Bankrupt Douro Atlantic Garden gives “hole” of 25 million to Novobanco


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Real estate megaproject that was going to be born in Antiga Seca do Bacalhau, in Gaia, never saw the light of day. Liquidation of the promoter fund pays more than half of the debt inherited by Novobanco.

The liquidation of the GES real estate fund created to develop the Douro Atlantic Garden, in Gaia, is doing its last accounts and is preparing to hand over another million euros to Novobanco, the main creditor, which will still be left with 25 million to recover from a 58 million debt it inherited from the bankrupt BES.

At stake is Invesfundo III, which started in 2006 with the real estate assets acquired by Dulivira – a company linked to Duarte Lima and Vítor Raposo, former PSD deputies – from the public company Estamo, for 28 million euros. The goal was to develop a mega real estate project in the lands of the Old Seca do Bacalhau, with privileged views of the sea and the mouth of the Douro and the city of Porto. Promoted by Espírito Santo Property, the fund was 100% financed by BES from the very first moment.

The project was announced in 2013, with an announced investment of almost 60 million, at a time of serious crisis in the country with the intervention of the troika following the request for aid. But it never got off the ground.

A year later, BES went bankrupt, with the resolution measure applied by the Bank of Portugal, dragging along with it the real estate fund that defaulted years later, in 2017. In a difficult situation “as a result of the devaluation of real estate assets” and “strong bank debt”, and with Novobanco unwilling to “contribute the necessary financial means” to make the projects viable, the fund entered insolvency proceedings in 2019.

Since then, Invesfundo III ‘s insolvency management has sought to sell the fund’s real estate assets. In addition to the land where the Douro Atlantic Garden was planned, it also had a plot of land on Rua da Bélgica (also in Gaia) where the construction of five buildings was also planned, to compensate creditors, namely Novobanco, which inherited the problem of the initial financing granted by BES, around 55 million euros, and was claiming 57.6 million.

In the last two years, with the proceeds from the land sales, the liquidation process has been making regular repayments to the bank: after returning 25.5 million in 2021, it made another payment of 6.5 million last year.

Now, the receiver has proposed to the court a final apportionment with the remaining money from the insolvent estate, to the tune of 1.154 million euros, with 880 euros going to the Tax Authority and the rest going to the institution led by Mark Bourke.

All in all, with this new and last apportionment, Novobanco, which declined to comment on the process, will be able to recover 33 million euros, about 56% of the toxic debt it inherited from BES.

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