12 September 2018 – Expansión
Sareb managed to sell 5,926 properties during the first half of 2018, up by 7% YoY, for a total sum of €552.7 million. In other words, 33 units per day. Of the total, 86% of the properties were homes and garages, 9% were plots of land and 5% were commercial premises.
For the last four years, the bad bank has been helping delinquent property developers to market the properties that they placed as collateral for their loans to allow them to use those funds to settle their debts. Through that channel, it has sold another 4,692 units.
If this pace continues during the second half of 2018, the entity will exceed the sales figure registered in 2017 when 18,925 units were sold and a new record was set.
The bad bank was created with 107,000 properties and during its first five years of life, it has managed to divest 68,300 units. Nevertheless, we must bear in mind that Sareb has executed the guarantee for some of the 90,000 loans that it also took on when it started out and so that has led to an increase in the number of properties on its balance sheet.
Currently, the bad bank still has 55,000 homes and 34,000 garages and storerooms left to liquidate. Sareb is the largest owner of residential homes in Spain and the largest landowner in several autonomous regions, such as Castilla-La Mancha.
During the first half of this year, Sareb recorded revenues of €2.8 million in a special land sale campaign and another €13 million from the sale of other plots. It put 500 units on the market in each case. The managers are looking for a partner to build developments on the land.
Contracts under review
The senior management team at the bad bank is considering tearing up the expensive and exclusive contracts that the entity has with four specialists (Haya, Solvia, Altamira and Servihabitat), which cost it more than €200 million per year, equivalent to 35% of its operating costs.
Sareb lost €565 million last year and since its creation, has generated cumulative losses of €1.315 billion. In reality, the operating result is now positive. Nevertheless, the financial charges are so high – it had to take out a swap to cover itself in the event of an interest rate rise – that they completely determine its income statement.
The senior management team updated Sareb’s business plan in February, which forced the shareholders to recognise new write-downs. The review resulted in the recognition of a loss equivalent to 73% of the initial investment, which amounted to €4.8 billion.
Recently, the entity’s President, Jaime Echegoyen (pictured above) went further and warned that he thinks the shareholders will “struggle” to recover their investments.
Sareb has ten years left to liquidate all of its real estate stock. In reality, it is committed to returning the €37 billion in bonds secured by the State that it used to pay for the assets of the rescued savings banks.
The largest shareholder, the FROB, with 45.9% of the share capital, lost €950 million last year due primarily to the impairment of Sareb’s accounts due to its poor performance. The banks have also been forced to make significant adjustments. Sabadell, which has published its data, confirmed that its investment has generated an accounting loss of €321 million in five years.
The Minister for the Economy, Nadia Calviño, said yesterday, during her speech at a breakfast meeting organised by the New Economy Forum, that “for the time being, the Government is supporting Sareb’s strategic plan”. Nevertheless, she reminded listeners that the Administration is an important partner that participates actively in decision-making, “but it is not the only one”. 54% of the entity’s share capital is private.
Original story: Expansión (by Raquel Lander)
Translation: Carmel Drake