked the sale.

Since then the restructuring driven by Economy in 2012 has allowed banks and foreign funds to get closer. The Spanish institutions are opting for transferring their real estate platforms first, as a first step to sell great packages of homes.

At the same time, the institutions have accelerated the sale of properties through their commercial network. Santander transferred 33.500 properties last year and has sold another 4.500 in the first quarter of 2013. The institution has a target of closing the year with 20.000 properties sold. Thanks to these operations, the net exposure of the bank to the construction sector has decreased down to 11.600 million Euros, from the 24.900 million Euros at the end of 2011.

Foreign funds aim to buy Spanish property managers before market awakens.

Foreign investors are preparing bids for the property management units of several Spanish banks, hoping to break decisively into a real estate market that has brought few bargain housing deals for funds even after five years of a price slump.

U.S. investment firms Cerberus Capital Management CBS.UL, Centerbridge Partners and Lone Star are among those preparing to join a preliminary round of bidding for Santander’s SAN.MC Altamira Real Estate, two sources familiar with the matter said.

The Altamira deal, which would give the successful bidder a team of managers and a contract to handle Santander’s property sales but would not include real estate assets on the bank’s books, is the latest of several similar moves by rivals.

Most Spanish banks are contracting out the units, or selling them, to raise cash without parting with foreclosed housing that they own, which foreign investors want to buy but only at very low prices.

The first bids for Altamira are due on Thursday, the two sources said. Lone Star declined to comment. Cerberus and Centerbridge did not respond to requests for comment.

Spanish lenders were hit hard by a real estate boom which turned to bust in 2008, landing the banks with soured loans to developers and forcing them to foreclose on properties.

The banks were told by the government to make steep writedowns on property exposures last year, leaving some short of capital and forcing Spain to request a 41 billion euro ($55 billion) bailout from Europe for the weakest lenders.

The writedowns had sparked hopes among international investors that banks would start offloading big bundles of properties, unfreezing Spain’s real estate market, but few deals have come yet through.

“Ask and offer prices (for property portfolios) are much closer now, …. but at the very, very cheap levels funds are interested in banks still think “I can’t, it’s a loss’,” said Manuel Anguita of Aguila Capital, which brokers deals between banks and investors.

The interest shown by foreign investors was welcomed in the Spanish real estate sector as a sign of serious commitment.

“These types of deals are a very good sign – no-one buys a platform to stay in a country for a year,” said Fernando Acuna of property management firm Taurus Iberica.

“These will give the funds a deep knowledge of what is going on…and allow them to manage other assets they might buy which don’t belong to the bank.”


Several banks have relinquished their property management operations in recent weeks, which will let them refocus on their core business.

Cerberus picked up the contract to manage properties and developer loans for state-rescued Bankia BKIA.MC, paying between 40 million and 90 million euros to run the property business over 10 years.

The Altamira deal – dubbed ‘project bison’ by bankers after prehistoric paintings at the Altamira caves near Santander – could be worth more, one source said.

Santander declined to comment.

Mid-sized lender Sabadell SABE.MC could look to sell its real estate arm Solvia in the coming months, according to two other sources familiar with that deal.

Sabadell said there was no existing mandate to sell the unit but it did not rule out studying it in future.

International investors want to buy the businesses to reap commissions from sales and gain platforms with which to manage other assets they might pick up in Spain, bankers and real estate experts said.

Real estate prices appear closer to hitting the bottom, Acuna at Taurus Iberica said, after a slump of some 40 percent in five years. That could help funds finally buy more portfolios as buyers and sellers get a clearer idea of price prospects.

A ‘bad bank’ created to manage real estate assets of rescued lenders is also stepping up sales of bundles of properties.

“Ultimately these (property management) platforms will probably be brought together and we’ll end up with three dominating this market in a few years,” said one Madrid-based investment banker.

Spain: for sale.

Spain is for sale. And finally, it seems there are buyers. Dozens of investment funds from all over the world, but mostly from the United States, are buying apartment blocks, real estate firms, and even company debt. There are some vulture funds out for a quick buck, but most are looking for medium-term returns. “Two years ago, Spain was radioactive, and the property sector toxic. Suddenly it’s become our savior; it’s that stupid,” says one veteran real estate developer on condition of anonymity.

