Four US-based investment firms have been picked by Greek lender National Bank of Greece (NBG) to put forward binding offers for the €1.5 bn Project Icon.
Apollo Global Management, Centerbridge Partners, Fortress Investment Group, and a joint venture of Elliott Advisors and Bain Capital have emerged ahead of several other interested parties in the process to buy the property-backed non-performing loan portfolio.
NBG, which is being advised by Morgan Stanley on the process, launched the sale last month, with the aim to receive binding bids for mid-December and possibly close the deal before year-end.
The portfolio includes a total of 7,300 loans to 1,500 SMEs and Micro enterprises with a principal of €1.5 bn, including €1 bn borrowed by 137 SMEs and the balance by micro enterprises. The loans are secured against 6,000 property assets valued at €1.1 bn, mostly consisting of commercial real estate (€800 mln) mostly located in Athens (27%) and in Macedonia (23%).
55% of borrowers have ceased operations. NBG’s total exposure amounts to a total of €2.5 bn.
Earlier this year NBG closed the sale of Project Symbol to a consortium comprising Centerbridge Partners and Elliott Advisors. The sale involves around 13,000 SME loans with a face value of €1.6 bn and secured against 7,900 assets - largely commercial properties with a value of around €700 mln, as well as some €400 mln of residential assets and plots of land. This very granular portfolio is believed to have traded for €250 mln, or about 26% of the nominal value.