Santander to Sell Real Estate Servicer Altamira to Apollo

Banco Santander SA, Spain’s biggest bank, reached a preliminary accord to sell Altamira, a unit that handles loan recoveries and markets real estate, to Apollo Global Management LLC.

Santander expects the sale to Apollo European Principal Finance Fund II to close in the coming weeks and will disclose the price then, the Santander, Spain-based bank said in a filing to regulators today. The loans and real estate will stay on Santander’s balance sheet, and the Apollo fund will own the unit that manages them, the bank said.

Investors are looking for ways to profit from a Spanish real estate crash that left the financial industry with more than 180 billion euros ($242 billion) of souring assets and banks with the task of managing property piling up on their balance sheets. Santander had 11.4 billion euros of real estate at the end of September including 6.2 billion euros of loans and 3.7 billion euros of foreclosed assets.

Apollo, the New York-based buyout firm run by Leon Black, agreed to pay 60 million euros in September for Evo Banco, part of the banking business of nationalized Spanish lender NCG Banco SA with 702 million euros of loans and 1.6 billion euros of assets. In March, Apollo EPF II said it would acquire FinanMadrid, an auto and consumer loan unit of Bankia group, another nationalized lender.

The La Caixa banking group said in September it would sell 51 percent of its Servihabitat Gestion Inmobiliaria to TPG Special Situations Partners in a transaction that valued the real estate servicing company at about 310 million euros.

El Confidencial reported the Altamira sale to Apollo today.

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