Economy will summon bank to bank to buy its share in Sareb for 1 euro




The nationalization of Sareb is underway. The real estate giant will become a public company after the Government yesterday undertook a legal reform to
allow the State to exceed 50% of the shareholding
. A process of several weeks is already beginning in which to finish convincing the bank to sell its stake in the 'bad bank'. 45.9% of Sareb, the entity that was created in 2012 to absorb the troubled assets of the financial sector, is in public hands through the FROB; the remaining 54.1% is held by banks and insurers (mainly Santander, Caixabank and Sabadell). What the Government seeks is to control, in general, the entity.


This does not require it to reach 100% of the shareholding; you do not need to buy all the shares. That is why the Ministry of Economic Affairs will not open a joint purchase process with everyone, but will do it individually. Sources close to the process point out that Economy will summon each person in charge bank by bank to convince them to sell their stake in Sareb. What is on the table is that the State acquires each participation for the symbolic value of one euro, although the financial sector hopes to start one more counterpart: tax benefits.

The ministry agrees to allow banks to keep deferred tax assets with which to lessen the impact on their income statements, since although financial entities have provisioned their exposure to Sareb, it will not stop being a loss. Likewise, financial sources point out that the buying and selling process should not take more than a few weeks. They even talk about the fact that in two weeks the sale to the State should already be solved, since the sector is fully committed to accepting the Economy offer.

Future plans

Once the Government takes control of Sareb, there are different positions within the Council of Ministers. The socialist wing, and the one in charge, led by Nadia Calviño, maintains that the mandate for the 'bad bank' will remain the same as before: sell all assets, which are more than 144,000 real estate assets valued at more than 30,000 million , to be able to pay the debt that the entity carries and that is already accounted for in the public coffers.

That's the way it is, Sareb should disappear in 2027, although that is not at odds with the socialists winking at United We Can. The purple formation has always intended Sareb to be a public rental company. With this operation, the path to that dream is paved... but the intentions of Economy do not seem to be those. Even so, the ministry stresses that the "social utility" given to Sareb's properties will be reinforced, that is, that the entity's social function will be enhanced.

Sources from the Government of United We Can say they are not satisfied with the operation and do not hesitate to convey certain "concern" to the press. The purple flank explains that the socialists' proposal will not result in the entity becoming "a public tool to guarantee the right to housing in our country, as proposed by United We Can». Thus, they directly accuse the PSOE of “refusing to include” measures so that Sareb assumes what they consider “a social mission”. "The PSOE has refused to establish indefinitely, instead of five years, the assignment of housing to autonomous communities and local entities, as well as the publication of the properties that make up the Sareb portfolio," they explain. They also regret that the government decree "opens the possibility that public participation becomes the majority in a context in which society is registering serious losses."

The "concern" of United We Can is precisely that "these losses are socialized," they stress, “without knowing its amount and without any social compensation”; in other words, that “it is the State” that assumes them. However, despite the fact that there is no consensus, from the purple formation their minority position in the Executive is assumed and they understand that they do not have sufficient strength to execute their claims.

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