Haya Signs Agreement with ING to Manage its Foreclosed RE Assets

28 December 2017 – Voz Pópuli

Haya Real Estate is continuing to expand its real estate network in Spain. In just two months, Cerberus, the owner of the platform, has purchased 80% of BBVA’s real estate, acquired the property developer Inmoglacier and signed a new alliance with a bank: ING.

This latest agreement was signed in November and establishes that, from now on, Haya RE will be responsible for the management and sale of ING’s foreclosed assets, including not only those properties the bank already controls but also those that it inherits in the future due to defaulted loans. Although the real estate exposure of the Dutch institution in Spain is low (no figures were revealed), the deal shows that Haya Real Estate is continuing to win clients in a highly competitive market.

Cerberus España already controls the assets of BBVA (once Project Marina is approved in the middle of the year), Sareb, Bankia, Liberbank, Cajamar and those of other funds such as Waterfall. In total, it has property worth more than €50 billion under its management.

Another contract won by Haya recently was Waterfall’s, comprising 400 assets worth €57 million, purchased from Cajamar. That agreement made amends for the fact that Altamira won the contract to manage the assets of Liberbank that were acquired by Bain Capital.


All of the real estate platforms (also known as servicers) are trying to win business ahead of a possible consolidation in their market in 2018. Haya Real Estate, Servihabitat (in which TPG and CaixaBank hold 51% and 49% stakes, respectively), Altamira (owned by Apollo 85% and Santander 15%), Aktua (Lindorff) and Anticipa-Aliseda (Blackstone) are the largest.

Another recent move in the sector saw the entry of Axactor, with the acquisition of Unicaja’s assets.

Solvia, the real estate arm of Sabadell, is one of the major unknowns in the sector. Two years ago, it negotiated a possible merger with Haya Real Estate, which has still not been ruled out as we head into 2018.

Original story: Voz Pópuli (by Jorge Zuloaga)

Translation: Carmel Drake


Cerberus Negotiates To Buy At Least 51% Of BBVA’s RE Risk

14 November 2017 – Expansión

Cerberus and BBVA are moving forward with their conversations. The US fund is negotiating to buy at least 51% of the bank’s real estate risk. Financial sources indicate that BBVA is weighing up whether to sell a majority stake in Anida, the bank’s real estate manager, or to structure the deal around a newly-created company.

BBVA’s real estate activity is grouped around Anida. The bank is one of the few that still retains full control over its real estate business.

The operation with Cerberus would follow the model adopted by Santander for the deconsolidation of Popular’s real estate risk. In fact, some sources indicate that Cerberus decided to intensify its negotiations with BBVA after missing out on the bidding for Popular’s toxic real estate; it fell at the first hurdle.

The two entities have been holding negotiations since the summer and, according to sources, the parties are going to set the perimeter of the operation on the basis of the price that the fund is willing to pay.

For the time being, Cerberus has already made it known to investors that the negotiations are very advanced. Those sentiments were expressed by the representatives of the asset manager Haya Real Estate, a subsidiary of Cerberus in Spain, during the road show that they held recently with investors in London to issue €475 million in guaranteed bonds, according to sources in the know.

The operation to deconsolidate some of BBVA’s real estate risk is expected to be closed this year.

BBVA’s gross real estate exposure in Spain amounted to €17,774 million as at September. The entity had an average coverage ratio of 56% at that date, and so the net risk stood at €7,828 million. The entity has reduced its net exposure to property by 23.3% since the end of 2016.

Original story: Expansión (by R. Sampedro)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Spain’s Banks Sell RE Assets Worth €52,000M+ In 2017

2 November 2017 – Cinco Días

According to all of the experts consulted, there is no doubt that the operation carried out by Santander in August, involving the sale of €30,000 million in property to Blackstone, marked a before and after in the formula for the financial sector to get rid of its real estate deadweight.

That operation significantly boosted the total amount transacted in these types of portfolio sale operations this year. Taking into account those operations that already have been closed, as well as those that are currently underway, the transaction volume in 2017 will comfortably exceed €52,000 million. That figure contrasts with the volume recorded in 2016 (€22,000 million), even though this year (2017) was expected to be more modest in terms of transactions.

The new international accounting standard IFRS 9, which will enter into force in January, and which will toughen provisions for real estate portfolios, as well as the pressure from the Bank of Spain and, above all, the European Central Bank (ECB) for the sector to accelerate the sale of its NPL assets, have served as a trigger for the banks to accelerate the sale of their foreclosed land and properties.

The heads of Spain’s largest banks (Santander, BBVA, CaixaBank, Bankia and Sabadell) have said, during the recent presentations of their results for the first nine months of the year, that their objective is that property will no longer weigh down on their income statements by the end of 2018 and, in some cases, by a year later, at most (…).

