Intrum Acquires Ibercaja’s €600M NPL Portfolio

19 December 2018 – Eje Prime

Intrum is continuing its shopping spree in the Spanish banking sector. The Nordic fund is finalising the purchase from Ibercaja of a portfolio of €600 million in foreclosed assets, which the bank put on the market in November.

The sale of Project Cierzo, which is what the portfolio is called, forms part of Ibercaja’s strategy ahead of its debut on the stock market next year, through which it plans to preserve its independence. Intrum is going to close the operation within the next few days after ending up as the only finalist in the process, according to El Confidencial. With that portfolio sold, Ibercaja will have divested 1.14% of its foreclosed assets.

This new operation from Intrum follows another deal closed just five days ago by the Nordic fund with Banco Sabadell, from which it purchased 80% of Solvia for more than €300 million. Thanks to that sale, the Catalan financial institution generated profits of €138 million.

Since the summer of 2017, when Santander signed the largest property sale operation to date with Blackstone, involving €30 billion in assets, the financial sector has sold portfolios worth €82 million in total and has reduced its exposure to the real estate market to less than €100 billion.

Original story: Eje Prime 

Translation: Carmel Drake

Ibercaja Finalises the Sale of a €600M Real Estate Portfolio

8 December 2018 – El Periódico de Aragón

Ibercaja is continuing to take steps to best position itself ahead of its stock market debut, which is scheduled for next spring. The Aragon-based bank wants to divest more real estate assets before the end of the year to clean up its balance sheet and improve profitability, an objective that it expects will materialise in the coming weeks with the sale of a portfolio of problem assets worth around €600 million, according to confirmation provided by the entity yesterday to this newspaper. To carry out this operation, which is called Project Cierzo, it has engaged the investment bank Alantra, which is finalising the negotiations to find a buyer.

The move by Ibercaja follows the widespread practice across the whole Spanish financial sector and forms part of its strategic plan for 2018-2020, whose goals include the aim of reducing its toxic property assets by half (doubtful and foreclosed) with the mixed sale of around €2 billion in land and housing. That would help to improve efficiency, by bringing it below 55%, and would make the entity more attractive for future investors.

During the period 2015-2017, the bank led by Víctor Iglesias (pictured above, left) managed to clean up €1.6 billion. At the end of the third quarter of 2018, the volume of problem assets amounted to €3.9 billion, which represented a decrease of 10.1% (€437 million) with respect to the same period last year and of 7.3% (€304 million) compared to the end of 2017 (€4.2 billion), according to the figures provided by the entity at the beginning of November. Based on those numbers, Project Cierzo – which was revealed by Voz Pópuli – would represent a significant step towards the objective of cutting the entity’s real estate balance in half by 2020, as there would be around €1 billion left to achieve that goal.

A month ago, Ibercaja announced that it had engaged the bank Rothschild, as an independent advisor for its stock market debut, a step that European legislation requires it to take before the end of 2020. Currently, the Aragon-based bank is controlled by the Fundación Ibercaja, which owns 87.8% of its share capital, a stake that must be reduced to below 50% to avoid a fine. The other shareholders are the foundations of three former savings banks –CAI, 4.85%; Badajoz, 3.9%; and Círculo de Burgos, 3.45%– which it absorbed when it purchased the Caja3 group in 2013.

The entity is working to ensure that its valuation is as high as possible, and so the specific date for the IPO will depend on the evolution of the market. Nevertheless, it is most likely that it will make the leap during the second quarter of 2019.

Original story: El Periódico de Aragón (by J. H. P.)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Ibercaja Puts €600M Portfolio of Toxic Assets up for Sale

9 November 2018 – Eje Prime

The banks are continuing to divest property. The financial institutions have been working hard over the last two years to erase the ballast of toxic assets from their income statements, which they inherited during the immense economic crisis that Spain lived through at the end of the 2000s. One of the latest to make a move is Ibercaja, which has placed a real estate portfolio worth €600 million on the market.

In this operation, called Project Cierzo, the Aragon financial institution is being advised by the investment bank Alantra. Both companies expect to close the sale within the next few weeks, according to Vozpópuli.

The objective of Ibercaja, like that of other Spanish banks, is to clean up its accounts. In its case, it has the added incentive of its stock market debut in 2019, ahead of which it needs to divest more than half of its property.

Original story: Eje Prime 

Translation: Carmel Drake