Overview – March


Activity picked up again in the Spanish real estate sector during the third month of the year, with multiple transactions in the residential, logistics, retail and office segments and with companies, funds and Socimis alike placing a whole range of assets up for sale.




The Israeli fund Adar continued to increase its stake in Neinor Homes (from the 5.2% it held at the beginning of February) to reach 27.8% by the end of March, taking it tantalisingly close to the 30% threshold that would trigger its launch of a takeover bid for the property developer led by Juan Velayos. In addition, Q21 Real Estate, a company created by the former Grupo Pinar, and the US fund Baupost purchased the luxury property developer Levitt, after fighting off competition from the likes of Lone Star, Värde and Castlelake.




In the non-performing loan sector, the Norwegian debt management firm Axactor completed the acquisition of assets worth €250 million from two Spanish banks. Meanwhile, the consultancy firm Axis Corporate reported that Spain’s banks now have €31.7 billion in toxic assets up for sale, for example: Sareb has 4 large portfolios worth €3.2 billion on the market known as Projects Dune, Nora, Bidasoa and Slap; Sabadell has 2 portfolios up for sale: one €2.5 billion portfolio mainly comprising assets proceeding from CAM’s Asset Protection Scheme (EPA), known as Project Makalu, and one €900 million NPL portfolio, known as Project Galerna; and BBVA has a €1 billion portfolio on the market, known as Project Sintra.




Meanwhile, in the residential sector, Testa Residencial completed the purchase of 1,458 rental homes in several of Spain’s major cities from CaixaBank’s real estate subsidiary BuildingCenter for €228 million to secure its position as the largest owner of rental homes in the country, with 10,702 units. In the residential land segment, the US fund Harbert Management Corporation acquired 3 residential plots in Valencia from a subsidiary of the real estate company NAU (Nuevas Actividades Urbanas) for €33 million; Realia, the real estate firm controlled by Carlos Slim, purchased a plot of residential land in Alcalá de Henares (Madrid) with a buildable surface area of 44,755 m2 from the Ministry of Defence for €27.5 million; and Grupo Ibosa bought 19 plots of residential land in the Valdemarín district of Madrid from Blackstone for €16 million.




In the logistics segment, Palm Capital acquired 3 turnkey logistics assets, spanning 85,000 m2 in total, in the Los Gavilanes Business Area in Getafe (Madrid) from the property developer BCM (MCA Group), where it plans to invest €100 million in total; Invesco committed to invest €80 million to develop a 90,000 m2 logistics park in Madrid, to be constructed by the Valencian-based firm Pavasal; and Grupo Baraka, owned by the Murcian businessman Trinitario Casanova, purchased 95,600 m2 of industrial land in Alcalá de Henares (Madrid) for €40 million, where it will construct a logistics platform. In addition, Merlin purchased a 43,000 m2 logistics plot in Seseña (Toledo); Meridia Capital bought a logistics platform spanning 27,500 m2 in Alovera (Guadalajara) for €10 million; and CV-Grupo acquired a 12,500 m2 logistics plot in San Fernando de Henares (Madrid).




In the retail sector, the Italian insurance company Generali acquired a 3,000 m2 commercial property on c/Preciados in the heart of Madrid’s shopping district for €100 million from IBA Capital and CBRE GI; the Socimi Lar España sold two out-of-town stores in the Nuevo Alisal retail park in Santander and a commercial building in Villaverde (Madrid) to the French fund Pierre Plus for €33 million; and Axiare sold the Planetocio shopping centre in Collado Villalba (Madrid) to the fund manager AEW for €20 million.




In the office sector, AEW purchased one of two buildings that comprise the Rio 55 complex, an office project that Insur is currently constructing in the Madrid Rio area of the Spanish capital, for €43 million; and Meridia acquired 90% of an office building spanning 7,000 m2 in Madrid’s financial district for €26.5 million, with a view to purchasing the remaining 10% in the near future.  In addition, Duro Felguera finally managed to sell 2 of its office buildings in Madrid, to Signal Capital Partners; and UBS Euroinvest acquired the Titán 8 office building in the south of Madrid, all for an undisclosed sum.




In the hotel sector, Bankinter’s new Socimi Atom Hoteles purchased 6 hotels in Spain from the investment firm Atitlán for an undisclosed sum; HI Partners acquired the remaining 50.1% stake of Hotel Abama in Tenerife, its first acquisition since being taken over by Blackstone last year; and the Socimi Elaia bought a hotel complex in Menorca for €17.5 million.




In the alternative asset sector, the French group Primonial bought 6 nursing homes in the Community of Valencia from La Saleta Care for €35 million.


The sheer variety in terms of sector, transaction size and geography this month is further evidence that Spain’s real estate sector is booming as we head into the second quarter.


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