30 November 2017 – Expansión
The property sector / The second largest Spanish bank detects a large appetite from opportunistic funds for the real estate risk it has left over: €4.8 billion, after deconsolidating €13 billion of foreclosed assets.
BBVA is making steady progress to clean up its balance sheet. The entity is preparing the sale of a portfolio of property developer loans with a gross value of between €1.5 billion and €1.6 billion (31% of the total) after deconsolidating the risk associated with its foreclosed assets.
The group’s gross real estate exposure has been reduced to €4.8 billion in the form of property developer loans following the agreement with Cerberus to transfer €13 billion in foreclosed assets to a newly created company. BBVA’s plan is to sell one-third of its property developer loan portfolio to an opportunistic fund.
“It is going to be a very competitive portfolio”, said Javier Rodríguez Soler, Head of Strategy and M&A at BBVA, speaking to Expansión. In parallel to the operation with Cerberus, the bank has identified a large appetite from the big funds, such as Lone Star, Blackstone and Apollo, for loans linked to the property sector. The portfolio comprises finishing buildings, properties under construction and land.
Transfers to its subsidiary
The intention of BBVA is to reduce its risk estate risk to almost zero. The Head of Strategy said that the bank is looking to transfer another €1.5 billion of performing property developer loans to its Spanish subsidiary.
Many banks separated out their real estate businesses to curb the impact of the fallout from the burst of the bubble on their annual accounts. BBVA’s property unit lost €281 million during the 9 months to September this year, down by 10.9% compared to a year ago. Sources at the entity expect the real estate business to stop generating losses in 2018.
Yesterday, BBVA took a giant step to clean up its real estate-related risk. The bank has created a company together with Cerberus to transfer 78,000 properties with a gross value of €13 billion. 47% of the foreclosed assets are located in Cataluña, the historical heartland of Catalunya Caixa (CX) and Unnim, which were both absorbed by BBVA during the crisis. Some of those properties are social housing units, whilst some of those proceeding from Unnim are covered by an Asset Protection Scheme (EPA).
The US fund will own 80% of the new vehicle after paying BBVA €4 billion; the banking entity will own the remaining 20%. Haya Real Estate, Cerberus’s platform in Spain, will manage the portfolio of properties that the bank holds onto. The agreement also involves the transfer of 400 employees from Anida, the real estate arm of BBVA, to the joint company with Cerberus.
Original story: Expansión (by R. Sampedro and R. Lander)
Translation: Carmel Drake