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Spain is one of Europe’s largest markets for debt sales. EOS Spain successfully ups its game with the acquisition of three portfolios.

From Real Madrid and FC Barcelona to Atlético Madrid, the Primera División certainly does not lack famous and winning clubs. The Spanish football league is considered one of the strongest in Europe. This particular country is also in Europe’s top 3 for an entirely different reason: trading in credit portfolios. After Great Britain and Ireland, Spain is currently the most active market in Europe. In 2015, credit portfolios worth a volume of 15 billion euros changed owners in Spain, according to the consulting firm KPMG. 17 per cent of all transactions in Europe take place in Spain. ‘The country’s economic recovery ensures that more and more sellers are venturing back into the market,’ explains KPMG expert Carlos Rubi Montes. Increasing numbers of international investors are also paying heed.

Despite strong competition, EOS Spain has stood its ground. By the end of last year, the company had submitted three tenders for credit portfolios and won the contract in all three cases. The sellers included Barclaycard and two large banks. ‘It was a very significant step for us,’ says Víctor Artés de Arcos Echevarría, Head of Sales at EOS Spain. Since the first debt purchase in 2013, this line of business has become more important strategically. ‘Debt sales help companies increase their liquidity and realign their balance sheets. That is of particular interest to financial service providers,’ explains Mr Artés de Arcos.

The portfolio acquired by EOS Spain from Barclaycard in Spain includes credit card receivables from consumers. Barclaycard is a subsidiary of the British bank Barclays, whose history in the field goes back to the 17th century. In 1967, the company installed the world’s first cash machine at one of its branches in North London. Today, Barclays is the third largest bank in Great Britain. The company launched ‘Barclaycard’ in 1966, the first credit card in the United Kingdom, which now has around 30 million clients and 10,300 employees, making it one of the largest credit card companies in the world.

KNOWING
WHAT
COUNTS

Ideas are nothing more than starting points. To find what you want to draw, you simply need to start drawing.
PABLO PICASSO (1881–1973), Spanish painter, graphic artist and sculptor. He created around 50,000 works of art in various styles and made a lasting impression in the field of cubism.

New receivables every month

What’s different about this receivables portfolio is that EOS Spain did not purchase it en bloc. Every month, Barclaycard determines how many credit card owners are in payment default of more than 180 days. The receivables are then transferred to EOS Spain. These rolling monthly sales have an initial term of one year. ‘It was important to us that the buyer had a good reputation and that their values matched ours with respect to our professional and courteous way of dealing with clients,’ says Damián Herrera Ramos, Debt Collection Manager at Barclaycard. ‘These factors, together with the competitive price, were decisive in our selection of EOS Spain.’

EOS Spain worked closely with Risk Management within the EOS Group in Germany on putting together a suitable bid for the three portfolios purchased in 2015. ‘One of our analysts spent several months at head office in Hamburg in order to learn from the internationally active experts working there,’ reports Mr Artés de Arcos (see Experts know what counts). In addition, the management of EOS Spain exchanged information with EOS Credirec, the French market leader in debt purchase. EOS Spain has already made its first gains in the realisation of receivables portfolios. The Head of Sales says confidently: ‘We will achieve the targets we have set.’ It is still too early for a detailed evaluation, except for the first portfolio acquired in 2013, which, he says, ‘has proven to be a profitable investment.’

EOS Spain will actively seek new portfolios to purchase. ‘Our goal is to make the most of the today’s active market conditions with regular acquisitions,’ explains Mr Artés de Arcos. The focus is on unsecured debt from consumers and companies. After all, the 2015 hat trick should not be the last.

Photo at the top: Sharing the same values: Víctor Artés de Arcos Echevarría of EOS Spain (left) and Damián Herrera Ramos of Barclaycard.