17 November 2015 – Expansión
Strategy / The US fund will close the sale of Paratus to Elliott and Cabot Financial this week. It will also complete the ERE affecting more than 50% of Lico Leasing’s workforce.
The opportunistic fund Fortress is continuing its withdrawal from the Spanish financial sector. The US investor is finalising the sale of one of its financial businesses in the country, namely, Paratus, a platform that specialises in the management of problematic banking assets, which Fortress has controlled since 2009.
According to several financial sources, the sale of Paratus will be signed this week with the fund Elliott Advisors and the British group Cabot Credit Management Group, owned by JC Flowers and Encore Capital, taking ownership.
Each of the investors will take over a different part of Paratus’ business. Elliott is most interested in the real estate division and in the team. At the beginning of the sales process – known as Project Coast and advised by N+1 – Paratus held loans amounting to €152 million, secured by 866 properties; 500 homes worth just over €100 million; and a team comprising 43 professionals.
Meanwhile, Cabot is interested in acquiring the unsecured loans, which Fortress is selling for €426 million. The British group is looking to build upon its recent entry into the Spanish market, following its purchase of the Gesif platform from Elliott.
In addition to this possible sale, Fortress is also reducing its exposure to the Spanish financial sector by conducting an ERE at Lico Leasing. At the end of 2014, this subsidiary of Fortress had 130 employees. Through the restructuring, the fund has got rid of the commercial divisions of Lico Leasing, its other major financial business in Spain, which it acquired from the savings banks just one year ago; this means that it will no longer capture any new loans.
Fortress will continue to manage Lico Leasing’s existing portfolio and will continue to operate Geslico, its subsidiary that specialises in problem loans. That company recently integrated two of Fortress’s other companies in Spain: Auxiliar de Servicios y Cobros and Gestión de Activos de Aragón.
Fortress’s commitment to Lico Leasing was cut short due to the time required for its approval – almost two years – and by the re-opening of the credit tap by banks following the measures introduced by the ECB.
The US fund will continue with its other activities in Spain, by providing financing to companies and the real estate market.
Original story: Expansión
Translation: Carmel Drake