alternative Assets News: Spanish Real Estate Intelligence

El Corte Inglés Plans to Open 1,000 Gas Station Stores in Conjunction with Repsol

15 October 2018 - Real Estate Press

There are almost 11,500 gas stations in Spain, of which more than 8,500 have shops. El Corte Inglés was one of the first groups to operate in conjunction with oil companies and that group is now planning to open 1,000 new gas station stores together with Repsol.

Gas station stores typically have a wide range of opening hours, span an extensive network and are easy to stop at to make quick purchases. It was only a matter of time before distribution groups decided to team up with oil companies to manage their service station stores. Now the time has come for those formats to flourish.

The formula allows supermarket chains to grow rapidly without having to recruit staff or undertake significant investments. Meanwhile, the petrol companies benefit from offering more attractive service stations, with a more extensive range of products and a lower cost base by entrusting the management of their stores to specialists with a volume of purchases that generates significant savings.

Sales at gas station stores amounted to €580 million in 2017, although the potential of this format is much greater.

Forecast growth

El Corte Inglés was one of the first groups to operate agreements with petrol companies. Initially, it constituted the company Gespevesa together with Repsol in 1998, which they control (50%) and which owns 39 service stations. Last year, that entity recorded revenues of €39.2 million, down by 26% and earned profits of €3.8 million, up by 28%. Next, it joined forces with Cepsa to develop a refuelling discount strategy. And, now, it has committed to a major agreement with Repsol to create “the largest network of convenience stores in Spain” under the brand Supercor Stop & Go.

Carrefour has also changed its petrol partner over the years: it started working on this type of alliance with BP, but in 2013, it opted to join Cepsa to grow a new format, Carrefour Express Cepsa, which currently comprises 333 stores. One fact serves to explain the importance of this agreement for the French group, namely, that it is the format with the most stores in around twenty Spanish provinces, including Asturias, Murcia, the Balearic Islands, Castellón, Lleida, Toledo, Valladolid and Zaragoza, amongst others.

Día is the other group that has heavily backed the format, with the launch of a pilot project together with BP in four of its gas stations in Madrid under the Shop brand. Previously, in 2015, Dia signed an agreement in collaboration with Disa (Shell) to supply the counters in five of its stores. BP has also worked with other partners. Between 2013 and 2016, Alcampo supplied products, including its own brand range, to stores in its gas stations. Moreover, BP has operated some regional alliances for years with other smaller supermarket chains to generate benefits through their loyalty cards (…).

Finally, Galp, the fifth largest petrol company in Spain, has not been averse to these agreements either; it has worked with GM Food, the former Miquel Group. Their partnership began in 2013, with 12 pilot stores operating under the Sar brand; it continued the alliance once that project had finished, with the Catalan group as the supplier of its stores; and now, the two firms have started another trial in eight locations under the format Suma Exprés.

