Blackstone Enters the Bidding for Solvia Desarrollos Inmobiliarios

26 March 2019 – Ok Diario

Banco Sabadell is on a mission to divest the land from its property development arm Solvia, worth more than €1 billion. The firm, Solvia Desarrollos Inmobiliarios (SDin), is sparking a great deal of interest in the market, not least from the US investment bank Blackstone.

That firm faces stiff competition from the property developers Aedas and Merlin Properties, as well as 10 other interested parties, who have been whittled down from an original list of almost 30 candidates.

Given the huge interest in Solvia Desarrollos, Sabadell has extended the original deadline by one month to the end of May, at which point it will choose the buyer.

Besides the firms already mentioned, funds such as Cerberus, De Shaw, Värde, Apollo and Oaktree are also reportedly participating in the bid.

Most of the land owned by Solvia Desarrollos Inmobiliarios is located in Madrid, Barcelona and several places along the Mediterranean Coast.

Original story: Ok Diario (by Borja Jiménez)

Translation/Summary: Carmel Drake

Aedas, Neinor & Merlin Properties Put €1bn on the Table for Sabadell’s Land

29 January 2019 – OK Diario

Banco Sabadell has now opened the sales process for Solvia Desarrollos Inmobiliarios, its real estate developer, for which the entity expects to obtain €1 billion. To date, the entity chaired by Josep Oliu has already sent the teaser to almost 30 interested parties. But there has been an important development, and that is that it is not only the typical funds that tend to participate in these types of auctions that are interested in the company, property developers are also keen, including Neinor, Aedas and Merlin Properties.

It is worth remembering that when Sabadell decided to sell Solvia, it separated the house-sale business and the real estate development business into two different companies with the aim of achieving a better offer. The land, which is owned by the second firm, forms part of the bank’s balance sheet and that is what is now up for sale.

According to sources speaking to OK Diario, the deadline for non-binding offers will finish in March; it will be after that when Banco Sabadell will start to receive binding offers. Sources in the know indicate that the operation will be closed in the second quarter. And, moreover, in addition to the aforementioned property developers, funds such as Cerberus, De Shaw, Blackstone, Värde, Apollo and Oaktree have also received the teaser (…).

The main plots of land owned by Solvia Desarrollos Inmobiliarios are in Madrid, Barcelona and several places along the Mediterranean Coast. The portfolio includes plots that the buyer will have to reclassify in order to be able to sell, resell or transform them, as well as plots that are ready for development. It is precisely in those assets that so many property developers have expressed their interest.

Banco Sabadell obtained a profit of €138 million from the sale of 80% of Solvia, its real estate subsidiary, to Lindorff, a company that belongs to the Intrum AB group, for €300 million. With that operation, Sabadell, which has retained ownership of the remaining 20% stake in Solvia, achieved a positive impact on its Common Equity Tier 1 (“fully loaded”) capital ratio of 15 basis points.

The completion of that operation, which is subject to obtaining the corresponding authorisations, is also scheduled for the second quarter of 2019 (…).

Original story: OK Diario (by Borja Jiménez)

Translation: Carmel Drake

The Funds Acquired €60bn of Banking ‘Assets’ in 2017

3 January 2018 – El Economista

International funds’ appetite for Spanish real estate is proving insatiable. And that was reflected in the final days of 2017, which saw a frantic year-end in the market for the sale by banks of debt portfolios secured by real estate collateral. On the basis of the operations that were underway during the final months of the year and the transactions that were actually closed, it is estimated that debt with a gross book value around €60 billion was sold in 2017, compared to €22 billion in 2016. Of that total volume, Blackstone was, undoubtedly, the great star, with its acquisition of the largest real estate portfolio ever sold in Spain and one of the largest ever sold in Europe.

The US fund agreed with Santander to purchase 51% of all the toxic assets – doubtful loans and foreclosed properties – from Popular, which had a gross value of €30 billion. A record operation in Spain, which the bank chaired by Ana Botín closed to clean up the balance sheet of the recently acquired entity.

Cerberus was the other major purchaser of 2017, after it acquired Anida and BBVA’s real estate assets with a gross value of €13 billion, through the creation of a joint company in which the fund will hold a majority 80% stake and BBVA will retain a 20% share.