On February 7, 2012, when the future of the euro was still in the balance, Jaime Bergel, a former board member of energy giant Endesa, opened an office for 13-billion-dollar US investment fund HIG Capital in Madrid. “We had a feeling that people would come here looking for opportunities,” he says. In fact Merrill Lynch and Goldman Sachs were already here.

On August 6 of this year, HIG carried out its so-called Operation Toro, the first major sell-off of property accumulated by Sareb, the bank set up by the government to hoard unsold property and debt belonging to the country’s failed savings banks. HIG bought around 500 properties for a total of 50 million euros. Most of the properties are low-cost apartments in the outskirts of Madrid, Valencia, Seville, Málaga, Murcia and in the Canary Islands that so far nobody wants.

Investment funds have spent around two billion euros buying up property in Spain since April. Some experts are interpreting the great sell-off as good news, flushing the financial system with new money; others say that it is a de facto takeover of a significant chunk of the economy by foreign capital.

“We are looking for businesses with good assets and that are well managed but that can’t get their hands on the capital they need. We lend them the money and let them get on with running the business,” says Jesús Olmos, KKR’s representative in Madrid. In April, KKR lent 320 million euros to construction materials manufacturer Uralita over a seven-year period, and it has also taken positions in parking lot firm Saba and helicopter maker Inaer.

In 2008 Juan Vizcaíno, once of Lehman Brothers, set up Hipoges, which specializes in managing distressed assets. He now employs around 80 people in Madrid, and already manages assets valued at 2.3 billion euros, most of them in the form of property and bought at knock-down prices from the banks. “Most of the property we buy is new and hasn’t even been lived in. It was bought as an investment by people who have now gone abroad,” he says.

Vizcaíno says the toxic assets business has grown so fast that he has had to move office twice as he takes on new staff to keep up with demand. His current offices occupy more than 1,000 square meters in downtown Madrid: “We are spectacularly busy. Interest in Spain has multiplied tenfold,” he says.

In August, the owners of Mexican fund Fibra Uno bought more than 900 offices that had originally belonged to Banco Sabadell, which the bank had sold to a US fund for 300 million euros. The Catalan regional government sold 13 buildings to French company AXA for 172 million euros in a deal that sees the government pay rent on them. With a profit rate of 9.45 percent, in just under a decade AXA will have recouped its investment in rent alone.

Meanwhile, the Popular Party-controlled regional government of Madrid is busy selling off chunks of housing stock built for low-income families. On June 24, Madrid’s Municipal Housing and Property Company (EMVS) said that it had sold 1,860 low-rent apartments to Blackstone, an associate of Spanish property developer Magic Real Estate, for 128.5 million euros. Blackstone is one of the world’s largest investment funds, with assets of 60 billion dollars.

The purchase looks like a classic vulture fund move: buying where nobody else dared to strip the assets and sell as soon as possible. “Blackstone knows that 85 percent of property in Spain is privately owned, with just 15 percent rented out. The average in Europe is 70/30. Eventually Spain will get to that point. If the figure shifts from 15 percent to 25 percent, that is 2.7 million properties that will enter the rental market. In Germany, Blackstone has 50,000 properties for rent, but until now, there weren’t enough properties available for it to be worth buying in Spain,” says a source close to the operation.

Blackstone is obliged to continue the low-rental policy for a decade, during which time it will operate a zero-tolerance policy toward tenants who fall behind with payments, and after which it can rent them out at higher prices. Most of the properties are in the working-class district of Carabanchel, in the southwest of the city. Speaking to tenants in one block that has been sold off, it is clear most have no idea who the new owners of their homes are. One man says he has stopped paying his rent because he no longer knows who to make the transfer to. Average rents here are around 200 euros a month for a three-bedroom apartment. Many homes have never been occupied.

In August, the Madrid Housing Institute (Ivima), also set up to provide low-cost housing, sold 2,935 low-rent apartments in the working-class dormitory town of Parla to Goldman Sachs and Azora for 201.2 million euros. Azora already manages some 7,000 of these properties slated for social housing, along with student residences and hotels, all valued at 1.3 billion. Fernando Gumuzio, the company’s founder, says the firm charges rents of between 250 and 600 euros.