Original story: Real Estate Press

Translation: Carmel Drake

Several Investment Funds Interested in Buying the Torre Sevilla Complex
4 October 2018 CaixaBank has invested 320 million euros in the skyscraper, the commercial centre, the CaixaForum and the Fernando de Magallanes park. Several international investment funds have signalled interest in a possible acquisition of the Torre Sevilla, a commercial, office and cultural complex in which CaixaBank has invested 320 million euros through the company Puerto Triana. The funds have sounded out the bank ", but no sales process is underway," sources at CaixaBank stated. “CaixaBank sees the Torre Sevilla as the crown jewel of the south of Spain, and it is true that it is not a strategic asset for the bank. However, now the whole building is now in the launching phase and still has a long way to go,” the same source noted, stating that no defined sales plan exists for the complex. The company expects to increase the complex’s profitability in the coming years, after a process of consolidation and an increase in rents. Although there are no plans for a sale, the success of the project has attracted the attention of potential buyers. "The truth is that some investment funds are interested… in such a unique project, but… the sales process has not begun." Antonio Cayuela, the sole administrator of Puerto Triana, the owner of Torre Sevilla, as well as president of BuildingCenter, CaixaBank’s real estate company, already told ABC last July that "right now there are no plans to sell, which does not mean that we won’t do it in the future. What we have done is make it valuable for Sevilla and complete the commitment we had with the city.” "The truth is that our main and only mission during this time has been to start the project. We have not had much time to think about other things. It is true that we have had other shopping centres that we have sold, finished or unfinished, which came to us due to bad loans," Mr Cayuela said. For its part, on the same day as the inauguration of the Torre Sevilla shopping centre on September 26, Rafael Herrador, the regional director for CaixaBank in western Andalusia, recalled that "in the middle of the economic crisis, CaixaBank invested 320 million euros in this project. CaixaBank decided that it was an important challenge and that we had to deliver on our commitment to Sevilla. The only solution we saw was to finalise the project and generate value for Sevilla." Mr Herrador said that their expectations for the shopping centre "have not only been met but have been overcome. With the opening of the shopping centre to the public, the development of the Torre Sevilla complex has concluded.” The Torre Sevilla shopping centre has received more than 350,000 visits since it opened a week ago. Only the first day, the shopping mall received 61,000 visits, with queues forming at the first Primark store in Sevilla, persisting to this date. It has been the best inauguration for the low-cost Irish fashion house apart from those in Madrid and Barcelona. The shopping centre expects to receive 8 million visits every year. For the time being, the inauguration has led to the creation of 1,600 jobs, 250 of them at Primark. For its part, CaixaForum, which is a lessee at the Torre Sevilla, has received more than 300,000 visits since its opening. Moreover, the office tower has also already rented its 37 floors. The skyscraper has 50,000 of the gross leasable area. When the bank began to market it, Spain was just beginning to emerge from the economic crisis, and many buildings on the Cartuja island were empty. CaixaBank set a very attractive rental price and managed to fill the skyscraper: 15 euros per square meter per month, without condominium fees. 1,500 people now work in the tower, although it has the capacity for 1,800. Hotusa’s five-star hotel Eurostars Torre Sevilla occupies floors 19 to 37 of the skyscraper. The other floors of the skyscraper are leased by top-level companies, such as Ayesa, Active Business & Technology, a Microsoft partner; Aenor; the technology consultancy Chakray; the Optima software company; Orange; Everis; Deloitte and the Seville Chamber of Commerce, among others. Original Story: abcdesevilla Translation: Richard Turner
BP Acquires 65 Gas Stations in Spain from Avenue Capital and JZ International
2 October 2018 The British oil company has reached an agreement to take over 100% of Kingbook Inversiones Socimi and Petrocorner Retail, the owner and manager of gas stations in 21 provinces of Spain. The oil company BP has reached an agreement with the venture capital funds Avenue Capital and JZ International for the acquisition of the Kingbook socimi and Petrocorner Retail, a company that owns and operates 65 gas stations spread across 21 provinces in Spain. The operation has already been finalised, pending the corresponding regulatory approvals, as confirmed by official sources at BP. Kingbook Inversiones, 60% owned by GL Europe REIT (Avenue), with the remaining 40% held by JZ Real Estate (JZI), both vehicles domiciled in the Cayman Islands, was delisted from the Alternative Stock Market (MAB) on July 20, just one year after its debut. Kingbook had already warned in June that it was conducting "very advanced" negotiations for the sale of 100% of the company. The firm had been building its portfolio since 2014. Another source close to the operation said that DISA (Shell in the Peninsula), the Canary Islands oil company chaired by Demetrio Carceller (Damm), also considered acquiring the asset. The service stations that will become the property of the company formerly known as British Petroleum are distributed between the north, the centre and the southeast of Spain. Specifically, the oil company chaired by Luis Aires in Spain will increase its presence in Asturias, Cantabria, Vizcaya, Guipúzcoa, Navarra, León, Burgos, Zamora, Valladolid, Ávila, Madrid, Valencia, Albacete, Alicante, Murcia, Jaén, Huelva, Málaga, Granada, Almería and the Balearic Islands. BP is thus consolidating its position as the third largest fuel distributor in Spain, behind Repsol and Cepsa and ahead of Galp and Shell. With this agreement, BP will control around 700 service stations in Spain. In 2017, the company stated, within its expansion strategy, that it owned 648 total stations. Until now, these gas stations were operated by Petrocorner, which has also acquired BP. According to Petrocorner’s website, the service stations are branded by Repsol, Cepsa, BP, Shell, Galp, Avia, while some are independent. According to the latest accounts sent to the Mercantile Registry, Kingbook lost more than €1.5 million in 2017, compared to a loss of €1,733,446 in 2016. Although the price of the transaction was not disclosed, the statement company submitted to MAB said that its assets were valued, according to the consultancy CBRE, at approximately 70 million euros (€40 million book value). Avenue Capital has participated in several important operations in Spain. The US fund gave financial support to Quabit and is participating in the purchase of debt from Banco Santander’s Ciudad Financeira. In June, the fund acquired tile company Roig Cerámica (Rocersa). Original Story: El Confidencial - Juan Cruz Peña Photo: Reuters Translation: Richard Turner