Martinsa’s Creditors Put 45 New Assets Up For Sale

30 April 2017 – Expansión

A year and a half after its liquidation was approved, the property developer Martinsa Fadesa is still working on the process, with the aim of returning to its creditors at least a small part of the more than €6,000 million that the company owed when it filed for bankruptcy.

To that end, the heads of the process have launched several auctions of the assets that Martinsa still owns, including homes in some of its macro-developments and plots of land for development, amongst others.

The latest initiative in this sense has been the creation of a special lot containing 45 assets, including finished homes, others under construction and a plot of land for development.

Highlights include a 2-bedroom home in Ayamonte (Huelva), measuring 95 m2, that has a terrace, private garden and parking space, which has an asking price of €108,290.

In Paterna (Valencia), Martinsa is selling homes and parking spaces alike at its Mas del Rosari development. For example, the real estate company is selling a social housing flat, measuring 90 m2, for a minimum price of €120,020.

This lot, the seventh to be created by the liquidators of the real estate company, also includes buildable land in El Saboyal de San Mateo de Gállego (Zaragoza), measuring almost 10,000 m2 and with a buildability of approximately 7,020 m2 for the construction of 39 semi-detached family homes. The initial price of the plot for auction amounts to €2.3 million.

To carry out the sale of these and other assets, those responsible for the liquidation, have created a website (martinsafadesaliquidacion.es), through which bids can be made for the real estate company’s plots of land, homes, storerooms and parking spaces. In the case of this latest batch, the deadline for participating is 8 May.

According to the latest data presented by Martinsa Fadesa, at the end of 2014 (the company formally requested to file for liquidation in March 2015), the hole in its balance sheet amounted to €4,603 million. Specifically, it owned assets worth €2,392 million to cover total liabilities of €6,995 million, of which €3,200 million corresponded to debt with financial institutions.

In December 2014, the real estate company chaired by its largest shareholder, Fernando Martín, presented a new proposal for its repayments after failing to fulfil the schedule set out in its first plan, approved in 2011, and which allowed it to emerge from the largest creditor bankruptcy ever seen in Spain. Then, Martinsa Fadesa had been negotiating with its financial creditors, including Sareb, CaixaBank, Popular and Abanca, for more than a year regarding a repayment plan for the more than €6,600 million that it owed.

Original story: Expansión (by Rocío Ruiz)

Translation: Carmel Drake

ST: Its Still Too “Early” To Talk About A “Complete Recovery”

21 April 2016 – El Economista

The CEO of ST Sociedad de Tasación, Juan Fernández-Aceytuno (pictured above), said on Tuesday that, despite the clear stability that we are seeing in terms of house prices, it is still “early” to talk about the “complete recovery and normalisation” of the market, and he warned that the recovery will only be an “objective” for as long as the net mortgage volume balance continues to decrease.

Those were the words of Fernández-Aceytuno during the opening session of the XXIII Meeting of the Finance Sector, an event organised by Deloitte, ABC and ST Sociedad de Tasación, at which he presented the five key indicators of the real estate sector.

Fernández-Aceytuno indicated that although there has been a double-digit increase in the number of appraisals commissioned by financial entities to support mortgage requests, the volume of mortgages granted in 2015 was “similar to the volume granted in 1998”, i.e. the lowest level in the series detailing mortgage activity prepared by the Spanish Mortgage Association.

Moreover, he said that in 2015, cement consumption amounted to 11.5 million tons, “similar to the levels seen in the 1930s and almost six times lower than the historical peak”.

“It would be interesting to validate and understand that real estate cycles in Spain are 16 years long, eight years of price and activity decreases, followed by eight years of rises”, said Fernández-Aceytuno, before going on to list the five key indicators for determining at which point we are in the cycle.

The five key indicators of the real estate sector

The first is the relationship between mortgages and transactions, regarding which he noted that during times of growth and recovery, the number of mortgages exceeds the number of transactions. “In Spain, that relationship was reversed in 2011; the good news is that since 2015, the number of mortgages granted has grown more quickly than the volume of house purchases”, he said.

Similarly, he indicated that the relationship between the percentage of appraisals commissioned by financial institutions for own assets and loan collateral has varied “significantly” from those commissioned by end clients to support new mortgage applications.