Gumuzio rejects the idea that companies like his are vultures circling the moribund carcass of the Spanish economy: “I prefer to call them opportunists. They are investing in problem companies, and helping to clean up their debts. This is the first step toward recovery. Later on, the institutional funds will move in.”

Rafael Powley of US consultancy Jones Lang LaSalle explains that investment funds are awash with cash after taking advantage of the collapse of the US property market and its subsequent recovery. “There are a lot of people who made a lot of money buying cheap, and want to repeat their success here.”

The figures suggest that property prices in Spain may well be bottoming out. The price per square meter for office space on the Paseo de la Castellana, Madrid’s upscale central thoroughfare, has been stable for a year now. At the height of the property boom, prices were 13,000 euros per square meter; the rate is around 6,500 euros. “The speculative market is always ahead of the real economy: that’s how you make money,” says Juan Manuel Ortega, who heads Jones Lang LaSalle’s operations in Spain. He says that three years ago, most of the firm’s clients were looking for advice on how to get out of Spain; “now they want us to tell them what to buy.”

Powley explains that most of those rushing to buy now are the same companies that inflated the property bubble of the late 1990s and early 2000s: “In those days, a developer would call you to say that he had sacked his sales team because they had sold his property so quickly that he hadn’t been able to put the prices up.”

Ismael Clemente hails from a tiny community in the western province of Badajoz and has many years of experience in the property business. Before setting up Magic Real Estate, he headed the property division of Deutsche Bank in Spain. In November 2005, seeing which way the wind was blowing, he advised his bosses to get out of the Spanish property market before selling the Hotel Arts in Barcelona in early 2006. The bank made 170 million euros on the deal, selling the hotel to a Dutch group and Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund. “We lost 18 months, but we made up for it with that sale,” he says. Magic is now a partner with Blackstone.

Clemente explains some of the key points of Spain’s emerging property market: “Buying a shopping center in Leipzig is barely profitable, and one setback and you are down on the deal. So the idea is to get into other markets. Prices are back up in Dublin, London is enjoying its own particular boom, while France is beginning to look weak. A shopping center in Valladolid is more risky, but twice as profitable if you handle the purchase properly. That’s why the investors are here. People see these funds as pirate ships, but they are playing with other people’s money. Vultures serve a function: they clean up corpses. It’s the same here: they pump money into a market starved of funds.”

He says that Blackstone’s entry into the Spanish market has sent out a message of confidence: “Investors are like sheep. If things go badly here, these funds can always tell their investors that everybody else was here, and nobody could see what was going to happen.”

Some funds have already set aside fixed amounts to invest in Spain. “A client called me a couple of days ago saying he had 500 million euros to spend in Spain,” says Iñigo de Luisa, a partner at law firm Cuatrecasas. “This summer we have seen a lot of activity: I haven’t seen anything like it since the boom.” De Luisa specializes in buying debt, and advised the Bermudas project that saw Sareb sell 245 million euros in loans owed by Grupo Colonial to Burlington Loan Management. The mechanics of these operations is not rocket science: if a company owes 100, the funds buy the loan for 70, or much less, dependent on the risk. If they get the money back they have won; if not, they keep the property portfolio, which is worth more than the 70 they put up.

The party has barely started. Spain’s banks have huge numbers of apartments that sooner or later they must sell. The vulture funds have taken the first step by taking over the property divisions of Bankia (bought by Catalana Bank and Cerberus, a company partly owned by the son of former Prime Minister José María Aznar, whose government in the late 1990s oversaw the property boom). Meanwhile, La Caixa is negotiating the sale of 51 percent of Servihabitat to the Texas Pacific Group.

The country’s regional administrations are also keen to sell off their property assets, often at fire-sale prices, in a bid to generate desperately needed cash. Andalusia, Catalonia, and Valencia were the first to begin offloading publicly owned property: in total some 144 buildings that they hope will raise around 2.2 billion euros.

British investment company Moor Park, which is tied to risk fund Och Ziff, offered the Catalan regional government 450 million euros for 26 buildings it would then rent out to it. The offer was tempting, but the regional government eventually decided that the conditions were not up to scratch. The buyers wanted to be paid in dollars or Swiss francs. “At the height of the euro crisis, what sort of message would that have sent out?” say sources close to the Catalan government.