By way of example, Bankia has two very different financial operations underway, but international funds are the interested investors in both cases. One involves the upcoming sale of between 7% and 9% of the entity’s share capital, a placement that is expected to be carried out during the month of November and whose buyers will be institutional investors.

The other operation will involve the sale of several real estate portfolios. One of those, for €100 million, goes by the name Jets; and another, amounting to almost €2,000 million, is known as Giant, comprises property from Bankia’s own balance sheet and maybe some from BMN, the entity that it will integrate into its perimeter at the end of the year (…).

CaixaBank, with around €18,000 million in at-risk assets, of which €10,000 million are NPLs, may also star in a similar operation to the deal closed by Santander with Blackstone within the next few months, according to two experts.

For the time being, all of the consultancy firms and investment banks agree that (with the exception of the sales processes already underway) the trend is to carry out much fewer placements of small portfolios and “to undertake a few, large sales instead”.

These same sources also agree that the investment funds (Apollo, Oaktree, Bain, Cerberus, Blackstone, Lone Star, Castlelake, Värde Partners, Lindorff, TPG and Goldman Sachs, amongst the most active) “are in a hurry to buy and the banks are in a hurry to sell”.

One of the large banks that has shown reluctance to sell its real estate assets until now, despite its bulky portfolio of foreclosed assets, has been BBVA. It has carried out some operations (refer to the table above) but it has been, together with Sabadell, the only entity that has not sold its real estate platform.

Nevertheless, the bank chaired by Francisco González has been holding exclusive negotiations with Cerberus for months regarding the sale of part of Anida (in an operation known as Sena). Specifically, it is interested in 20% of Anida Grupo Inmobiliario SL, which is equivalent to around €1,200 million, an operation for which it would pay approximately €300 million.

But several sources say that the bank is rethinking its sales strategy and in 2018, will be willing to put a much larger portfolio up for sale and whereby tackle an operation similar to the one closed by Santander, but this time with Anida as the protagonist.

Sources at investment banks and managers add that the upcoming regulatory changes affecting securitisations in Europe will also help to boost the sale of packages of property portfolios amongst investors (…).

Original story: Cinco Días (by Ángeles Gonzalo Alconada)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Santander Considers Repurchasing 85% Of Altamira From Apollo

27 July 2016 – Expansión

The financial institution is considering taking back control of its real estate platform to improve its margins and create a large global firm to provide services in other countries.

The sale of Altamira could turn full circle. Santander and the US fund Apollo have held meetings in recent weeks to discuss the possibility of the Spanish bank repurchasing 85% of the real estate platform, according to financial sources consulted by Expansión.

These negotiations come just two and a half years after the financial institution decided to get rid of its controlling stake in the real estate platform. Then, Apollo fought off other funds in a competitive process in which it paid €664 million for 85% of the company, generating a gross profit of €550 million for the bank.

According to financial sources consulted, Santander’s new approach has arisen for three main reasons: the aim of creating a new area for the management of doubtful assets at the global level, ahead of the forecast increase in default rates in countries such as Brazil; to improve its margins, given that the current agreement forces the bank to pay commission to Altamira; and to take advantage of the financial improvement that Altamira is enjoying.

For the time being, the plans are in a very preliminary phase and both Santander and Apollo have explored other options for Altamira. One of the options would involve a movement in the opposite direction from the 85% repurchase: namely, to extend Apolllo’s agreement to other countries.

New management

Since Apollo took control of Altamira, changes have been introduced in the management of the platform with the aim of maximising sales. One of the new administrators’ great successes came when the company was awarded one of the four management contracts that Sareb put up for tender at the end of 2013.

Specifically, Altamira Asset Management took over the second largest contract on offer, comprising 44,000 properties and loans to doubtful property developers that had been originated by Catalunya Ciaxa, BMN and Caja 3, worth €14,000 million initially. To win this tender, the platform controlled by Apollo paid out €174 million as a deposit for this contract, which it will recover as it achieves its objectives.

In addition to these assets, Altamira administers foreclosed properties and loans linked to properties from Santander and from its main shareholder Apollo. Nevertheless, the Spanish bank will reduce the perimeter of the assets that it holds on its balance sheet as a result of the merger between Metrovacesa and Merlin Properties.

According to its accounts for 2015, Altamira Asset Management Holdings, the company in which Altamira holds a 85% stake, recorded profits of €25.2 million last year, down by 11% compared to the previous year. Part of that decrease was due to the costs of migrating Sareb’s portfolio of assets. Its turnover amounted to €267 million and the operating profit stood at €81 million. The company forecasts that its profits will increase this year thanks to the sales it will generate from Sareb: “In 2016, we will manage Sareb’s portfolio for the whole year, which is expected to increase the group’s turnover”, according to last year’s annual accounts.

Original story: Expansión (J. Zuloaga)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Lindorff Acquires 94% Of Aktua For €331M

3 May 2016  – Expansión

Santander retains a 6% stake / The fund Lindorff has acquired the real estate platform, along with its 400 employees and network of 20 offices from Centerbridge.

