Sareb Seeks Partner(s) to Create Joint Venture With NPLs Worth €10bn

20 March 2018 – Expansión

Sareb has decided to emulate the large financial institutions and find a partner to help it digest its portfolio of foreclosed assets. The entity chaired by Jaime Echegoyen (pictured below) has decided to create a vehicle into which it will place loans with real estate guarantees (known as NPLs) and in which it will retain a minority stake.

Into this joint company, Sareb will place loans with a gross value of €10 billion, although the definitive figure has not been finalised yet, explain sources in the sector. It would be the largest sale ever made by the company that was itself created with assets proceeding from the intervened banks, and loans with all different kinds of real estate guarantees would be included: from land to tertiary assets. Sareb’s objective is to open up this new company to one or more financial partners and it has engaged the firms EY and CBRE to lead the negotiations. The process is still in a preliminary analysis phase, but the aim is to close it during the second half of the year or at the beginning of 2019.

Contacts

In making their preliminary contacts, the consultancy firms have approached the main international funds and managers with investments in the Spanish real estate sector to gauge their possible interest in this portfolio, which will initially be called Project Ebro. Once investors have confirmed their interest in the vehicle, thought will be given to defining how the alliance will be forged, say sources in the sector. Possible interested parties include investment giants such as Cerberus, Bain Capital, Blackstone, Apollo, Kennedy Wilson and Goldman Sachs. With Project Ebro, Sareb would be following in the footsteps of entities like Santander, which has reached an agreement with Blackstone to create the company Quasar, with real estate assets proceeding from its purchase of Popular.

In that case, the US fund owns a 51% stake, whilst Santander retains 49% of the shares.

This is not the only loan portfolio that Sareb currently has up for sale. The company has three other processes underway, although Ebro, given its size, is the star project. In this regard, it has engaged Arcano to sell the Nora portfolio, comprising non-performing loans (NPL) backed by residential collateral worth around €400 million; the Vilasoa portfolio, which includes €300 million in loans secured by land; and project Dune, a portfolio that has been relaunched in 2018 comprising €2.6 billion in unsecured loans. In that case, Sareb has engaged PwC to coordinate the sale.

These processes are happening in parallel to the search for a partner to strengthen its property development business. In that case, Sareb is holding talks with large real estate companies and funds with activity in the residential sector with the aim of working together on the development of buildable land and construction projects in progress.

In total, that portfolio is worth around €800 million and Sareb would contribute those assets to a company in which its partner would hold a majority stake.

Original story: Expansión (by Rocío Ruiz)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Project Sintra: BBVA Engages PwC to Sell €1bn of Toxic Loans

13 March 2018 – Voz Pópuli

BBVA does not want to waste any more time on the real estate clean-up exercise. In the last few days, the entity chaired by Francisco González has launched a €1 billion portfolio on the market: Project Sintra, according to financial sources consulted by Vozpópuli. It is being advised in the operation by PwC. Neither the bank nor the consultancy firm wanted to comment.

This portfolio is the penultimate step for BBVA in the reduction of its real estate exposure to zero, after the agreement it reached with Cerberus to transfer €13 billion of foreclosed assets, as this newspaper revealed. That sale, Project Marina, is still pending the necessary authorisations and is scheduled to be closed in the middle of this year.

The balance of BBVA’s divestments is as follows: before Project Marina, the entity had a gross exposure (not including provisions) of almost €16 billion, which will end up at just over €3 billion. Of that figure, two-thirds relate to unpaid loans linked to land and completed developments, with a coverage ratio of 54%.

With this new operation, BBVA wants to be crowned as the first major entity to get rid of its inheritance from the crisis. Last year, Santander closed the sale of €30 billion from Popular to Blackstone, but it still has €11.7 billion left to divest.

The same stars

With Project Sintra, BBVA has now awarded the mandate for three consecutive operations to PwC. It did so with Project Jaipur, worth €600 million, which was acquired by Cerberus; and Project Marina, which had the same advisor and buyer.

The latter operation generated unease amongst certain funds, which complained to the bank because it had not opened a competitive process, but instead chose to negotiate one on one with Cerberus. Sources close to that operation defended that a bilateral sale could optimise both the price and an auction, thanks to the threat of opening the process to more rivals.

In this way, BBVA is one of the entities that has decided to accelerate the sale of portfolios during the first quarter, like Sareb, which is finalising the sale of between three and four packages: Nora, Bidasoa, Dune and Slap, with a combined volume of €3.2 billion.

One of the most fashionable assets and one that entities are increasingly including in their portfolios is land. In this way, Sareb is preparing an operation containing land only and Kutxabank is evaluating a similar process.

Original story: Voz Pópuli (by Jorge Zuloaga)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Sareb Puts 4 Large Portfolios Worth €3.2bn Up For Sale

12 March 2018 – Eje Prime

Sareb is in a hurry. The bad bank has put four large portfolios of assets up for sale worth €3.2 billion, in a move that sees the company getting ahead of the significant divestments that many of the large Spanish banks are planning to undertake.

Moreover, the company that manages assets inherited from the banks would be willing to add two campaigns to this divestment plan through the loan channel worth €1.25 billion and which, in addition to the portfolios that are coming onto the market, would allow Sareb to place up to €4.5 billion in assets.

Of the projects that it has brought onto the market, the bad bank highlights Dune. Through that operation, whose sale was thwarted in 2017, Sareb is putting up for sale €2.5 billion in mortgage debt, in other words, unpaid loans following the enforcement of real estate loans, according to Vózpopuli.

Two other asset portfolios that the bad bank is seeking to market are Project Nora and Project Bidasoa. The first comprises unpaid loans over residential homes for a value that ranges between €300 million and €400 million. Meanwhile, Bidasoa is a debt linked to land located all over Spain that, in total, amounts to €300 million.

Sources at Sareb, which declined to make any comment in this regard, only point out that the sales made during the first few months of 2018 relate to the company’s plan to “deseasonalise” its activity.

Original story: Eje Prime

Translation: Carmel Drake