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Spanish Bad Bank Sareb Plans $2 Billion of 2013 Asset Sales

Spain’s bad bank is planning sales of 1.5 billion euros ($2 billion) this year as it starts selling soured real estate transferred from lenders that took state aid, Economy Minister Luis de Guindos said.

“As you know, commercial activity has now started beginning with the sale of real estate assets,” de Guindos told a congress committee in Madrid today.

Lenders including the Bankia group that took state aid have turned over 50.4 billion euros of assets to the bad bank as part of a drive to clean up their balance sheets agreed under the terms of a European bailout Spain sought for its financial system last year. As many as 200,000 assets were transferred at a gross discount to book value of 52 percent, and the bad bank, known as Sareb, has 60 people handling them, de Guindos said.

Assets held by Sareb include 76,000 empty homes, 6,300 rented homes, 14,900 land plots and 84,300 loans, he said. Spain has commissioned a detailed study of each asset so that Sareb’s business plan can be revised, said de Guindos.

Under a business plan announced in October, Spain’s rescue fund said it would strive for a 14 percent to 15 percent annual return on equity over its life of about 15 years. The European Commission said last month that coming up with a “sound business plan” for Sareb would be crucial to its success.

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