The state, through Fund for Orderly Bank Restructuring (FROB), has proposed to the bank and the rest of the shareholders of the Sareb, the company created to give outlet to the real estate assets of the rescued entities, keep 100% of the company for a symbolic price that is close to 195 euros. Currently, the FROB is the Sareb’s main shareholder with a 45.9% stake, but the rest of the capital is in the hands of the main banks and some insurers, who now have a formal offer on the table to sell their shares.
The Council of Ministers approved on January 18 that the FROB could hold a stake of more than 50% in Sareb, the first step in taking control of the company created in 2012 to clean up the balance sheets of the rescued banks. The decision of the Executive came after Eurostat, the European statistical office, decided to incorporate Sareb within the perimeter of the State accounts, which forced it to add 35,000 million in debt in 2020 and more than 10,000 million in deficit. From then on, the Government considered that the State should take over 100% of the company and, for this reason, the FROB has now sent a formal offer to the Sareb shareholders to acquire 54.1% of the capital that does not control.
According to financial sources, the FROB offers one euro cent for each package of 39,710 Sareb shares. Bearing in mind that the company’s capital is divided into 1,429.56 million shares, this price means valuing 100% of the company at 360 euros. The 45.90% owned by the State is then worth 165.24 euros and the FROB would pay a maximum of 194.76 euros to acquire 54.1% of the capital in the hands of the banks and other shareholders, a symbolic price in line with the thesis of the Executive that the operation has the minimum cost for the taxpayer.
Apart from the State, Sareb’s leading private shareholder is Banco Santander, which owns 22.21%, followed by CaixaBank, with 12.24%; Sabadell, with 6.61%; Kutxabank, 2.53%; Ibercaja Banco, 1.43% and Bankinter, with 1.37%. Close behind are the Acquired Property Management company, with 1.27% and the Cooperative Social Credit Bank, with 1.21% of the capital. With shares below 1% are Mapfre (0.69%), Mutua Madrileña (0.67%), Caja Laboral (0.59%), Mapfre Vida (0.42%), Banca March (0.40% ), Cecabank (0.34%), Banco Cooperativo (0.32%), Deutsche Bank (0.30%), AXA (0.22%) and Iberdrola Inmobiliaria (0.21%). Following are Zurich Vida and Generali, both with 0.14% of Sareb; Plus Ultra Seguros, Bilbao Seguros and Santalucía, the three with holdings of 0.11%; Pelayo Mutua and Crédito y Caución, both with 0.08%, in addition to Targobank, Banco Caminos and Asisa, with identical packages of 0.06% of the capital. Seguros Catalana Occidente, with 0.03% of Sareb, and Wizink, with 0.02%, complete the list of shareholders.
The chairman of CaixaBank, José Ignacio Goirigolzarri, commented at a press conference that the entity has the FROB proposal on the table and will have to decide on the matter in the coming weeks because “each one will have to decide whether to accept the offer and How many shares does it go with? The question at the moment is whether the banks that generated tax credits with their investment in the company will sell all their shares or will remain in Sareb’s capital to guarantee that collection, which, in the case of CaixaBank, according to what the Goirigolzarri, amount to 170 million. The banker recalled that Sareb was created at the request of Brussels at a time when there was great pressure on the Spanish risk premium and a need for it not to have a public majority so that it would not count as debt. For that reason, he recalled, the (financial) system was used and the creation of the company was supported, “not because someone thought it was a business.” CaixaBank contributed 597 million, 600 million in round numbers, and although it has provisioned them because it has lost them, this has generated a tax credit for taxes paid of 170 million.