Lindorff Finalises Purchase Of Aktua For €200M

2 March 2016 – Expansión

Project Pegasus / The Norwegian group is in exclusive negotiations to acquire the platform that manages homes and RE debt on behalf of BMN, Ibercaja and Santander.

Centerbridge and Lindorff are negotiating the details of one of the largest corporate transactions in Spain so far in 2016. The US fund has selected the Norwegian group as the main candidate to acquire the real estate platform Aktua, a former subsidiary of Banesto, whose asking price amounts to just over €200 million, according to several financial sources.

Aktua currently manages homes and real estate debt for Santander, BMN and Ibercaja. Aktua reached an agreement with the Aragonese group just over a month ago, which has somewhat delayed the sale of the management platform.

The sources consulted explained that the main terms of the agreement have now been established, but the fine print may take a few more days to finalise before signing.

In this way, Lindorff has beat off the other two finalists in the process, known as Project Pegasus: the US fund Apollo, the owner of Altamira; and the private equity firm Activum. The investment banks Bank of America and Barclays are acting as advisors to the operation.

The Norwegian group has been operating in Spain for eight years now, although to date, it has focused on the management of unsecured loans. Within this market, Lindorff acquired the collection subsidiaries of Santander, Banco Sabadell and BMN. The acquisition of Aktua will allow the firm to enter a new business segment with higher returns.

Aktua was founded in 2008 and currently employs 400 professionals working in 24 offices. Following the purchase of Gestión de Inmuebles Salduvia, from Ibercaja, it now manages more than 42,000 real estate assets, worth over €8,000 million. (…).

According to the latest available accounts, Aktua earned almost €5 million in 2014 and generated an EBITDA of €8.5 million. The forecasts from the advisors to the sale predict that the firm will generate EBITDA of between €40 million and €50 million in 2015.

According to data at the Commercial Registry, Centerbridge owns a 83% stake in Aktua’s capital, Santander owns 6% and the company’s managers own 11%. The latter group includes the CEO and former Director of Banesto, Enrique Dancausa. (…).

Original story: Expansión (by J. Zuloaga and D. Badía)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Centerbridge Could Raise €200M-€300M From Sale Of Aktua

6 November 2015 – Expansión

The consolidation has begun of the banks’ former real estate companies, also known as servicers. The US fund Centerbridge has put its subsidiary Aktua up for sale, which it acquired from Banesto in 2012. The operation – known as Project Pegasus – has been entrusted to the investment banks Barclays and Bank of America, and to the law firm Linklaters, and has been valued at between €200 million and €300 million, according to various sources.

Aktua currently employs around 400 people and manages real estate assets worth €6,000 million. Alongside the assets that originated from Banesto – whose management it maintained following that entity’s integration with Santander – Centerbridge also manages properties and debt from BMN and several recovery contracts for other entities.

Centerbridge’s withdrawal from the market was first triggered when Aktua lost the contract it had held with Sareb, following that entity’s tender to select new managers in 2014. Since then, those assets have been managed by Altamira, owned by Apollo and Santander, which seems to be the likely candidate to take over Aktua.

Sources in the sector do not rule out the possibility that Aktua will end up in the hands of one of the other servicers that are part-owned by funds operating in Spain, such as Altamira; Aliseda, owned by Värde, Kennedy Wilson and Popular; Haya Real Estate, owned by Cerberus; Servihabitat, owned by TPG and CaixaBank; and Anticipa, owned by Blackstone. They have also not ruled out the possibility that Solvia, owned by Sabadell, will enter the process, since it was awarded one of the Sareb contracts.

With these kinds of operations, international funds are looking to obtain scale and efficiency in order to make their platforms more profitable. These investors spent almost €2,300 million buying servicers from the banks.

According to Reuters, new funds, interested in entering the sector for the first time, may also join the bidding, such as the private equity firm Permira.

In addition to these possible mergers, experts in the sector also expect that some of the entities that have not outsourced the management of their assets may do so. In fact, Ibercaja is progressing with Project Kite, which includes 6,900 residential units, 1,300 commercial premises and industrial warehouses and 600 plots of land, worth €800 million, and a team of professionals specialising in the segment, comprising around 50 employees.

Centerbridge’s exit from this business comes at a time when other opportunistic funds are also leaving the market, such as Elliott, which recently sold its recovery management platform to Cabot; and Fortress, which has put two of its main businesses in Spain up for sale: the financing company Lico Leasing and the loan management platform Paratus.

Original story: Expansión (by J. Zuloaga)

Translation: Carmel Drake