CaixaBank Puts 144 Hotels Up For Sale Worth c. €1,000M

20 May 2016 – Expansión

CaixaBank has launched a mega hotel operation. The Catalan entity wants to sell off the majority of the hotel assets that have come into its possession during the course of the crisis, as well as some that it will soon foreclose. To this end, it has brought Project Sun onto the market, advised by N+1, whereby it is looking to sell its exposure in 144 hotels, valued at almost €1,000 million, according to financial sources.

The operation is divided into two portfolios: one with unpaid loans secured by 112 hotels; and the other with 32 hotel assets already foreclosed by the entity. In total, the properties that CaixaBank wants to sell contain almost 11,000 rooms.

This is the largest financial operation involving the divestment of hotels launched to date in the Spanish market. Bankia undertook a similar operation in 2014, with Project Amazonas, containing hotels worth €800 million, which were awarded to the specialist fund Starwood; and another one in 2015 for €400 million – known as Project Castle, which was sold to Davidson Kempner Capital and Bank of America.

Market trend

Santander and Sareb also wanted to join the party. Last year, the entity led by Ana Botín launched Project Formentera, containing 17 hotels worth €170 million. Meanwhile, Sareb, put a portfolio up for sale containing assets inherited from Polaris World, which were worth €500 million before they were transferred to the bad bank. Both operations have been postponed until this year.

The operation launched recently by CaixaBank has been distributed amongst investors. The entity hopes to close the deal during the month of July. Of the 144 hotels, two thirds are located in Andalucía (37), Cataluña (22), the Canary Islands (19) and the Balearic Islands (17), with an average value of almost €7 million. Both Andalucía and the Canary Islands are regions were CaixaBank increased its presence thanks to the acquisition of Banca Cívica. The other assets are distributed all over Spain.

85% of the hotels are four- and five-star properties, and more than half are holiday properties, situated on the coast. The portfolio also includes rural and urban accommodation. This type of portfolio mainly attracts large international opportunistic funds, such as Cerberus, Apollo, Oaktree, Starwood – specialists in hotels – and Blackstone.

Once they have been awarded such portfolios, investors try to make profits from the operation by selling the hotels to large specialist groups or to local property developers; and by restructuring the debt. Project Sun contains 108 loans, of which 35 are up to date and 75 are overdue. (…).

Clean-up

For CaixaBank, this type of operation allows it to reduce its default rate, obtain profits – depending on the price paid – and release provisions. The Catalan entity held €9,500 million of problem assets (net of provisions) linked to the real estate sector at the end of the first quarter 2016. This figure had decreased by 11% in the last year thanks to the sale of portfolios and foreclosed assets through Servihabitat.

In addition to this portfolio, the Catalan entity has another group of assets up for sale, Project Carlit, advised by PwC, through which it hopes to sell of €790 million in doubtful loans to property developers.

Original story: Expansión (by Jorge Zuloaga)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Project Babieca: Bankia Puts €672M Portfolio Up For Sale

21 October 2015 – Idealista

Bankia has put another debt portfolio up for sale, worth almost €700 million and secured primarily by commercial assets (offices and shops), land and industrial assets. The project has been named ‘Babieca’ like the legendary horse of the hero El Cid Campeador.

Bankia is continuing with the process to reduce the real estate exposure on its balance sheet and to that end, has put another loan portfolio up for sale, a technique that has been used all over the world, during the process to clean up the financial sector. In this case, the so-called ‘Project Babieca’ is in the hands of the consultancy firm PwC, which is looking to place the portfolio, worth €672 million, with international investors, according to financial sources consulted.

The portfolio comprises 3 different sub-portfolios, but Bankia hopes to sell them all to a single buyer:

Portfolio Jimena: contains loans amounting to €115 million, primarily secured by land (specifically, 81% is guaranteed). This debt is shared between 9 borrowers, none of which have filed for insolvency to date.

Portfolio Elvira: contains debt amounting to €172 million, of which 78% is backed by commercial assets (offices and shops) and industrial assets. This debt is distributed between 40 borrowers, of which 18 have fallen into arrears.

Portfolio Sol: contains debt amounting to €384 million, of which 73% is secured by commercial assets. This tranche is spread between 30 borrowers, 22 of which are solvent.

According to the sources consulted, Bankia expects to receive non-binding offers from a handful of investors by the middle of October and to receive binding offers by the middle of November. In this way, it hopes to close the sale of this package in December.

If it manages to complete the sale before the end of the year, Bankia will be able to add the achievement to another sale it has already completed of another debt portfolio worth €1,300 million, which mainly contained doubtful mortgages to individuals. That package known as ‘Project Wind’ was awarded to the funds Oaktree and Chenavari (in July).

Bankia has also closed another operation this year, the sale to Bank of America of a hotel debt portfolio at the beginning of June. That operation, known as ‘Project Castle’ comprised 91 operations linked to 45 assets. 56% of the total portfolio related to doubtful debts.

