Apollo buys Santander’s property unit for €664 million

Banco Santander SA, Spain's biggest bank, sold its real estate unit to Apollo Global Management for €664 million ($903 million).

An Apollo fund acquired 85% of Altamira, which manages foreclosed assets and handles loan recoveries in Spain, Santander said in a statement in Madrid on Friday. The bank, which retains the loans and real estate, posted a gain of €550 million on the assets held.

Foreign investors are seeking profits in Spain as it emerges from the economic slump prompted by the collapse of the property market in 2008. Apollo last year agreed to buy Evo Banco from nationalized lender NCG Banco and FinanMadrid from state-owned Bankia group.

Latin American investors are also moving into the Spanish banking industry, which was saddled with €180 billion of soured assets during the crisis. Banesco Group bought NCG Banco last month, following Colombian billionaire Jaime Gilinski's investment in Banco Sabadell SA.