The Monje Family Puts Assignia Construction Group Up For Sale

9 December 2016 – Expansión

The Monje Tuñón family, the controlling shareholder of Assignia Infrastructuras, has launched a feasibility plan to refinance the construction company’s debt and resolve the collapse of the group that has, amongst other consequences, resulted in the delayed payment of the last three months salaries to the workforce of 1,600 employees and which may force the company to suspend its payments it it fails to reach an agreement over the next few weeks.

The owner, which has stepped up talks with its financial creditors, is considering several measures to comply with the banks’ demands and access new lines of financing. In addition to the sale of several smaller assets, the Monje family has put the construction company up for sale, after identifying interest from several investment funds and two Asian industrial groups. The aim is that, with the entry of a new shareholder through a capital increase, the company’s balance sheet would be strengthened and an agreement would be facilitated with the banks to refinance a €60 million debt, which matures in December this year. (…).

The construction company forms part of the group of medium-sized companies in the sector, it is geographically diverse (with operations in 14 countries) and has several valuable assets, especially those granted under concession agreements. Assignia recorded turnover of €250 million in 2015, up by 12% compared with the previous year, and an EBITDA of €18 million. Its result was negative (-€4 million) due to its significant financial expenses, which amount to €12 million per year.

The group’s production portfolio currently amounts to around €700 million, but some of that amount is doubtful, given that Assignia, like all of the other companies in the sector has fallen victim to non-payments by debtors. (…).

As such, the company is preparing to implement an ERE redundancy plan in Spain, which will affect around 150 people, equivalent to almost 10% of its workforce. (…).

In the meantime, negotiations with the banks continue. The aim is that the banks will facilitate new maturity periods and open new lines of credit to ensure the continued operation of the company. Assignia’s financial debt is distributed between 10 banks through a syndicated loan that had to be renegotiated in March this year. Santander is the agent bank and Bankia is the entity with the highest exposure (around €20 million). CaixaBank and Sabadell, amongst others, also participate in the syndicate.

Original story: Expansión (by C. Morán)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Merlin Plans To Issue Bonds Amounting To €1,000M

10 November 2015 – Expansión

The Socimi wants to debut on the debt market, by registering a bond program that will range between €800 million and €1,000 million and will be placed in 2 to 4 issuances.

This formula will help the company to pay off the €1,600 million debt it took out to acquire Testa and which it expects to refinance in 2016.

In an interview, Merlin’s President, Ismael Clemente (pictured above), explained that the company – which debuted on the stock exchange in June last year – is already working towards the refinancing of Testa’s debt and that it expects to see results during the course of the next year.

Merlin reached an agreement with JP Morgan and Santander (which account for 90% of this liability) to extend the maturity period by 2 years.

The refinancing will take place in two tranches – one syndicated loan and another similar to a bridge loan, payable with future bond issues, the next step in the company’s strategy.

In this sense, Clemente explains that the company intends to register a bond program for an amount ranging between €800 million and €1,000 million to be placed in 2 to 4 issuances.

To this end, the company is in talks with the three large ratings agencies in order to obtain investment grade ratings, which it hopes to receive during the first half of 2016.

The Socimi, which in its day starred in the largest IPO since Bankia, also hopes to become part of the Ibex 35, given that following its purchase of Testa from Sacyr, it will be ranked between 25th and 27th in the list, with a market capitalisation of almost €3,600 million.

Once it has completed the purchase of Testa – an operation that was announced in June for €1,793 million – Merlin will operate under its own brand and will no longer maintain the Testa brand. It will also increase the size of its Board of Directors (to between 12 and 15 members) by incorporating Testa’s independent directors, and will do the same with its staff and management team, which it will transfer to its headquarters on the Paseo de la Castellana. (…).

The company has revealed that its results for the first nine months and for the year as a whole are in line with its forecasts and it has indicated that at the strategic level in 2016, Merlin plans to merge the Socimi’s and Testa’s teams, as well as to integrate the systems. (…).

Original story: Expansión

Translation: Carmel Drake

BBVA Has Renegotiated 66,166 Mortgages Since Start of Crisis

2 June 2015 – Expansión

BBVA has refinanced 66,166 mortgages and granted 11,680 “daciones en pago” (assignment of deeds in lieu of payment) since the start of the crisis, according to the report ‘BBVA’s Social Impact in Spain’, which was presented by the entity yesterday, having been prepared in collaboration with KPMG. The report seeks to quantify and detail the social impacts associated with the bank’s activity.

In Spain, 896,203 families live in homes financed by BBVA and during 2014, the entity granted new loans worth €1,379 million to 13,394 families for the acquisition of first homes. In addition, it financed 17,416 homes so that they could undertake energy efficiency improvements.

In terms of employment, BBVA has launched various initiatives such as “Yo Soy Empleo”, which has granted direct aid for the recruitment of almost 8,500 people; and “Project Momentum”, which has a 60% job placement rate.

The total number of jobs linked to the bank’s activity, including indirect or induced roles, amount to almost 100,293 people, i.e. 0.6% of the active Spanish working population.

Meanwhile, 951,284 individual shareholders received an average dividend of €870; 940,367 people have pension plans; and 875,448 employed people are covered by employment pension plans managed by BBVA.

Original story: Expansión

Translation: Carmel Drake