6 September 2017 – El Confidencial
A new major real estate transaction is on the horizon: BBVA has announced that it is analysing the sale of its servicer Grupo Anida. The real estate specialist is a giant in its own right, with gross assets of more than €5,000 million. BBVA is looking to take advantage of the appetite from large international funds to acquire a ring-side seat in the recovery of the Spanish market.
According to four sources in the know, the plans of the entity chaired by Francisco González are to focus on completely divesting this subsidiary, which accounts for just a proportion of the €8,750 million of net real estate exposure on its balance sheet. BBVA has declined to make any comments.
Nevertheless, last Thursday, the bank itself acknowledged in its results for the first half of the year, that its objective for the whole area known as Non Core Real Estate, which includes Anida, is “to accelerate sales and reduce stock, with specific actions for those products that have been on the balance sheet for the longest”.
Grupo Anida is the heir of the former fund BBVA Propiedad, which the bank practically rescued at the end of 2008, when the first effects of the crisis swept away these types of vehicles, a crisis that the entity averted by investing €1,600 million to continue as the sole shareholder and provide an exit for its other investors.
The bank also owns a property developer division, Anida Desarrollos Inmobiliarios and various subsidiaries that it has been accumulating under the same umbrella, such as Anida Operaciones Singulares, and subsidiaries in Mexico and Portugal.
According to the latest audit report, corresponding to the year 2015, the real estate company has managed to reduce its losses by 36%, to €311.4 million. But, since the publication of those accounts, BBVA has completed some major transactions, such as the sale of the Boston and Buffalo portfolios, and the transfer of 1,500 homes to Testa, whose gross value amounts to €485 million; and the transfer of land worth €431 million to Metrovacesa.
But, even after all of these moves, the entity is now willing to serve the main dish in the form of the sale of Anida, whose potential purchasers include some of the funds who expressed their interest in the sale of Popular’s toxic assets, such as Apollo and Cerberus, not to mention firms such as Bain, which expressed its interest in Vía Célere in the past, according to the sources.
For BBVA, closing an operation of this kind would represent the cherry on the top of almost ten years of hard work, a period during which the entity decided to follow its own strategic approach, setting itself apart from the market trend, by opting to retain the bulk of its property on the balance sheet rather than sell it badly.
The entity has been able to maintain this policy thanks to it high provisioning levels, one of the most generous in the finance sector, given that the average coverage rate of its entire real estate exposure, including live and foreclosed property developer loans, amounted to 57% at the end of the first half of this year.
The sale of Anida will, therefore, allow it to release the bulk of the provisions linked to those assets and take advantage of the soaring appetite from the large international funds to own a large real estate platform through which to try to benefit from the recovery in the market.
Nevertheless, any happy ending in this regard will always be dependent upon the thorny matter of price, a stumbling block that has caused the entity to reject several offers for Anida in the past.
Original story: El Confidencial (by Ruth Ugalde)
Translation: Carmel Drake