Murcia has put the seat of the regional government up for sale; Extremadura is also keen to reduce the size of its property portfolio; Asturias is looking for a buyer for its offices in Madrid and Brussels; the Canary Islands has palaces for sale; and Castilla-La Mancha has so far not found a buyer for 16 government buildings. But a consultant who has acted as an intermediary in the sale of government buildings to foreign investment groups says that only Madrid and Barcelona have any appeal. The regional government of Madrid has already put 11 buildings up for auction this year with a starting price of 32 million euros. But for Madrid City Hall, it was only after dropping the price by 40 percent that it managed to sell its environment department’s offices for 21.8 million euros to the Bank of China. The Valencian regional government says that it is in advanced talks to sell three buildings.

More and more properties owned by regional and municipal governments are expected to come onto the market in the coming months. The central government has so far only raised 90 million euros since 2012 from selling off its property portfolio, but now says that it is to put more than 15,000 properties on the market, among them 61 apartment blocks, almost 7,000 houses, and 800 stores. No price has been agreed, say sources at the Economy Ministry.

This macro-sale includes some attractive assets, as well as many that will prove tricky to dispose of. For example, the former headquarters of the National Stock Exchange Commission on the Castellana, valued at 30 million euros; the building formerly occupied by the RTVE state-owned radio and television company, just round the corner, along with properties in other upscale areas of the capital. The government even wants to sell 14,000 hectares of the Alcornocales natural park in Cádiz, offering permission to the buyer to build an aerodrome, two golf courses and a luxury hotel. As Spain goes on sale, nothing is beyond the bounds of possibility.

Bankia sells its real estate company to Cerberus for 90 million Euros.

Bankia gets rid of its excess baggage again. The bank announced yesterday the sale of the business of management and commercialization of real estate assets and developer credit to the U.S. fund Cerberus. The operation, channeled through its subsidiary Bankia Habitat has been closed for an amount between 40 and 90 million Euros, depending on the evolution of the business plan designed by the new owner without any earnings for Bankia.

The price is divided between a fixed part (40 million Euros) and another variable one that will depend on the volume of sales of assets achieved by Cerberus. If the business plan is complied with, it will be possible to attain the 90 million Euros. If the fund sells more assets than estimated in the project, it will pay Bankia an amount over 90 million Euros.

The operation is relevant for the bank presided over by José Ignacio Goirigolzarri as, even though there are no earnings, it will save labor costs and advanced in its restructuring plan.

Cerberus will keep the 457 employees assigned to this activity. The exit of these workers allows the Dismissal Program to be lower.

Cerberus has created the company Promontoria Plataforma, which acquires the assets and liabilities linked to the management of properties carried out by Bankia through Bankia Habitat, Gesnova and Reser Subastas, participated in 55% and 50%, respectively.

The ownership of the assets and the developer credit is still in the hands of Bankia. Cerberus will therefore manage the assets included in the balance sheet of Bankia-BFA for 12.200 million Euros during ten years. It will also acquire the management of the assets that Bankia has transferred to third parties (Sareb, the bad bank) for 36.600 million Euros.

Bankia has been advised by KPMG and Uría, while Cerberus has had Oliver Wyman and the firm Ashurst and Schulte Roth & Zabel.

The vulture funds that fly over the Spanish construction sector.

There is a business in the bruised Spanish real estate sector. In the last few months, the real estate subsidiaries of the nationalized savings banks, some of the assets that have been transferred to Sareb and “packages” of properties of those banks that have not been rescued will change hands. The buyers will be ten foreign companies, known as vulture funds, specialized in acquiring real estate bargains, as they have done in other countries.

Their names, Apollo, Cerberus, Lone Star, Lindorff…..where do they come from? Who are they? What will they do with the properties they sell? Most of them have a U.S. and British capital and are related to businessmen who are more or less known in Spain, such as the tycoon Donald Trump, the former vice president of U.S.A. Dan Quayle, the former Secretary of the Treasury of U.S.A., John W. Snow or the Mexican Carlos Slim.

