Spain’s Banks Prepare for a Mass Sale of Refinanced Mortgages Ahead of a European Regulatory Change

14 January 2020 – Expansión

Spain’s large banks are preparing for the mass sale of refinanced mortgage portfolios to opportunistic investment funds over the course of this year, ahead of a European regulatory change that will come into effect from January 2021. The new rules will require most refinanced debt to be classified as non-performing loans, which will impose more onerous capital requirements on the entities holding those assets.

Refinanced mortgages are those whose borrowers are currently up to date with their repayments but whose terms (economic conditions or duration) have been adjusted to avoid defaulted payments.

In the year to September 2019, Spain’s eight listed banks (Santander, BBVA, CaixaBank, Bankia, Sabadell, Bankinter, Unicaja and Liberbank) removed problem loans amounting to almost €37 million from their balance sheets. No detailed figures are compiled about refinanced mortgages, but sources in the sector estimate that a new market worth thousands of millions of euros could be generated as a result of the upcoming legislative change.

According to the new criteria to be introduced by the European Central Bank, refinanced loans will be classified as non-performing if the associated income generated by them falls by more than 1% as a result of the new terms of the loan. With such a strict threshold, almost all such loans will, therefore, be classified as non-performing.

In this context, a new market is expected to emerge whereby the banks try to divest portfolios of refinanced mortgages that are still considered healthy, but at lower prices.

The likely winners will be opportunistic funds, such as Cerberus, Blackstone and Lone Star, which typically buy doubtful assets with average discounts of 70%, and go on to generate double-digit returns through a combination of synergies and economies of scale.

Original story: Expansión (by R. Sampedro)

Translation/Summary: Carmel Drake

Tilden Park Acquires 2,500 Homes from Coral Homes

4 January 2020 The fund Tilden Park has paid between 100 and 150 million euros to acquire 2,500 flats from Coral Homes, a company owned by Lone Star (80%) and CaixaBank (20%). Tilden was founded by Josh Birnbaum, a former director at Goldman Sachs who became famous for his bets against the US sub-prime mortgage market, as depicted in the film “The Big Short.” The homes were part of the Kingfisher Project.

The fund made its first investment on the Iberian Peninsula in November when it acquired 1,800 toxic loans and 180 REOs from BPI, a subsidiary of CaixaBank in Portugal.

El fondo Tilden Park ha adquirido 2.500 pisos a Coral Homes, una compañía propiedad de Lone Star (80%) y CaixaBank (20%), por entre 100 y 150 millones de euros. Tilden fue fundado por Josh Birnbaum, un exdirector de Goldman Sachs que se hizo famoso por sus apuestas contra el mercado hipotecario de alto riesgo en los Estados Unidos, como se muestra en la película “The Big Short”. Las casas eran parte del Proyecto Kingfisher.

El fondo realizó su primera inversión en la Península Ibérica en noviembre cuando adquirió 1.800 préstamos tóxicos y 180 REO de BPI, una filial de CaixaBank en Portugal.

Original Story: El Confidencial – J. Zuloaga

Translation/Summary: Richard D. Turner

Lone Star to Sell Portfolio of 2,500 Homes Held by Coral Homes

28 October 2019 – Lone Star is looking to sell a portfolio of 2,500 homes held under its subsidiary Coral Homes, which the fund acquired from CaixaBank. Lone Star’s deal with CaixaBank included the acquisition of a roughly €7-billion portfolio of foreclosed homes through Coral Homes, in which the fund has an 80% stake. CaixaBank owns the remaining 20%.

The sale, known as the Kingfisher Project, is in an advanced phase. Interested parties are expected to submit binding offers within the next few weeks.

Original Story: El Confidencial – J. Zuloaga & R. Ugalde

Adaptation/Translation: Richard D. K. Turner

Sareb Close to Awarding €8-Billion Contract to Service Real Estate Portfolio

21 October 2019 – Sareb has chosen two finalists to vie for the management contract for €8 billion in loans and real estate: Haya Real Estate, controlled by Cerberus, and Servihabitat, by Lone Star. The bad bank expects to award the contract, which is the largest currently on the market, within the next few weeks. The existing contract, with Haya RE, is set is expire, which led Sareb to seek to reduce its costs.

