Tuesday, 19 February 2013

real estate company Reyal Urbis filed for insolvency after failing to renegotiate debt with its creditors.

Spain's property market crash claimed another victim on Tuesday, as real estate company Reyal Urbis filed for insolvency after failing to renegotiate debt with its creditors.

 

The move takes the property developer, which had 3.6 billion euros ($4.8 billion) of debt at the end of September, closer to becoming Spain's second-largest bankruptcy after Martinsa Fadesa, which defaulted on 7 billion euros of debt in 2008.

Dozens of property companies have collapsed in Spain, where house prices have fallen around 40 percent since their 2007 peak. With the country locked in a deep recession, analysts expect prices to fall further still.

Spain's banks were crippled by the property market bust, eventually requiring the state to agree a European bailout for its lenders of almost 40 billion euros last year. Indebted property firms have asked banks for debt relief but patience is wearing thin among lenders saddled with soured property assets.

 

Reyal Urbis is 70 percent owned by construction magnate Rafael Santamaria and its creditors include Santander, BBVA, Bankia and Banco Popular.

The company, which valued its property portfolio at 4.2 billion euros in June 2012, said it would continue to operate as permitted by Spanish insolvency laws.

Its insolvency petition now goes to court and its fate will be in the hands of a judge.

Reyal Urbis said Santamaria would remain at the helm of the company and he still hoped Reyal Urbis could reach a deal with its creditors, given "the good will of all negotiating parties".

The company had until Feb. 23 to reach a debt restructuring deal with the banks or file for insolvency. Sources close to the matter told Reuters on Friday that creditors had rejected the company's 3.6-billion-euro proposal.

Trading in the company's shares was suspended on Tuesday, Spain's stock market regulator said. The stock had plunged 99 percent since June 2007 to close at 0.124 euros on Monday.

At the end of 2011, Reyal Urbis owned some 888 finished homes in a country where over a million homes lie empty. The company also had 8 million square metres of land for development and 237,000 square metres of commercial property, including offices, shopping centres, industrial property and hotels.

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