Unicaja Negotiates Sale of 3,700 Refinanced Mortgages Worth €250M

24 April 2019 – El Confidencial

Unicaja Banco could become one of the first entities in Spain to sell refinanced mortgages whose borrowers are now up to date with their payments.

The Málaga-based entity has engaged EY to coordinate the sale of 3,700 doubtful loans worth €250 million. The mortgages went unpaid during the crisis and were all refinanced, such that the borrowers are now up to date on their payments.

To date, barely any Spanish entities have tried to sell assets of this kind. But pressure from the ECB to improve returns is forcing Unicaja to give it a shot. The mortgages are still classified as doubtful, since the Bank of Spain establishes that a borrower has to pay 12 monthly instalments and reduce some of the capital for a loan to be considered normal.

The sale of the mortgages by Unicaja has been called Project Biznaga and forms part of a larger asset divestment process being undertaken by the entity, worth around €1 billion. The sale is generating a lot of interest amongst international investors and is going ahead in parallel to the bank’s merger negotiations with Liberbank, which are in their final stages.

Unicaja has one of the lowest exposures to problem assets in the Spanish financial sector and the highest levels of coverage. According to the latest official figures, as at December 2018, it had €3.6 billion of foreclosed and doubtful assets and a coverage ratio of 57%.

Original story: El Confidencial (by Jorge Zuloaga)

Translation/Summary: Carmel Drake

Kutxabank Sells a €700M Property Developer Loan Portfolio to Bain

21 December 2018 – Cinco Días

Kutxabank has sold a “problem property developer loan” portfolio with a gross valuation of €700 million to a subsidiary of Bain Capital Credit. The portfolio includes doubtful assets and non-performing loans to property developers, according to a statement issued by the entity chaired by Gregorio Villalabeitia (pictured below).

The divestment includes both loans with mortgage guarantees, secured by land for the most part (48% of the total), as well as finished homes (another 29%). They are located in Andalucía and Euskadi.

The transaction has materialised through a competitive bidding process, which has been coordinated by the investment bank Alantra.

Sources at the vendor bank indicate that there is “a great investor appetite” in the market for this type of asset at the moment, a situation that has encouraged the entity to take the decision to divest these assets, the first operation of this kind that it has undertaken in its history.

The divestment will improve Kutxabank’s results this year and will reduce its exposure in the courts, due to the costs associated with the litigation relating to these assets. The bank has already calculated that, following this operation, its default ratio will improve by 50 basis points to fall below 4%.

The sale of the real estate portfolio will also have a positive impact on the bank’s CTE 1 capital ratio, which will increase by 10 basis points. According to the bank, it will thereby consolidate its position of leadership as the most solvent entity in the country.

Bain Capital Credit, with 200 employees, invests in the entire spectrum of loans, including leveraged loans, high-yield bonds and structured products, amongst others. Bain Capital has been advised in this operation by Copernicus, Aura, JLL and Allen & Overy.

Original story: Cinco Días

Translation: Carmel Drake

Sabadell Puts €1,300M NPL Portfolio Up For Sale

20 April 2016 – Expansión

Sabadell has become the most determined Spanish entity when it comes to trying to clean up its balance sheet. The entity chaired by Josep Oliu (pictured above) has two portfolios up for sale through which it hopes to sell off €1,300 million of non-performing assets. Moreover, it may soon add another €1,700 million portfolio, if a large deal that the entity is currently preparing eventually goes up for sale. In total, €3,000 million, of which €2,200 million comprises doubtful loans linked to real estate developments, and which represent around one sixth of its doubtful assets in Spain. The remainder, €800 million, relate to non-performing consumer loans.

The latest divestment to come onto the market is Project Pirene, advised by KPMG, containing €460 million of problem assets linked to property developers, according to sources consulted at international funds. Unlike some of its recent operations, this one originates from Sabadell’s own business, and not from CAM, Caixa Penedès or Banco Gallego.

This operation combines Project Corus, with €800 million non-performing consumer loans; and Project Normandy, under assessment, with €1,700 million non-performing real estate loans, according to El Confidencial.

The Catalan group hopes to close the first two operations within the next two months, so that they may be accounted for in its financial statements for the first half of the year. Meanwhile, Project Normandy may be delayed somewhat due to its large size. In fact, the operation would be one of the largest seen in Spain in recent years. The largest, Project Big Bang, containing €4,800 million in foreclosed assets, was suspended by Bankia due to its complexity and the large discounts being demanded by the funds.

