Cerberus Sees Five More Years of Soured Loan Disposals in Europe

The biggest buyer of soured real-estate debt in Europe says disposals of non-performing loans from the region’s banks and governments will continue until at least 2021.

Cerberus Capital Management LP, which acquired more bad loans in Europe than any of its peers in the past two years, expects the market to remain busy, said John Snow, the private equity company’s chairman and former U.S. Treasury secretary for President George W. Bush. The U.S. private equity firm purchased 28 billion euros ($32 billion) of the debt last year, including mortgages from failed U.K. lender Northern Rock Plc sold by the British government, according to Cushman & Wakefield Inc.

“I expect that the opportunity to buy European NPLs will last at least another five years,” said Snow. “In U.S. baseball terms, we are still in the early innings.”

Europe’s banks have been shedding assets since the financial crisis as declining trading revenues and pressure from regulators to shore up balance sheets prompted lenders to restructure and reduce their operations. Loan disposals by banks have grown every year since 2010 attracting interest from U.S. investment firms including Lone Star Funds, Apollo Global Management LLC and Oaktree Capital Group LLC.

Sales of soured real estate debt and foreclosed assets totaled a record 85.9 billion euros in 2015, according to Cushman & Wakefield. While the pace of disposals slowed in the first quarter of this year, the New York-based company estimates as much as 80 billion euros of sales by the end of 2016.

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