10 December 2015 – Expansión
Banco Sabadell is finalising what could be the largest block sale of homes by a Spanish bank in 2015. The Catalan entity is negotiating with the US funds Blackstone and Oaktree to transfer 5,000 rented homes, as part of Project Empire. Sources at the entity declined to comment on the operation.
Although there have been larger portfolio sales involving debt this year, all indications are that this sale will be the largest in the foreclosed asset segment, a space that only BMN and Bankinter have been active in so far in 2015. Popular considered it, but suspended its sale in the end and the portfolio sales that Bankia and Ibercaja currently have underway may be delayed until the first quarter of 2016.
Project Empire is an operation that Sabadell has been preparing for a long time and which has generated significant interest in the market. The 5,000 homes have a nominal value of €600 million. The fact that they are already rented out means that the most established funds in Spain have expressed their interest in them.
Such is the case of Blackstone, which owns the Anticipa platform – formerly CatalunyaCaixa Inmobiliaria – and which has purchased several bank portfolios. Meanwhile, Oaktree has unleashed itself as one of the major international investors in Spanish property, with the purchase of assets from Bankia, Ibercaja and FMS, the German bad bank.
Sabadell has reduced the volume of problematic assets on its balance sheet by €3,500 million since the start of 2014, down to €22,350 million by September 2015.
Original story: Expansión (by J. Z.)
Translation: Carmel Drake