Sabadell was one of the Spanish entities that reduced its default rate by the most during 2015. Following the purchase of the British bank TSB, its default rate fell by almost five percentage points. If we exclude that acquisition, the rate fell by almost three percentage points, from 12.74% to 9.86%. In total, the entity manages €21,500 million of problem assets, with a coverage ratio of 53% for its doubtful debts and of 44% for its real estate assets.

Besides these operations launched by Sabadell, only a handful of other entities have decided to divest their problem assets so far in 2016, namely Cajamar, Bankia and BBVA. Popular announced that it would be very active, but it has not yet put any portfolios on the market.

Original story: Expansión (by J. Zuloaga)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Banks Still Hold Doubtful & Foreclosed Assets Worth €224,000M

5 November 2015 – Cinco Días

Spanish financial institutions held doubtful and foreclosed assets amounting to €224,000 million on their balance sheets as at June 2015, according to data published by the Bank of Spain in its latest Financial Stability Report.

In its report, the body led by Luis María Linde (pictured above) warns that these unproductive assets are placing “negative” pressure on entities’ income statements, reducing their ability to generate profits, since they do not generate any revenues. These two types of assets represent 8.7% of the total assets of the banks in Spain.

Nevertheless, the volume of assets foreclosed or received in lieu of debt payments from businesses in Spain, held on the financial institutions’ balance sheets decreased by 0.9% in the last year to amount to €81,000 million. (…).

Meanwhile, at the consolidated level, the total amount of refinanced or restructured credit increased to €211,000 million as at June 2015, of which 52.1% related to non-financial companies and 45.2% corresponded to households.

Less refinanced credit for the private sector

2.4% of the total related to loans to Public Administrations, whilst the remaining 0.3% corresponded to financial companies other than credit institutions. The total volume of loans to the private sector that had been refinanced or restructured amounted to €163,800 million in June 2015, i.e. 15.8% less than in the same month a year earlier.

The Bank of Spain said that this variation represents an acceleration in the decrease seen over the life of the index, which began in March 2014. The decrease in the volume of refinancings and restructurings over the last year has been centred around non-financial companies (17.5%) and households (13.5%).

Meanwhile, the weight of refinancings and restructurings over the total credit balance has also decreased in recent quarters to account for 13% in June 2015, compared with 14.2% in the same month a year earlier.

Doubtful loans accounted for almost half of the refinanced and restructured loan balance (with a slight decrease of one percentage point with respect to last year), whilst those classified as sub-standard loans represented 18% of the total and those regarded as up-to-date (performing) loans accounted for 33% of the total.

In terms of the distribution of refinanced operations by sector, 64% corresponded to loans granted to companies, whilst the remaining 36% related to household debt.

Half of the refinanced operations relating to companies corresponded to loans granted to companies operating in the construction and real estate sector.

Finally, 26.2% of the restructured operations relating to households corresponded to loans granted to finance house purchases.

Original story: Cinco Días

Translation: Carmel Drake

NPL Ratio Falls For Third Consecutive Month To Reach 12.77%

19 January 2015 – Expansión

The NPL ratio of Spanish banks decreased by 17 basis points in November, to reach 12.77%, its lowest level since September 2013.

The default rate declines in November, for the third consecutive month. The NPL ratio of banks, cajas, credit cooperatives and other financial entities dropped by 17 basis points to reach its lowest level since September 2013. The default rate of the sector as a whole, including companies such as the ICO (Official Credit Institute), amounted to 12.75%.

Doubtful assets decreased during the month by €2,115 million to reach €175,192 million, representing a reduction of 8.2% with respect to November 2013.

There was also good news on the credit side, which recorded a month-on-month rise of €6,014 million, although it was still down by 5.6% year-on-year. We have not seen a lower rate of decline since August 2012, which indicates that the “closed credit tap” is gradually starting to open.

The default rate in the banking sector peaked in December 2013, when it reached 13.689%. Last October, it fell below 13% for the first time since then. Experts and banks predict that the downward trend will intensify this year, although they point out that, whilst credit balances continue to fall, the reduction in doubtful assets will be transferred more slowly to the NPL ratio.

Original story: Expansión (by M. Romani)

Translation: Carmel Drake