In terms of the creation of new households, Fernández-Aceytuno highlighted that, according to sources at La Caixa, almost 75,000 new households were created in Spain last year, which represents just 20% of the historical maximum. According to the Bank of Spain, the reference figure should amount to around 250,000 new households per year.

Similarly, he said that the New Home Census for 2016 compiled by ST-Sociedad de Tasación reported around 5,400 new homes for sale, compared with the 45,000 resulting from the calculations published by the Ministry of Development.

The variables that determine this difference are: the age of the home, its rental yield and the preference of property developers and banks to sell their homes in more favourable economic environments.

Finally, in terms of the evolution of outstanding mortgage balance, he said that currently the figure for the volume of loans being repaid exceeds the figure for the granting of new mortgages. “Although the latter increased at a higher rate in 2015, for as long as the net mortgage volume continues to decline, the recovery will just be a goal”.

Original story: El Economista

Translation: Carmel Drake

Deutsche Bank Lends €50M To RE Firm Aktua

18 April 2016 – Expansión

Deutsche Bank was involved in the largest direct lending transaction in Spain last year. Moreover, 2016 is only three and a half months old, but the same bank is already the lender in one of the largest operations of the year. And with the same borrower.

In 2015, the real estate services platform Aktua was the recipient of a €150 million injection, which Deutsche Bank granted to refinance its debt and allow it to pay a dividend to its owner, the fund Centerbridge. Within the next few days, the details will be finalised regarding the transfer of that platform to Lindorff.

Now, the German bank has increased its loan amount by €50 million. The aim is for Aktua to be able to finance the purchase of the management of Ibercaja’s real estate assets, which the company announced in February.

With these two operations, the financing that Deustche Bank has granted to Aktua, the former real estate subsidiary of Banesto, amounts to €200 million, which increases the volume of direct lending operations that the German bank has completed in Spain. “In the corporate segment alone, we have lent more than €500 million in two or three years”, explains Jesús Medina, Director of Structured Finance at Deutsche Bank.

That amount also includes the funds loaned to the chocolate company Natra at the end of 2015. The German financing entity entered into a syndicate of lenders after purchasing the firm’s debt from a Spanish bank in the secondary market, and as a first step, it participated in the restructuring that Natra needed to complete to survive. But the second step involved putting new money on the table to enable the chocolate company to do more than survive. And it did so in the form of a direct loan, together with another debt fund, amounting to around €20 million. “Our feeling is that there are operations in the market and that the structured financing segment is going to continue to grow, but we have to meet the needs of the moment and the windows of opportunity that arise”, added the executive.

Original story: Expansión (by I. Abril and D. Badía)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Sareb Refinances Half Of Its Debt To Reduce Its Interest Payments

9 March 2016 – Expansión

Sareb has reduced its financial burden by refinancing half of its debt in just two months. The bad bank is taking advantage of the historically low interest rates to save itself €150 million in interest payments, a key reduction at a complex time for the entity. In addition, the entity chaired by Jaime Echegoyen is finalising the repayment of debt amounting to around €2,000 million, in line with its objectives.

On 18 December 2015, Sareb launched a debt issue amounting to €10,268 million, with a one year term, and a further €6,574 million with a three year term. And two weeks ago, it closed another two operations amounting to €4,084 million and €2,537 million, also with one- and three-year terms, respectively. In total, these sums account for €22,565 million of its debt balance, which currently amounts to almost €45,000 million.

As a result, Sareb is going to see a sharp reduction in its financing costs, which, according to financial sources, will amount to almost €150 million.

In this way, the company’s financing cost will decrease from €1,100 million in 2013 to its current figure of close to €550 million.

In addition, sources close to Sareb’s Board of Directors indicate that this reduction will allow the entity to continue repaying its debt, between €2,000 million and €2,500 million to be specific. They expect that the firm chaired by Jaime Echegoyen will publish its annual accounts for 2015 at the end of this month, which will reflect some of this reduction in costs. During the first half of 2015, the significant cut in interest rates, thanks to the measures implemented by the European Central Bank (ECB), pushed financing costs down to €360 million, i.e. €194 million less than a year earlier.

A balm

The decrease in Euribor has served as a balm for Sareb in the face of the (temporary) suspension in real estate sales in 2015 – due to the migration of its assets – and the impact of the new accounting circular, which is going to force it to exchange two thirds of the subordinated debt that its shareholders hold. Before this new accounting standard, Sareb had already accumulated losses of €850 million during the first three years of its life.