The game is on. In November one of them, Centerbridge took the first step and acquired the awarded properties from Banesto (mostly second hand ones). Now it´s the turn of La Caixa, who appointed an investment bank for the sale of Servihabitat; Bankia has just received offers for its subsidiary Bankia Habitat. Catalunya Banc also studies who will get its real estate subsidiary Catalunya Caixa Inmobiliaria, and Novagalicia Banco has also ten offers on the table.

These are the vulture funds who aspire to dominate the Spanish real estate market in the next few years:

Apollo Global Management

The U.S. company is one of the main investment businesses on a global scale specialized in operations related to the acquisition of credits, real estate investments and the “private equity”. It was founded in 1990 by the Jewish businessman Leon Black, who acquired in 2012 one of the four versions of “The cry”, by Munch, for nearly 120 million Dollars (92 million Euros), the firm also has a subsidiary focused on the real estate operations.

In Spain, the Apollo group acquired the platform Finanmadrid from Bankia for 1,6 million Euros. The real estate subsidiary of this company, Apollo Real Estate is one of the main candidates to acquire CX Inmobiliaria from Catalunya Bank.

Cerberus Capital Management L.P.

With its headquarters in New York, Cerberus is one of the main investment companies in the world. It is presided over by two heavy weights U.S. Republicans: The former vice president in the USA during the presidency of George Bush Sr., Dan Quayle, and the Secretary of the Treasury between 2003 and 2006 during the presidency of George W. Bush, John W. Snow.

The acquisition of default credits from Banco Santander for 350 million Euros in April 2012 is the most important operation in Spain until now. The company has been positioning itself as one of the funds with more relevance in the acquisition of default assets, having acquired several packages of credits and properties from Bankia. Cerberus hired the son of former president José María Aznar at the beginning of the year with the intention of receiving counseling on the possible acquisition of assets from the “bad bank”.

Lone Star Funds

The Texan investment funds Lone Star are another of the potential buyers of assets of the Spanish “bad banks”. In 2012, the company acquired default credits of the Banco Santander for 150 million Euros and at the end of that year opened its own platform for credit recovery with the former manager of Apollo in Spain, Luis Cebrián.

These investment funds manage a total business volume focused on making capital added obligations more profitable with a volume of 33 bilion American dollars (25352 million Euros). One of its more important operations was the acquisition of 90,8% of the shares of the semipublic bank IBK which was affected by the subprime crisis.

D.E. Shaw & Co

Founded in 1998 by the scientist specialized in computer studies David E. Shaw, this investment and technological development company has its headquarters in New York. According to the figures of the company in April 2013, the company has an investment capital of 30 billion dollars (25.345 million Euros) and branches in the United States, Europe and Asia.

In the United States, this company is one of the main economic agents specialized in investment funds of security of mortgages that do not have the backing of the government. D.E. Shaw is also one of the main investors in pension funds in the city of New York.


The Norwegian company Lindorff is present in 11 European countries and has a business core specialized in the collection of debts. This company owns the companies Aitor and Investor AB at 50% each.

Lindorff has already carried out several businesses with Spanish financial institutions. We can highlight the acquisition of the platform of recovery management Reintegra from Banco Santander and the bid they are currently carrying out for the acquisition of default credits of NCG.

Aktiv Kapital

This Norwegian company  specialized in the acquisition of toxic assets at bargain prices was founded in 1991 in Oslo and currently operates in eight European countries and in Canada.

Aktiv Kapital has worked with the group BFA-Bankia in two occasions in 2012. It acquired around 100.000 default credits for consumers and another portfolio related to default credits in the car industry made of 16000 agreements and valued at 126 million Euros.

Oaktree Capital Group LLC

Founded in 1995, the company Oaktree has a staff of 600 employees mainly made of financial executives. It is among the 25 main investment management companies specialized in alternative assets such as the venture capital. It also has a real estate subsidiary called Oak Tree Reality that operates in the U.S. Its president, Howard S. Marks is considered one of the main authorities in Wall Street and according to the Forbes magazine is one of the richest financiers in the world.

In Spain, Oaktree is the main individual creditor of the company Panrico thanks to the acquisition of 20% of its debt and is the main shareholder from the company Campofrío.


TPG, previously Texas Pacific Group is one of the main financial investment groups in the world with its headquarters in California and Texas. Its business activity ranges from telecommunications to travel, the technological and industrial sectors, health services and banks.