Lindorff is redoubling its commitment to Spain and, specifically, to the real estate sector. Yesterday, the fund reached an agreement with Centerbridge and the other shareholders to acquire 94% of Aktua, the platform that manages homes and debt from BMN, Ibercaja and some from Santander. According to reports by the Norwegian group, the operation is worth €313 million, including deferred and contingent payments. Santander will retain the remaining 6% stake.

Founded in 2008, the former real estate arm of Banesto, now has more than 400 employees and a network of more than 20 offices located all over the country. Following the purchase of Gestión de Inmuebles Salduvia, formerly owned by Ibercaja, the entity went onto manage more than 42,000 real estate assets, worth more than €8,000 million.

Centerbridge acquired the company from Santander’s subsidiary in 2012 for €100 million. The fund owned 83% of the capital, 6% belonged to Santander and the remainder, 11%, was shared between its own managers, including the CEO and former director of Banesto, Enrique Dancausa.

The company generated an operating profit of €38 million in 2015. “Spain is an important growth market for Lindorff”, said Klaus-Anders Nysteen, the CEO of Lindorff. “The operation provides us with a solid platform in the market for managing foreclosed assets, incorporating new capacities to achieve higher growth in the non-performing mortgage debt sector in Spain, and subsequently in other markets”, added Nysteen.

The purchase price and refinancing of Aktua’s debt will be financed by capital investment from Lindorff, as well as through the renewal of its credit lines, to reach €195 million.

Original story: Expansión (by J.Z. and D.B.)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Losses From The Banks’ RE Arms Rose By 11% To €3,266M

14 March 2016 – El Economista

The banks’ real estate arms are still weighing down on the accounts in the sector. Despite the economic recovery and the improvement in prices, the property development companies owned by the financial entities recorded more losses last year than in 2014. Specifically, according to the available data, their combined losses increased by 11% to €3,266 million.

The reasons for this deterioration are the facts that: the volume of assets on their balance sheets is still growing, which means higher provisions, and that divestments are being made at prices that do not even cover management costs and taxes.

Homes and land are still moving onto the balance sheets of the banks at a high rate. In this way, the largest groups (Santander, BBVA, Bankia, CaixaBank, Sabadell and Popular) increased the volume of homes and land they own by 8% in 2015 to €62,163 million, before provisions and valuation adjustments.

In this context, the main owners of these assets are suffering from huge losses and are not forecasting to make any profits until 2017, at least. Everything will depend on the evolution of the economy over the next few months and the recovery of both real estate transactions and prices. In 2015, for the first time since the crisis began, house prices rose.

The real estate company that recorded the highest losses was the property arm of CaixaBank, which is one of the largest. BuildingCenter generated negative results of €1,427 million in 2015, which represented an increase of 11.4% compared with 2014. In the middle of last year, CaixaBank had to inject €1,600 million into its subsidiary to restore its equity. (…).

Although the property developer owned by the Catalan group suffered the greatest losses, the two main property developers owned by Ibercaja saw the highest rises  in their losses. Cerro Murillo and Inmuebles CAI’s losses shot up by 212%, due to the poor performance of the latter, which was inherited from the former Caja3. The losses of both companies amounted to €203 million in total. Ibercaja is trying to accelerate its sales and improve the administration of its real estate assets….to this end, it has sold its home and land management platform to Aktua, in an operation that will generate profits of €70 million for the entity.

Ibercaja was one of the few entities that had not sold its platform. BBVA and Sabadell are the only others that have not sold theirs yet either; they are retaining this administration in-house for the time being.

In fact, BBVA was one of two entities that managed to reduce the losses generated by its real estate arm. The two companies that own its homes and land, which operate under the name Anida, decreased their losses by 22.2%, to €658 million. In part that was due to the fact that the group, chaired by Francisco González managed to sell some of its assets with gains. (…).

The other developer that managed to reduce its losses last year was Liberbank, but its situation is different from those facing other players in the majority of the sector, given that the entity transferred the bulk of its assets to Sareb as part of the financial rescue plan and the properties it inherited from the former CCM are covered by the Deposits Guarantee Fund, up to a maximum of €2,475 million.

Some entities have tried to sell sizeable batches of properties, but these projects have been suspended or delayed due to the political uncertainty in Spain following the general elections and due to the instability in the market due to the slow down in China and the fall in the oil prices.

In this context, the banks will intensify house sales through their branches to individual buyers. One of the most ambitious projects has been proposed by Popular, which seeks to sell homes worth more than €2,800 million in 2016, as part of a plan to get rid of up to €8,000 million non-performing assets, through various means, to improve profitability.

Popular’s real estate arm, Aliseda, increased its losses by 13% in 2015, to €165 million. (…).

Original story: El Economista (by Fernando Tadeo)

Translation: Carmel Drake