Sareb was created in 2012 with debt of more than €50,000 million, which was granted to the ceding entities as payment for the transfer of their assets. These issues were placed over terms of 1, 2 and 3 years, and were linked to 3-month Euribor plus a spread.

The company launched its first bond issue at the end of 2012. It placed €16,512.6 million at 3-month Euribor plus a spread of 256.2 basis points. For the issues completed in February, that margin had decreased to less than 30 basis points above the same reference rate. In addition, Euribor is now in negative territory, even on a 12-month term. The 3-month reference rate for issues by the company amounts to -0.21% Even if this reference rate continues to fall, negative interest rates will never be applied by Sareb. (…).

The cut in the financing cost would have been greater if it wasn’t for an interest rate hedging instrument that Sareb took out for a 9-year term to cover 80% of those senior debt issues. (…). .

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

Translation: Carmel Drake

Realia Refinances €802.75M Debt Balance

14 December 2015 – Cinco Días

Realia, the real estate company controlled by Carlos Slim, has signed an agreement to refinance its debt, which currently amounts to €802.75 million, according to a statement made by the company on Friday to Spain’s National Securities Market Commission (CNMV).

The company has signed the agreement with the entities Puffin Real Estate, CF Aneto and Goldman Sachs International with the aim of enabling it to comply with its short and medium-term financial feasibility plan and to “significantly” reduce its financial indebtedness.

In this way, according to the agreement, the repayment of the loan has been brought forward to 30 May 2016; a new calendar has been established, which divides the repayment of the existing debt into four phases; and a discount has been established on the existing debt balance, which will be applied to the payment milestones to be made by Realia.

Similarly, the real estate company has increased the amount of the capital increase it initially launched for €87 million, which the real estate company’s majority shareholder, Carlos Slim, has committed to participate in, with the injection of around €21 million, on the basis of the 25.1% stake that he currently holds in the company.

Specifically, Realia’s Board of Directors has agreed to increase the amount of this capital increase from a nominal value of €36 million to €36.81 million, whereby increasing the total number of new shares to be issued by 3.38 million.

In this way, it will issue and put into circulation a total of 153.38 million ordinary shares, with a nominal value of €0.24 each and a share premium of €0.34.

Original story: Cinco Días

Translation: Carmel Drake

Quabit Reaches Agreement With Sareb To Restructure Its Debt

30 June 2015 – El Mundo

After several months of negotiations, Quabit Inmobiliaria and Sareb have reached an agreement to restructure the debt that the RE company owes the ‘bad bank’ – it represents 72% of the Quabit’s total financial debt and was due to mature in 2016.

The agreement has been ratified by the Boards of Directors of both companies, and is pending legal implementation, which is expected to take place in July.

Under the terms of this new agreement, Quabit commits to make an advanced payment of €35.6 million before the end of the year, which will allow it to free up assets with short term development potential, where there are plans to build around 1,000 homes. In parallel, a new calendar of maturities has been established, which extends until 2022.

Similarly, regarding the debt associated with the stock of finished products (53 homes), both entities have agreed to set new minimum sales prices, which will allow them to speed up the sale of the residential “stock” and repay the corresponding debt.

The signing of this agreement will provide Quabit Inmobiliaria with the possibility of realising the capital increase that it plans to propose at its General Shareholders’ Meeting today (30 June 2015), amounting to approximately €70 million.

With respect to the rest of the group’s debt, the payment of the majority (representing 24% of the total) is limited to the specific assets that guarantee it. For the remaining 4%, the entity will have to agree similar conditions to those just reached with Sareb.

“The signing of this agreement will allow us to handle the long-term future in an optimistic way. Also, it places us in a strong position to become a leading, active agent in the sector once more. In recent years, we have been working on stabilising our financial structure and now we have the opportunity to develop new investments and projects”, said Félix Abánades, Chairman of Quabit Inmobiliaria.

On the other hand, he added that “both entities are satisfied with the joint work performed and the agreement reached. Quabit has laid the foundations to secure its future, to actively manage and develop its own assets and to meet its debt payments.

Original story: El Mundo

Translation: Carmel Drake