(Adds details, background)
MADRID Dec 13 Spanish lender Popular
has sold a 1.14 billion euro ($1.5 billion) portfolio of
troubled consumer loans to a consortium of international
investors, in a sign that sales of distressed assets are
beginning to pick up.
A consortium led by Nordic distressed debt group Lindorff
and funds advised by financial services-focused private equity
firm Anacap bought the portfolio, Popular said in a statement on
Thursday, confirming what sources told Reuters
Banco Popular did not disclose the price of deal, though a
source familiar with the matter said on Thursday Popular could
book a gain of over 30 million euros from the sale.
Popular, which unlike some other Spanish banks has not
tapped European aid even though it failed a September stress
test on its finances, shrank its capital gap with a 2.5 billion
euro ($3.3 billion) rights issue of new stock completed in early
Such portfolio sales, including troubled assets or corporate
loans, are starting to gather pace in Spain, as lenders scramble
to shore up capital following a five-year-old property downturn.
The portfolio shed by Popular, of troubled consumer loans
including to immigrant clients, was completely provisioned for,
meaning the bank will not take an additional hit even if they
are sold at a discount to their original face value.
All Spanish banks have made provisions for losses on toxic
real estate loans or foreclosed properties, which should help
them withstand sales of these types of assets at big discounts,
which many had so far been resisting.
More deals in the property sector or on other portfolios
such as consumer loans are likely to take place early next year,
bankers in Madrid said earlier this week.
(Reporting By Tracy Rucinski and Jesus Aguado; Editing by Sarah
White and Elaine Hardcastle)