In addition, Bankia has another package of real estate assets up for sale at the moment, the so-called ‘Project Big Bang’, which includes a portfolio of residential and commercial assets and land, worth €4,800 million. This is a sale that the bank is also looking to accelerate and one that would represent the largest sale of real estate assets since the real estate bubble burst.

Original story: Idealista (by P. Martínez-Almeida)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Bankia Sells Hotel Loan Portfolio To BofA & Hedge Fund

5 June 2015 – Expansión

Project Castle / Following the sale of Realia, Bankia has now made profits of €926 million from the transfer of its investments.

Yesterday, Bankia closed the first sale of a loan portfolio since the regional and local elections, which have been threatening to destabilise the market. Far from that, the entity has managed to attract a US hedge fund (to the market), which has not closed any deals in Spain until now, namely: Davidson Kempner Capital Management (DK Capital).

This fund and Bank of America (BofA) have won the auction for Project Castle against other large international investors. This portfolio, whose sale has been advised by N+1 and the law firm Ramón y Cajal, comprises hotel loans worth €383 million. In total, the portfolio contains 91 loans linked to 45 properties of this type.

Bank of America will take ownership of the performing loans and DK Capital the doubtful loans. These types of hedge fund are renowned for carrying out aggressive restructurings of loans to take ownership of the assets and, subsequently sell them at a profit.

Optimisation

Sources at Bankia highlight that the transaction: frees up resources for the granting of new credit; increases the bank’s liquidity; and contributes to an improvement in the quality of the assets. Moreover, it will have a positive impact on capital (at the height of the Basel III implementation) amounting to €21 million.

As well as Project Castle, Bankia is also advancing with Project Big Bang, containing €4,800 million foreclosed assets for sale; and Project Wind, with €1,300 million doubtful loans, primarily mortgages to individuals.

These divestments come after Bankia sold its 24.9% stake in Realia to Carlos Slim on Wednesday. Bankia has now made profits of around €926 million on the sale of all of its investments in listed companies, such as Iberdrola, Mapfre, Deoleo and NH Hoteles.

The transactions closed since 2013 have generated revenues for the entity of €4,879 million, according to the company’s own data.

Having exited as a shareholder of Realia, Bankia now only retains minor industrial holdings, such as in the infrastructure concession group Globalvía, in which it holds a 50% stake alongside FCC, although these two shareholders are expected to close the sale of that company to the Malaysian sovereign fund during the course of this year.

Original story: Expansión (by J. Z.)

Translation: Carmel Drake

BofA In Final Talks To Buy Hotel Loans From Bankia

27 May 2015 – Bloomberg

Bank of America Corp. is in final talks to buy loans with a nominal value of c. €400 million ($436 million) from Bankia SA, backed by hotels in Spain, said two sources close to the transaction.The loan package, called Castle, will likely be sold for less than the nominal value of the borrowings, said the sources, who asked not to be identified because the information is not public. They declined to elaborate on the size of the discount.

A spokesman for Bankia, Spain’s fourth-largest bank, declined to comment. An external spokeswoman for Bank of America in Madrid was not immediately able to comment.

Investors are targeting hotels in Spain as the economy recovers and the euro’s slide against a basket of currencies that include the pound encourages more foreigners to visit the country. A record 65 million tourists came to Spain last year, with the largest share, 15 million, coming from the U.K. In the first two months of 2015, spending by visitors rose an annual 8 percent to €6.6 billion.

European banks and asset managers plan to sell or restructure €70 billion of riskier real estate as they try to clean up their balance sheets, Cushman & Wakefield Inc. said in an April report. The region’s lenders, asset managers and bad banks such as Spain’s Sareb sold €12 billion of loans tied to property during the first three months of the year, Cushman & Wakefield estimates.

Original story: Bloomberg (by Sharon R Smyth)

Edited by: Carmel Drake

Sankaty Finalises Purchase Of 40 Large Loans From Bankia

6 May 2015 – Expansión

During 2015, Bankia has become an important focus point for international funds. Along with the sale of properties amounting to €4,800 million, the nationalised entity has launched three other large sales processes to divest non-strategic assets: one contains hotel debt – Project Castle; another involves problem mortgages – Project Wind; and the third includes large loans to real estate companies – Project Commander. The last of these is likely to close first, since the US fund Sankaty, a subsidiary of Bain Capital, is now in exclusive negotiations to seal the purchase and may sign an agreement in the next few days.

If the agreement comes to fruition, the investor will acquire 170 loans granted to 39 companies linked to the property sector. Of those, 31 are property developers that have filed for bankruptcy or liquidation. The portfolio include several loans granted to companies such as the Catalan firm Promociones Habitat.

Most of the loans are syndicated and bilateral, secured by rural land and industrial warehouses. The nominal value of the portfolio amounts to €500 million. Sankaty already acquired one portfolio from Bankia last year, together with the hotel investment giant Starwood. They paid the bank €400 million for hotel and real estate loans.

Original story: Expansión

Translation: Carmel Drake