Project Ágora: CaixaBank Sells €650M NPL Portfolio to Cerberus

21 June 2018 – Voz Pópuli

CaixaBank is getting serious with the digestion of its real estate. The Catalan bank has just closed its first major divestment of 2018 and is analysing another possible large-scale operation to be completed in the second half of the year, according to financial sources consulted by Vozpópuli.

The sale that has just been announced is Project Ágora, a €650 million portfolio whose transfer has been agreed with Cerberus. According to the same sources, the US fund and CaixaBank have already signed a pre-agreement and are now negotiating the small print of the deal. Cerberus could pay around €200 million, according to market estimates.

Project Ágora comprises around 150 unpaid loans from large companies backed by retail premises, offices, industrial land and residential assets.

Strategic revision

Following this sale, the market is expecting CaixaBank to close a macro-operation during the second half of the year. The repurchase of Servihabitat, announced two weeks ago, is seen as a preliminary step, since that is what Santander did with Aliseda before it sold Popular’s real estate to Blackstone.

The sources consulted indicate that no process is underway yet, although the entity is reportedly working on some numbers and doing some preparation work in that regard. The entity led by Gonzalo Gortázar (pictured above) is being advised by consultancy firms, including KPMG. The Madrilenian banker wants to know whether undertaking an operation such as Quasar (Popular-Blackstone) or Marina (BBVA-Cerberus) will require it to recognise any new provisions.

CaixaBank has €14 billion in foreclosed assets on its balance sheet, worth €5.8 billion. That represents a discount of 58%, according to its accounts for the first quarter. Santander sold Popular’s real estate at a discount of 67% and BBVA sold its assets at a discount of 62% (…).

Gortázar’s team wants to avoid the market fixating on CaixaBank following the sales undertaken by Santander and BBVA, and the operations that Sabadell has underway.

The commitment from Cerberus

With Project Ágora, Cerberus is continuing to grow its real estate business in Spain. The fund led in Spain by BBVA’s former Finance Director, Manuel González-Cid, already purchased a portfolio from CaixaBank at the end of last year – Project Egeo – and is completing the purchase of 80% of BBVA’s real estate for €4 billion. For this, the comments to be issued by the Deposit Guarantee Fund (FGD) in the next few weeks will be critical.

In addition to the portfolios that it has been buying, Cerberus has a large part of its Spanish real estate interests in Haya Real Estate. After trying, unsuccessfully, to debut that entity on the stock market before the summer, the fund is negotiating its key contract and/or a possible acquisition of assets with Sareb. The fund certaintly has a great deal at stake with that operation.

Original story: Voz Pópuli (by Jorge Zuloaga)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Savills Advises Sale Of Retail Outlet Portfolio In Puerto Banús

13 July 2016 – Mis Locales

Savills has advised the sale of a portfolio of five retail outlets in Puerto Banús.

The purchaser is a vehicle owned by domestic private investors, managed by N+1 Real Estate, and the consideration paid has not been disclosed.

Located on the waters edge in the marina, the five retail outlets have a combined gross leasable area of 578 sqm in an area that has the highest concentration of luxury brands per square metre in Spain and one of the highest footfalls of high end consumers in the country, with more than 5 million visitors per year. The five retail outlets are currently leased to fashion companies, including brands such as Guess and La Martina, restaurants and other services.

Alejandro Sánchez-Marco, Director of Private Wealth at Savills, explained that “Puerto Banús is a market that is very much in demand by the main operators in the luxury segment in the country. The high number of people that visit the marina in Puerto Banús each year and in particular the average expenditure profile in this area, mean that it has an occupancy rate of almost 100% and a confluence of the main operators in this segment, which attracts investor interest from the main domestic and international groups”.

The yield on commercial premises in luxury High Street areas with high footfalls in Spain, amounts to around 3.75% on average in Madrid and Barcelona, however, those yields can contract even more in the best locations. The main provincial capitals represent a good alternative for those investors seeking a product profile of this kind with a more attractive yield.

Original story: Mis Locales

Translation: Carmel Drake