Fortress Finalises Its Withdrawal From Spain

17 November 2015 – Expansión

Strategy / The US fund will close the sale of Paratus to Elliott and Cabot Financial this week. It will also complete the ERE affecting more than 50% of Lico Leasing’s workforce.

The opportunistic fund Fortress is continuing its withdrawal from the Spanish financial sector. The US investor is finalising the sale of one of its financial businesses in the country, namely, Paratus, a platform that specialises in the management of problematic banking assets, which Fortress has controlled since 2009.

According to several financial sources, the sale of Paratus will be signed this week with the fund Elliott Advisors and the British group Cabot Credit Management Group, owned by JC Flowers and Encore Capital, taking ownership.

Each of the investors will take over a different part of Paratus’ business. Elliott is most interested in the real estate division and in the team. At the beginning of the sales process – known as Project Coast and advised by N+1 – Paratus held loans amounting to €152 million, secured by 866 properties; 500 homes worth just over €100 million; and a team comprising 43 professionals.

Meanwhile, Cabot is interested in acquiring the unsecured loans, which Fortress is selling for €426 million. The British group is looking to build upon its recent entry into the Spanish market, following its purchase of the Gesif platform from Elliott.

In addition to this possible sale, Fortress is also reducing its exposure to the Spanish financial sector by conducting an ERE at Lico Leasing. At the end of 2014, this subsidiary of Fortress had 130 employees. Through the restructuring, the fund has got rid of the commercial divisions of Lico Leasing, its other major financial business in Spain, which it acquired from the savings banks just one year ago; this means that it will no longer capture any new loans.

Complex operation

Fortress will continue to manage Lico Leasing’s existing portfolio and will continue to operate Geslico, its subsidiary that specialises in problem loans. That company recently integrated two of Fortress’s other companies in Spain: Auxiliar de Servicios y Cobros and Gestión de Activos de Aragón.

Fortress’s commitment to Lico Leasing was cut short due to the time required for its approval – almost two years – and by the re-opening of the credit tap by banks following the measures introduced by the ECB.

The US fund will continue with its other activities in Spain, by providing financing to companies and the real estate market.

Original story: Expansión

Translation: Carmel Drake

Andalucian Gov’t May Exercise Withdrawal Of Eviction Orders

22 June 2015 – Europa Press

At their first meeting on Friday, Susana Diaz’s new Executive Board approved the launch of the proposed draft bill for the withdrawal of evictions, which will allow the Government to exercise the right of withdrawal in the case of mortgage foreclosures conducted over free (non-subsidised) housing by financial institutions.

The decision was announced by Manuel Jiménez Barrios, the Vice-President of the Government and Minister for the Presidency and Local Government, at a press conference. He explained that the Government may exercise the right of first refusal on purchasing homes or buildings that are subject to mortgage foreclosure or the settlement and payment of mortgage-back debt.

“With the legal alternative of withdrawal, our main objective is to obtain social housing for rent, in order to provide a solution for families that have been deprived of their homes as a result of the eviction process”, said the Vice-President of the Government.

Jiménez Barrios insisted that that Andalucian Government is pursuing a “triple objective”, namely: to enable affected families to stay in their homes; to increase the Government’s stock of public residential housing linked to social policies; and to ensure that there is sufficient supply in the hands of the Administration aimed at vulnerable people and those with special difficulties.

The Vice-President also said that the aforementioned legislation will be rooted in the approval of the Regional Housing Plan, which is now in its final stages; according to his estimates, it will be approved “within the next three months”.

The draft bill also amends the penalty regime in terms of social housing in order to strengthen the protection for consumers on the buy-side of transactions. (…).

The bill establishes the creation of withdrawal areas, where the Government may intervene and whose limits are defined in the Regional Housing Plan. These geographical areas are determined on the basis of the economic situation of resident families, demand for housing, the characteristics of the properties and the historical incidence of evictions in those areas. On an exceptional basis and where duly justified, the withdrawal formula may be applied elsewhere as well.

Moreover, the Regional Housing Plan will specify the socio-economic criteria that people affected by evictions must fulfil to activate intervention by the Administration. Once the withdrawal has been exercised, the affected persons will have the right of first refusal to rent the property that has been their habitual residence. (…).

Original story: Europa Press

Translation: Carmel Drake