Spain's 'bad bank' sells loan bundle to Bank of America - sources

MADRID Mon Nov 25, 2013 1:26pm EST

MADRID Nov 25 (Reuters) - Bank of America Merrill Lynch has bought a small package of loans from Spain's so-called 'bad bank' Sareb, helping the vehicle to surpass year-end sales targets, two sources familiar with the situation said on Monday.

The U.S. bank bought two loans to troubled property company Metrovacesa, the sources said, adding that the loans were on Sareb's books at about 80 million euros ($108 million).

Both Sareb, which was created at the end of last year to cleanse the Spain's rescued banks of their soured property loans and real estate, and Bank of America declined to comment.

Sareb has sold nearly 900 million euros of loans linked to major property companies so far this year, though it is unclear how much it has actually received in payment.

The loans that used to sit on rescued banks' books were transferred to Sareb at varying discounts. Sareb is 49 percent-owned by the government, with the remainder mainly shared between Spanish banks that did not need rescuing.

Sareb, which also sold Metrovacesa loans to Deutsche Bank this month, is selling another package of loans belonging to real estate group Realia to U.S. investment firm Fortress and Spain's Azora, one of the sources said.

The bad bank's total sales this year have reached about 1.7 billion euros, against a 2013 target of 1.5 billion euros. Much of this is down to houses sold to individuals, though portfolio sales to professional investors are picking up.

Sareb is still forecast to make a loss for 2013 because of high financing costs in its first year, which should tail off as it repays debt with the proceeds of its sales.