The Greek market currently accounts for the highest proportion of live activity, according to Evercore. Each of the systematic banks is looking to accelerate their respective deleveraging efforts and will aim to take advantage of the newly-approved asset protection scheme. Together, the Greek banks account for c.€11.0 billion of live deals or 42% of the European total
Remaining in southern Europe, Spain and Cyprus relate to a further 28% and 12% of the total with the former’s volume being boosted by a c.€4 billion secondary NPL sale by Bain Capital. Bank of Cyprus is once again active with its €3.0 billion Project Helix currently being marketed following the success of Project Helix in the second half of 2018. The most notable live transactions include:
- Project Cairo –c.€7.5 billion. Eurobankis reportedly in the final stages of securitising a c.€7.5 billion portfolio of mixed NPLs, in addition to selling a majority stake in its NPL servicing platform;
- Project Helix –c.€3.0 billion: Bank of Cyprus is aiming to dispose of its second large-scale secured NPL portfolio in the shape of the c.€3.0 billion Project Helix;
- Project Atlas –c.€2.7 billion: The Spanish lender Santander has plans to reportedly sell two portfolios in 2020, the first of which is a c.€2.7 billion mortgage book dubbed Project Atlas.
In addition to the live transactions outlined, there is currently a pipeline of c.€40.1 billion of planned sales across 19 different portfolios. This total is considerably higher than the €26.2 billion being tracked as at the end of June 2019 and will support the closed sales volume in 2020.
In line with the trend shown in live sales, almost half the total (47%) is linked to planned transactions in Greece where four different vendors are preparing a total of seven portfolios for market. With a high level of deleveraging still to complete, Italian banks account for a further 24% of the planned total and will once again be key sellers in 2020. Elsewhere, 15% of the pipeline related to the UK where UKAR may look to dispose of its remaining exposure and 9% is linked to Spain where Santander is reportedly planning to sell a REO portfolio.
Including all transactions completed with co-investors, the top five investors from 2015-19 include Cerberus (€80.7 billion), Blackstone (€50.4 billion), CarValInvestors (€32.5 billion), Lone Star (€30.3 billion) and PIMCO (€20.1 billion). Although volumes reduced considerably in 2019 across all investors, Cerberus remained top of the table having closed 10 deals with a combined face value of over €8.5 billion. The most notable acquisition of the year was the €3.4 billion Project Beech, a residential mortgage portfolio bought from AIB.