13 March 2018 – Voz Pópuli
BBVA does not want to waste any more time on the real estate clean-up exercise. In the last few days, the entity chaired by Francisco González has launched a €1 billion portfolio on the market: Project Sintra, according to financial sources consulted by Vozpópuli. It is being advised in the operation by PwC. Neither the bank nor the consultancy firm wanted to comment.
This portfolio is the penultimate step for BBVA in the reduction of its real estate exposure to zero, after the agreement it reached with Cerberus to transfer €13 billion of foreclosed assets, as this newspaper revealed. That sale, Project Marina, is still pending the necessary authorisations and is scheduled to be closed in the middle of this year.
The balance of BBVA’s divestments is as follows: before Project Marina, the entity had a gross exposure (not including provisions) of almost €16 billion, which will end up at just over €3 billion. Of that figure, two-thirds relate to unpaid loans linked to land and completed developments, with a coverage ratio of 54%.
With this new operation, BBVA wants to be crowned as the first major entity to get rid of its inheritance from the crisis. Last year, Santander closed the sale of €30 billion from Popular to Blackstone, but it still has €11.7 billion left to divest.
The same stars
With Project Sintra, BBVA has now awarded the mandate for three consecutive operations to PwC. It did so with Project Jaipur, worth €600 million, which was acquired by Cerberus; and Project Marina, which had the same advisor and buyer.
The latter operation generated unease amongst certain funds, which complained to the bank because it had not opened a competitive process, but instead chose to negotiate one on one with Cerberus. Sources close to that operation defended that a bilateral sale could optimise both the price and an auction, thanks to the threat of opening the process to more rivals.
In this way, BBVA is one of the entities that has decided to accelerate the sale of portfolios during the first quarter, like Sareb, which is finalising the sale of between three and four packages: Nora, Bidasoa, Dune and Slap, with a combined volume of €3.2 billion.
One of the most fashionable assets and one that entities are increasingly including in their portfolios is land. In this way, Sareb is preparing an operation containing land only and Kutxabank is evaluating a similar process.
Original story: Voz Pópuli (by Jorge Zuloaga)
Translation: Carmel Drake