Caixabank Cleans Up Its Balance Sheet Before The Merger: Will Sell €1Bn Of Toxic Assets

CaixaBank has anticipated that the technological integration with Bankia is expected to close in Q4'21

Before clompleting its merger with Bankia, Caixabank wants to reorganise its balance sheet and will put up for sale portfolios of problematic assets worth 1 billion euros.

The doubtful assets CaixaBank intends to divest have been divided into two portfolios.

The first, called ‘Project Hermitage’, is made up of ‘unsecured’ credits valued at some 600 million euros. These credits are without collateral and linked to consumption and to SMEs.

The second one, under the name ‘Louvre Project’, consists of credits worth some 400 million euros with a real estate guarantee, of which some 200 million euros would be linked to land from Martinsa Fadesa.

Martinsa Fadesa is a company which was forced into bankruptcy at the beginning of 2015, as it was unable to refinance its financial debt of 3.2 billion euros. Nor was it able to renegotiate the creditors’ agreement, with which it managed to overcome the largest insolvency proceedings in history in 2011, in order to extend the payment of that debt.

Caixabank and Bankia aim to start operating as a single entity at end-2021. Gonzalo Gortázar, CEO of CaixaBank, has anticipated that the technological integration of both entities, one of the crucial and most complex phases in a merger, is expected to close in Q4’21.

For the time being, the boards of both lenders will meet today to approve the announcement of their Shareholders’ Meetings where the merger will be submitted to a vote.

According to the tentative calendar managed by the two banks, these meetings will be held in early December. The operation would already have the favourable opinion of the independent expert (the BDO auditor) appointed by the Valencia Commercial Registry. This would validate that the merger exchange does not harm the interests of minority shareholders. Having this report is an indispensable requirement for calling the Shareholders’ Meetings.