Bad-Loan Deals Surge in Europe as Italian Banks Clean Up Assets

Bad-loan deals in Europe this year have already surpassed 2015’s total, driven by Italian banks’ efforts to clean up balance sheets, according to Deloitte LLP.

Lenders agreed to 112 billion euros ($125 billion) of sales in the first six months of the year, compared with 104.3 billion euros for all of last year, the company said in a statement. The estimates cover completed and on-going sales of non-performing loans and non-core assets.

Loan sales in Italy totaled 11.4 billion euros in the first half, with another 40.6 billion euros of deals underway, Deloitte said. The nation’s government has acted to help banks tackle nonperforming debts totaling about 360 billion euros in a bid to revive lending and economic growth.

The country’s bad loans “are still enormous,” David Edmonds, global head of portfolio lead advisory services at Deloitte, said in the statement. “However, the Italian government has increased its involvement in the NPL market and taken important steps to ensure that it remains open to portfolio investors.”

For a primer on what ails Italy’s banks, click here

U.K. non-performing sales totaled just 900 million pounds ($1.2 billion) -- compared with a Europe-leading 39.9 billion pounds for all of 2015 -- because of uncertainty caused by a referendum on leaving the European Union, Deloitte said. Transactions may pick up through the rest of the year, with state-owned UK Asset Resolution Ltd. likely to be a “key seller,” Edmonds said.