Those two operations are a clear reflection of the dynamic role that funds are playing in the Spanish real estate market, given that in addition to having provided the impetus for the new generation of property developers, they are also serving as the main clean-up tool for financial institutions. “The funds have played a fundamental role, given that they have put a price on the portfolios and have provided capital to execute purchases”, explains Manuel Ángel González Mesones, Partner in Corporate Finance for the Financial sector at KPMG in Spain, who states that in the primary market – the sale of portfolios directly by the banks – property developers, the other great consumers of debt with real estate collateral “have not been particularly active, given that their criteria are very selective”. Nevertheless, “the large property developers have been buying foreclosed assets in a selective way for years from both financial institutions and different market players, such as Sareb and funds that have acquired those assets through the purchase of portfolios”.

In this sense, Emilio Portes, Director of Financial Advisory at the real estate consultancy firm JLL, highlights that, although the role of the funds has been key, the property developers have also played their part, by converting themselves into “instrumental vehicles for the funds in terms of the development of the land acquired in portfolios such as NPLs – doubtful loans – and REOs – foreclosed assets”. Thanks to that intense activity in which, in addition to Blackstone and Cerberus, other players have also featured, including Bain, Goldman Sachs, Oaktree, De Shaw, Deutsche Bank, Lone Star and Apollo, the banks have managed to decrease the volume of toxic assets relating to the real estate sector by almost half in one year, from more than €132 billion to around €75 billion. To that figure, we have to add the €40 billion sold by Sareb, which means that the total clean up figure amounted to €115 billion by the end of 2017.

That figure is still well below the almost €400 billion that was reached at the height of the crisis, but it also well above the less than €10 billion that was registered before the burst of the bubble (…).

More moderate operations in 2018

According to González, “Activity will continue to be significant, but due to the size of the entities that still have assets let to sell, I don’t think that we will see such large operations this year. The focus will certainly be more on transactions with nominal values of between €500 million and €2,000 million, although that could lead to an equally successful year…”.

Original story: El Economista (by Alba Brualla)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Spain’s Banks Have €6,200M In Toxic Assets Up For Sale

25 April 2017 – El Mundo

Spain’s banks want to take advantage of the improving conditions in the real estate market to accelerate the clean up of the non-performing assets that are still weighing down on their balance sheets, almost 10 years after the burst of the bubble. The main entities currently have €6,200 million in toxic assets of all kind up for sale, including land, doubtful loans, hard to recover loans, homes, hotels, industrial warehouses…

Spain’s banks have been working on this process for at least five years, and with particular intensity for the last three. Bankia, for example, has sold €10,000 million since 2013 and CaixaBank has sold €5,000 million in the last two years. The most recent major operation was closed by Banco Sabadell, in January, for €950 million.

Now, in addition to Banco Popular, which has a large volume of toxic assets still to clean up, entities such as Ibercaja, BBVA, CaixaBank and Bankia are offering investment funds assets worth thousands of millions of euros, because they prefer to sell them at a loss, than maintain them on their balance sheets. The entities are accepting losses to improve their default ratios and doubtful client figures. For the funds, the aim is to take advantage of the discounts on offer to obtain very high returns from the subsequent recovery or resale of the underlying assets. (…).

The €6,200 million currently up for sale on this wholesale market, which has a low profile despite its volume, increases to €7,800 million if we take into account the operations completed during the month of January by Banco Sabadell, BBVA, Deutsche Bank and Bankia.

Based on the operations currently on the market, Ibercaja, BBVA and Sareb (…) are the entities with the largest volume of assets up for sale. The bank chaired by Francisco González is planning to conduct a significant cleanup of its balance sheet in 2017 and is currently offering assets and secured and unsecured loans to small developers amounting to €860 million. During the first quarter of 2017, it sold 14 buildings in Cataluña and Valencia and a portfolio containing 3,500 properties to the fund Blackstone.

Meanwhile, last year, CaixaBank completed the sale of two portfolios to funds such as Apollo and DE Shaw, amounting to €1,400 million, and this year it has a portfolio of non-performing loans to property developers, amounting to €600 million. The default rate of the Catalan bank has decreased from 11% at the peak of the crisis to 6.9% now and its doubtful clients have decreased by 47% since 2013.

Nevertheless, the market expects more supply to come onto the market. The European Central Bank (ECB) is putting pressure on the entities to conduct a comprehensive clean-up in order to dispel the myths regarding how profitable they are. Bank of America Merrill Lynch considers that the volume of foreclosed assets held by the main banks still exceeds €34,000 million and that more than €10,000 million still needs to be sold in terms of land alone, which puts the sector’s capacity to clean itself up in real doubt.

The strategy that Banco Popular is following in this regard, which has to get rid of at least €16,000 million, is considered definitive. The prices that it sets and the outcome of its crisis may influence the plans of the other entities, especially those of the smallest, unlisted firms. (…).

Original story: El Mundo (by César Urrutia)

Translation: Carmel Drake