EUROPE - Eurohypo has opened the door to a forced sale of a €865m Dutch office portfolio after bondholders of Opera Finance (Uni-Invest) CMBS failed to reach a restructuring agreement.

In a notice to the market, the property bank said it would consider "disposing of the company as a going concern" to preserve the value of the portfolio.

Yet sources at the bank acknowledged it was still hoping for a consensual restructuring, and that initiation of the enforcement process was designed to encourage bondholders who had been unwilling to agree to the bank's proposals to amend their objections.

If they hold firm, the options will be a forced sale either of the portfolio or of shares in the company.

Uni-Invest, which took out the €1bn senior loan to acquire the office portfolio in 2005, missed its scheduled capital-raising listing on Euronext two years later.

Its failure to meet the terms of a standstill agreement in February last year triggered the restructuring negotiations that collapsed this week.

Caroline Phillips, head of securitisation at Eurohypo, told IPE Real Estate: "It is our view that, given the nature of the properties, a breakup of the portfolio would not be in the best interests of the company."

She added: "We're still evaluating all the options, but the aim is to preserve as much of the value of company as possible.

"We've initiated the enforcement process because we want to move quickly, but we're still leaving the door open to as consensual solution is possible."

In a report published last month, rating agency S&P claimed only 13 of the 37 loans backing European CMBS due to mature in the first quarter had been paid off. Six defaulted.