Bank of Cyprus to exit Romanian market with EUR 545 mln portfolio sale

Bank of Cyprus has put up for sale its whole loan portfolio in Romania, with an aggregate book value of EUR 545 million. British group HSBC has been mandated to sell the portfolio, according to real estate research and news company CoStar Group.

The asset sale, code-named Project Ariadne, includes three tranches: a EUR 360 million non-performing loans (NPL) portfolio, a EUR 116 million performing loan book and 16 properties, valued at EUR 69 million.

“The portfolio includes a EUR 27.4 million shopping center and EUR 15.7 million residential compound in Bucharest, a EUR 9.0 million hotel in Prahova as well as a mix of urban and rural land, predominantly in Bucharest,” according to CoStar.

As part of this asset sale, Bank of Cyprus is also offering the transfer of 46 employees, IT infrastructure and other material contracts from its Romanian operations which carry an annual cost of EUR 325,000.

This sale is part of Bank of Cyprus’ de-leveraging strategy. The bank sold a EUR 367 million NPL portfolio in the UK, in September. It also sold its stake in JW Marriott Bucharest Grand Hotel, in August, to Austrian group Strabag, in a EUR 95 million deal, which also included a EUR 110 million loan. Earlier this year, the group sold its 9.9% stake in Romanian Banca Transilvania.

Project Ariadne is the largest package of Romanian banking assets currently for sale.

BCR, Romania’s largest bank, owned by Austrian Erste Group, has a EUR 433 million NPL portfolio for sale, dubbed Project Saturn. BCR’s portfolio consists of large corporate loans and is partly backed by real estate collateral. PricewaterhouseCoopers is in charge of this sale.

Austrian Volksbank also has three NPL Romanian portfolios for sale, with a total value of EUR 460 million, as part of Project Donau. Volksbank already sold EUR 495 million worth of NPLs in July this year to a group of financial investors made of AnaCap, HIG Bayside Capital and Deutsche Bank.

BCR also sold EUR 227 million worth of NPLs in July.

Andrei Chirileasa, [email protected]

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