Urbania Acquires Land for 1,895 Homes in Málaga from Unicaja

29 July 2019 – Richard D. K. Turner

The developer Urbania International has signed an agreement to acquire the rights to build 1,895 homes in the future neighbourhood of Sánchez Blanca from Unicaja’s GIA. The 66-hectare development, located between Avenida de Ortega y Gasset and the AVE railway, will have a total of 3,443 homes.

The deal will make Urbania the principal developer of Sánchez Blanca. The rest of the building rights are distributed between the City Council (606 subsidised homes and 88 market-rate homes), the developer Andria (85 subsidised homes and 429 market-rate homes), the Vimpyca Foundation (411 subsidised homes) and Adif, which will develop 14. Urbania also expects to take over 429 homes from Andria, bringing its total to 2,324.

Sources estimate that Urbania will invest more than one hundred million euros in acquiring and developing the land. Construction, which could last about three years, is awaiting approval by the local planning department.

Original Story: Diário Sur – Jesús Hinojosa

Unicaja Banco Finalises Sale of €950-Million Portfolio of Toxic Real Estate Assets

28 July 2019 – Richard D. K. Turner

Unicaja Banco finalised the sale of a 950-million-euro portfolio of foreclosed properties and non-performing loans, equivalent to almost a third of those assets on its balance sheet. As of March of this year, the bank had €3.473 billion in unproductive assets, of which €1.833 billion were foreclosed properties.

The portfolio sold yesterday consists of 5,400 mortgage loans, with a gross value of €389 million, along with a total of 4,100 properties, with a gross value of €560 million. The sale, which the bank will formalise by the end of the year, will mean an €830-million decrease in non-productive assets, along with with a pre-tax capital gain approximately 17 million euros.

Original Story: Diário Sur – José Vicente Astorga

Unicaja Negotiates Sale of 3,700 Refinanced Mortgages Worth €250M

24 April 2019 – El Confidencial

Unicaja Banco could become one of the first entities in Spain to sell refinanced mortgages whose borrowers are now up to date with their payments.

The Málaga-based entity has engaged EY to coordinate the sale of 3,700 doubtful loans worth €250 million. The mortgages went unpaid during the crisis and were all refinanced, such that the borrowers are now up to date on their payments.

To date, barely any Spanish entities have tried to sell assets of this kind. But pressure from the ECB to improve returns is forcing Unicaja to give it a shot. The mortgages are still classified as doubtful, since the Bank of Spain establishes that a borrower has to pay 12 monthly instalments and reduce some of the capital for a loan to be considered normal.

The sale of the mortgages by Unicaja has been called Project Biznaga and forms part of a larger asset divestment process being undertaken by the entity, worth around €1 billion. The sale is generating a lot of interest amongst international investors and is going ahead in parallel to the bank’s merger negotiations with Liberbank, which are in their final stages.

Unicaja has one of the lowest exposures to problem assets in the Spanish financial sector and the highest levels of coverage. According to the latest official figures, as at December 2018, it had €3.6 billion of foreclosed and doubtful assets and a coverage ratio of 57%.

Original story: El Confidencial (by Jorge Zuloaga)

Translation/Summary: Carmel Drake

Cerberus Finalises Purchase Of Liberbank’s RE Arm For €85M

31 July 2017 – Voz Pópuli

The sale of Liberbank’s real estate arm will be closed in a matter of days. And the candidate that is most likely to acquire Mihabitans (the name of its property arm) is Haya Real Estate, the platform owned by Cerberus in Spain, according to financial sources consulted by Vozpópuli.

Haya Real Estate and Liberbank are now holding advanced conversations to close an agreement for €85 million after the servicer’s final offer proved to be more convincing than Aktua’s, the former real estate arm of Banesto, which is now owned by the Norwegian group Lindorff. Both the Asturian bank and Haya Real Estate declined to comment.

The agreement includes the sale of Mihabitans to Haya Real Estate as well as an agreement to manage Liberbank’s foreclosed assets for a period of seven years.

Manuel Menéndez, CEO at the bank, explained on Thursday, that the aim of the sale of Mihabitans is to accelerate the divestment of foreclosed assets with a more professional style of management and the generation of business through an agreement for Liberbank to grant new mortgages.

This pact is key for the entity given that it sends a clear message to the market that its objective is to remain independent, despite the pressure from the regulators for a new wave of mergers between the medium-sized savings banks.

Road to independence

Liberbank is doing its utmost this year to convince the market that it is in no way similar to Popular, after the stock market pain it suffered following the rescue of the entity purchased by Santander. After controlling the decline in its share price through a veto on short positions, the group led by Menéndez presented its results on Thursday, which showed that its default rate had registered a decrease of more than 1.5 p.p. to 11.3%, representing an improvement on the objectives announced.

One of the trends to reduce the default rate has been to execute many of the delinquent loans, and so the bank has taken ownership of the corresponding properties. For that reasons, despite registering a record quarter in terms of house sales (€75 million), the volume of foreclosed properties remained stable: €3,115 million.

Liberbank wants to set some ambitious sales targets as part of the agreement that it is now close to signing with Haya Real Estate: the sale of €410 million this year; €625 million next year; and €850 million in 2019. Sales of wholesale portfolios will also be included in this strategy.

Haya Real Estate groups together the management of entities such as Bankia (formerly Bankia Habitat), Cajamar and Sareb. It earned €31 million last year and has almost 700 employees. Two years ago, it negotiated a possible merger with Solvia, owned by Sabadell, and at the end of last year, it evaluated the purchase of Unicaja Banco’s real estate arm.

Original story: Voz Pópuli (by Jorge Zuloaga)

Translation: Carmel Drake