One of their main operations was the rescue of Bradford and Bingley, the greatest mortgage bank in the United Kingdom, after the acquisition of 20% of its capital. This group also negotiated with the owners of Iberia in order to take on the control of the company.

WL Ross & Co. LLC

Lead by the millionaire Wilbur Ross, WL Ross & Co. LLC is an investment company specialized in taking over companies with financial problems with the aim of restructuring them. Energy, financial services, health services, heavy materials and transport are the main areas where this tycoon develops his business, with a fortune around 2,6 billion Dollars (1996 million Euros) according to the Forbes magazine.

This American millionaire who declares “his love for mortgages” which bring him a lucrative business in the States has winked at the “bad bank” and declares that Spain “is, in many ways, a very interesting country”.

Fortress Investment Group LLC

Founded in 1998, this company specialized in investments develops its activity in different sectors that range from the real estate sector, with a subsidiary specialized in castles, to the financial sector, energy or infrastructures.

In 2012, Fortress acquired a package of aprox. 1000 million Euros in default credits from Santander, most of which were consumer credits.

Centerbridge Partners

Centerbridge is a multistrategic investment company with more than 15 billion dollars (11523 million Euros in assets. Its headquarters are in New York and it has branches in London.

Centerbridge Partners acquired at the end of 2012 Aktúa, the subsidiary from Banesto specialized in management and recovery of credit portfolios, for around 100 million Euros.

Donald Trump

The eccentric millionaire Donald Trump is another candidate to acquire a great number of Spanish properties. Its name sounds among the potential investors that could arrive to our country after he declared in 2012 that in Spain “they were giving land for nothing” and that as “country was ill, it was the time to take advantage of that”.

Carlos Slim

The richest man on earth for the fourth year in a row according to Forbes magazine, bought through its Mexican real estate subsidiary, Carso, properties from Caixabank for 428,2 million Euros.

The 439 properties acquired by Slim are intended for bank branches and the operation was a “sale and lease back” as after the sale, a long term lease with a purchase option was signed, which allows Caixabank to continue using the sold branches.

Otto Group/EOS Group

The German group Otto with more than 50000 employees and presence in Europe, America and Asia is one of the firm candidates to take a big piece of the Spanish real estate market.

Through its subsidiary EOS Group, Otto acquired at the beginning of 2013 the recovery business from Banco Popular for ten years and 135 million Euros.

Source: El Mundo

The bad bank rejects the participation of three “vulture funds” in its capital.

The bad bank is not willing to sell itself off cheaply. Its management has rejected the participation in its capital of the funds Cerberus, Fortress and Centerbridge, as it considers that the conditions they were imposing are unacceptable, as explained by sources aware of the negotiations between the bad bank and the funds.

The three U.S. companies, known as “vulture funds” because they usually invest in or acquire drifting businesses at very low prices, were demanding certain privileges, such as priority access to the services of the bad bank and discounts on properties and credits which are available on sale. The bad bank has said no as it considers that it would mean granting them a privilege in the face of other investors, including the current shareholders.

The intention of Cerberus, Fortress and Centerbridge was to participate in the capital increase for about 1200 million Euros which will be carried out by the bad bank before the 28th February in order to absorb the 15000 million Euros in allocated properties and toxic credits from Banco Ceiss, BMN, Liberbank and Caja 3, the other four institutions – together with Bankia, Catalunya Banc, Novagalicia Banco and Banco de Valencia – which will receive public aid from the European rescue fund,.

The management of the bad bank, supported by the European Commission, the ECB and the IMF, considers that the current proportion of foreign capital in the company “is suitable” and that the first international shareholders – Deutsche Bank, Barclays and AXA – and all national ones have declared their intention of increasing their participation subscribing a part of this second expansion. (…)

This Friday, the vice-president of the European Commission and commissioner for Competence, Joaquin Almunia, has declared that the bad bank, which will be operational for 15 years, forecasting no losses in any of those years, “is well designed”, even though their management team prepare a new business plan different to the one drafted by the Government. “We have to wait for the money to start flowing in so as to start showing good results as soon as possible; if it is managed as we would like it to, it will be a very effective option”, Almunia has declared.

Source: ABC