Green light for Spain’s State to increase its stake in Sareb

A new law allowing the State to own more than 50% of the divestment company may mean more council houses on private estates

After the financial crash in 2008, Spain founded the private company Sareb in 2012 to manage and liquidate bad loans and to buy up and dispose of the banks’ toxic assets, including risky stocks and real estate. This entity is currently 54.1% owned by private banks and insurance companies, and 45.9% owned by the public Fund for the Orderly Restructuring of the Banking Sector(FROB). Now, though, Spain has passed a law that will allow the State to hold a stake of more than 50% in Sareb in order to take control of the company.

Basically, the new law opens the door to allow the government to increase its stake in Sareb at the cost of the rest of the shareholders, including most of the banks, thereby reducing their power and weight in the company’s capital. This buy out may even be done for a symbolic price of just a few euros given that the institutions have been making provisions for the deterioration of their investment.

Currently, the FROB is the main shareholder with 45.9% of Sareb, followed by Banco Santander (22.2%), CaixaBank (12,24%), Sabadell (6,61%), Kutxabank (2,53%), Ibercaja Banco (1.43%) and Bankinter (1.37%), among others.

Although the State will take control of Sareb, the company will still have a specific corporate regime so that it can maintain “the necessary agility to carry out its divestment function”, although, according to a press release from the Ministry of Economic Affairs, the regime of commercial and senior management contracts will apply. 

As an alternative to selling off empty homes to private buyers, Sareb has begun diverting more of its properties to subsidised social and council housing as part of its corporate social responsibility strategy. The government now wants to strengthen this commitment, “in order to maximise the social utility of these properties and the positive impact of the company on society”. In this way, the new government takeover of a majority share in Sareb may see a larger proportion of its seized properties being repurposed for cheap council houses and flats for those unable to afford a home in Spain.

Original Story: Spanish News Today| News 
Photo: Sareb Linked In
Edition: Prime Yield