Sareb opted in the spring of this year to place the contract on the market again, to lower its associated costs. Principally, the firm is looking to pay less in management fees, while paying more for successful sales and placements. Until now, the bad bank has been paying roughly €100 million per year in fees.

Four other groups had been vying for the contract: DoValue’s Altamira AM, Intrum’s Solvia, Finsolutia, and Hypoges. However, three other contracts, currently with Solvia, Altamira and Servihabitat, are set to expire in 2021.

At the same time as Sareb is looking to reduce its fees, the contract, known as the Project Esparta, includes the bad bank taking on more responsibility for the assets. The change has reduced the size of the portfolio in play from about €11 billion (at net book value) to roughly €8 billion now. The new servicer’s activities will be limited to selling or renting any properties, while Sareb will take on many of Haya RE’s previous duties.

Original Story: El Confidencial – Jorge Zuloaga & Ruth Ugalde

Photo: EFE / Emilio Naranjo

Adaptation/Translation: Richard D. K. Turner

Sareb Opens Bidding to Other Servicers After Low Bids from Haya, Solvia, Altamira and Servihabitat

30 July 2019

Sareb has notified the four servicers that manage its €34 billion in real estate loans and assets that it will open up bidding on its management contracts to other potential bidders, after having received a round of offers that it considered insufficient. Haya Real Estate (Cerberus), Servihabitat (Lone Star), Solvia (Intrum) and Altamira (doValue) have been servicing the bad bank’s assets until now. Sareb mandated DC Advisory to manage the process as the bank looks to reduce the size of the commissions it has been paying to the four firms.

DC Advisory and Sareb have reportedly been in contact with smaller, specialised firms such as Hipoges, Finsolutia and Copernicus. The decision is a message to the four current servicers, letting them know that they may lose out on future contracts unless they improve their bids. Sareb is considering dividing some sections of its portfolio by geographical location, reducing the number of managers in each and streamlining its operations.

The process – known as the Project Esparta – sent shudders through the servicing sector and was a factor in the postponement of Haya Real Estate’s IPO last year.  Haya currently has the largest mandate, servicing 37% of the bad bank’s assets (2014). Altamira, in turn, manages 29%, while Servihabitat has 19% and Solvia 15%.

Original Story: El Confidencial – Jorge Zuloaga

Adaptation/Translation: Richard D. Turner

Bankia Finalises Transfer of €2.7-Billion Real Estate Portfolio to Lone Star

28 July 2019 – Richard D. K. Turner

Bankia has finalised the transfer of a portfolio of foreclosed properties and non-performing loans to companies controlled by the Lone Star XI Fund.

The final value of the portfolio of foreclosed real estate assets has an approximate gross accounting value of 1.42 billion euros, while the portfolio of non-performing loans is worth approximately €1.283 billion. The total size is slightly lower than originally announced due to recoveries since the deal was signed.

The transaction with Lone Star involves the creation of a new company which will hold the assets and be 20 percent held by Bankia and 80 percent by Lone Star Fund XI.

Original Story: Expansión

Former CEO of Neinor Juan Velayos Joins Alantra

24 June 2019Cinco Dias

Alantra has hired Juan Velayos as a managing partner, tasked with building up a new real estate asset management business in Spain and abroad. Velayos will lead the creation of investment vehicles, while raising funds and directing investment, following the example of such major international firms as Blackstone, Brookfield and Cerberus.

Juan Velayos was Neinor Homes’ CEO until two months ago after Lone Star put him in charge of the firm when it acquired the developer from Kutxabank.

Original Story: Cinco Dias – Alfonso Simón Ruiz

Translation/Summary – Richard D. Turner

 

 

Sareb Offers the Contracts of Altamira, Servihabitat & Solvia to its Rivals

17 June 2019 – El Confidencial

Sareb is on a mission to change its course. According to market sources, the bad bank chaired by Jaime Echegoyen (pictured below) has decided to put its contracts with Altamira (owned by doBank), Servihabitat (Lone Star) and Solvia (Intrum) out to tender two years before their scheduled renewal.

Even though the contracts are not due to expire until the end of 2021, Sareb is putting them out to tender alongside that of Haya Real Estate, which is due to expire at the end of 2019. This represents a boost for Cerberus’s servicer, given that its competitors will now also have to focus on retaining their own contracts rather than just bidding for Haya’s.

In the event that Sareb awards the contracts of Altamira, Servihabitat and Solvia to other entities, it will have to compensate the servicers since their contracts clearly establish early termination clauses.

Altogether, Sareb is looking at putting out to tender the management of €34 billion in loans and properties that it still has left in its portfolio. The four will have to submit their bids in the next few months, specifying which assets they want to manage and what commissions they will charge.

The largest mandate is that of Haya, which manages assets proceeding from Bankia, which accounted for 37% of the bad bank’s original assets. It is followed by Altamira, which manages the assets proceeding from Catalunya Banc, BMN and Caja 3 (29% of the total); Servihabitat, which manages the assets from NCG Banco, Liberbank and Banco de Valencia (19%); and Solvia,  which manages assets from Bankia (foreclosed), Banco Gallego and Ceiss (15%). Clearly, there is a lot at stake for these servicers.

Original story: El Confidencial (by J. Zuloaga & R. Ugalde)

Translation/Summary: Carmel Drake

S&P Encourages Spain’s Banks to Divest More Property & NPLs

18 April 2019 – Ya Encontré

Spain’s banks got rid of €90 billion in foreclosed assets and doubtful loans last year, almost doubling the transaction volume recorded in 2017 (€52 billion) and setting a new annual record. But they still have a lot of homes left to sell and Standard&Poors is encouraging them to divest more of those properties, with a view to restoring their pre-crisis risk levels of 4% within two years.

According to the ratings agency, the banks still hold properties worth €80 billion, representing one of the highest stocks in Europe and accounting for 7% of the balance sheets of the domestic financial sector. In this context, S&P considers that the banks still need to get rid of another €30 billion in assets, at least, if they are to properly clean up their accounts.

The active buyside players in the market include many overseas investors and funds, such as Lone Star, TPG, Apollo, Blackstone, Bain Capital and Cerberus, which have played an important role in reducing the stock of major financial institutions, such as Santander, BBVA, CaixaBank and Banco Sabadell.

S&P is not alone in its stance. Both the European Central Bank (ECB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) are also urging Spain’s banks to divest the last of their property portfolios as quickly as possible to ensure financial stability ahead of the next recession.

Original story: Ya Encontré

Translation/Summary: Carmel Drake

Lone Star & Cerberus Increase their Commitment to Spanish Property

21 February 2019 – Expansión

The need for the banks to reduce their exposure to property and the funds’ appetite for the Spanish real estate sector have converged in recent years leading to the transfer of portfolios of debt and foreclosed assets worth millions of euros. Blackstone, Cerberus, Lone Star, the Canadian pension fund (CPPIB), Bain, Axactor and Lindorff are the funds that have been behind most of the major transactions involving portfolios of bank debt secured by real estate collateral during that period.

Emilio Portes, Director of Quantitative & Risk Management at JLL for Southern Europe, said that, following a frantic 2017 when more than €55 billion was transacted, last year saw portfolios sold with a gross value of more than €45 billion (…).

In 2018, the indisputable star was Lone Star, which took control of a portfolio worth around €12.8 billion from CaixaBank. Specifically, CaixaBank sold that portfolio along with Servihabitat to a company called Coral Homes in which Lone Star owns an 80% stake. Cerberus was also active last year with the purchase of several portfolios from Sabadell, Santander and CaixaBank with a total gross value of €12.5 billion. Behind it, came CPPIB, Axactor, D.E. Shaw and Lindorff, according to data provided by JLL.

“The sum of the transactions recorded over the last two years exceeds €100 billion, which places Spain as one of the countries with the largest transaction volume in Europe and the most liquid in terms of real transactions”, says Portes. In those portfolios, there are various types of assets, mainly residential, but also land, offices, premises and hotels.

The year ahead

During 2019, the banks will continue to divest assets, although with smaller portfolio sales. “In 2019, we expect a transaction volume of €20 billion, in addition to whatever Sareb ends up doing”, revealed Portes. He explains that most of the large Spanish banks have now reduced their NPA (non-performing asset) ratios to below 5%.

Following the activity undertaken by the large banks, all eyes are now focused on the medium and small-sized entities, particularly those with the greatest property exposure and therefore most pressure, as well as on Sareb, which has assets worth more than €35 billion still left to sell (…).

The heirs of the banks’ property, having purchased at significant discounts, have an average investment horizon of five years before they undo their positions (…)

Original story: Expansión (by Rebeca Arroyo)

Translation: Carmel Drake