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offices Market News: Spanish Real Estate Intelligence

Residential Assets Displace Offices as the Leading Investment Choice for New Socimis

23 August 2018 - El Confidencial

The configuration of the investment map of the Socimis on the Alternative Investment Market (MAB) has changed drastically following the recent incorporation of the company owned by Santander, BBVA, Acciona and Merlin Properties. With a portfolio comprising 10,700 homes, Testa has placed the residential segment in first position on the investment ranking of new listed companies, relegating the office sector to third place.

In this way, of the 14 new joiners to the MAB so far this year, 30.8% have housing as the main or significant target of their investments, compared with 12.8% of the 20 new companies that made their MAB debuts in 2017. With this boost, offices, which had led the ranking until now, have been relegated to third place with 15%.

The weight of retail premises is also striking since they have increased from 6% to 23%, according to data from Armabex. Beyond specialisation, registered advisors also highlight the leading role of international investors, which account for 43% of the new listed companies.

“The rate of new joiners is expected to continue and this year, we are going to comfortably exceed the total figures recorded last year (44 companies), to more than 70”, said the President of Armabex, Antonio Fernández. Currently, there are 59 Socimis trading on the MAB, which account for 60% of the one hundred or so companies that participate in the Alternative Investment Market.

In terms of the upcoming debuts, the Socimi from Bankinter specialising in the hotel sector, Atom Hoteles, is planning its launch. Other examples include Haya Real Estate, Vía Célere and Azora, whose plans to debut on the stock market have been delayed due to the instability in the international financial markets, the political uncertainty in Spain and the evolution of the businesses themselves. The most recent to debut, at the beginning of August, was Mistral Patrimonio, whose activity focuses on rental homes.

“These companies have evolved towards greater specialisation. They started leading tertiary assets to move towards housing and, now, they are opening up to other segments such as hotels, residences, healthcare complexes, gas stations, etc.”, says Fernando Vives, Technical Director at Alia Tasaciones.

An annual valuation

To ensure transparency, the regulations require that these investment vehicles are listed on a regulated European market, be it the main stock market, the Euronext or the Alternative Investment Market, in a maximum period of two years following their constitution.

Nevertheless, the stock market listing is not the only method of transparency. The MAB has just introduced a new requirement that obliges companies to issue more reports. They will be obliged to undertake an annual valuation of their assets, beyond the initial assessment. (…). “The measure obliges Socimis to provide more information and to incur expenses, but it is very positive at the macroeconomic level and for investors”, says Antonio Fernández (…).

“The Socimis have brought confidence back to the real estate sector after the real estate bubble burst. They are here to stay, taking advantage of the upwards cycle and they will continue to activate the real estate market, above all for tertiary use until at least the end of the cycle (...)”, says Vives.

Original story: El Confidencial (by E. H.)

Translation: Carmel Drake

 
Centerbridge & Blackstone Join Forces to Bid for Santander's Ciudad Financiera

13 September 2018 - Expansión

A consortium led by the US funds Blackstone and Centerbridge is emerging as the main favourite to buy Banco Santander’s headquarters in Boadilla del Monte (Madrid), in one of the largest real estate operations of the year in Spain, which is set to exceed €3 billion.

The court that is overseeing the creditors’ bankruptcy of Marme Inversiones, the company that has owned the so-called Ciudad Financiera Santander since 2008, has asked the parties interested in purchasing this asset to submit their binding offers by Monday 17 September at the latest. The objective of the bankruptcy administrator is to use the funds raised to repay Marme’s debt in full.

According to market sources, the funds GSO (a subsidiary of Blackstone specialising in restructured debt) and Centerbridge are preparing a joint offer that could amount to €3.1 billion. These investors are negotiating to finance their proposal with a loan that could be led by Deutsche Bank.

Second attempt

Both GSO and Centerbridge are now creditors of Marme, given that they purchased some of the debt from the banks that loaned money to the company back in the day. Their bid could be pitted against others from creditor funds such as Avenue Capital, according to sources close to the process.

During the creditors’ bankruptcy, which began in 2014, GSO and Centerbridge already tried to take control of the company, with a proposal to buy Marme’s share capital and retain the current debt. It was a similar strategy to the one pursued for several years by Aabar (an Abu Dhabi fund) together with the British-Iranian investor Robert Tchenguiz, after buying some of the debt granted to Marme by the bank RBS.

But the administrator has decided to conduct a formal auction so that the interested parties can bid together for the Ciudad Financiera and whereby allow all of the liabilities to be repaid. The creditors believe that offers above €3 billion will be necessary to recover all of the principal and interest.

Just as Blackstone and Centerbridge seem willing to formalise an offer in compliance with the conditions established by the judge, it is not clear whether Aabar is going to participate in the auction. In recent months, the fund has been caught up in a legal dispute with Tchenguiz regarding their joint investment in the company that currently owns the Boadilla campus.

The Kuwaiti fund AGC Equity Partners is also analysing the possibility of submitting an offer for the Ciudad Financiera. Almost two years ago, that firm submitted an offer for €2.7 billion to acquire the headquarters of the Spanish bank, but it did not get the go-ahead because the creditors’ bankruptcy was in an incipient phase and because Santander threatened to exercise its right of first refusal to buy back its offices.

Long-term rental

The investors Glenn Maud and Derek Quinlan, who already owned the Citi skyscraper in London, purchased the headquarters of the Spanish bank in 2008 for €1.9 billion, for which they used a loan from a group of banks led by RBS. Shortly after the acquisition, problems started with meeting the conditions of the loan, which ultimately led to the creditors’ bankruptcy of Marme Inversores, one of the instrumental companies created by Maud and Quinlan to carry out the transaction (…).

The main appeal of the Ciudad Financiera is the fact that the bank chaired by Ana Botín has committed to remain as the tenant for 40 years, until 2048. On that date, the Spanish entity may negotiate an extension to the lease contract or repurchase the property.

Three options

Once the offers have been presented next Monday before the Mercantile Court number 9 of Madrid, which is leading the bankruptcy, three possible alternatives may ensue.

If there are several attractive bids, the judge may open a process to competitively improve the prices proposed. If there is only one offer, of an appropriate value to pay the creditors, then it may be accepted immediately (…).

The last possibility is that the offers do not reach the estimated valuation. In that case, the judge may change the strategy and allow the piecemeal sale or liquidation of the different liabilities of Marme Inversiones (…).

Original story: Expansión (by Roberto Casado)

Translation: Carmel Drake

 
Brickstock Buys the Torres de Hércules in Cádiz

11 September 2018 - Eje Prime

Brickstock is acquiring real estate assets. The Socimi has completed the purchase of Las Torres de Hércules in Cádiz, in an operation whose amount has not been revealed. The building is located in the Las Marismas de Palmones complex, in the town of Los Barrios, Cádiz.

Las Torres de Hércules in Cádiz are two 20-storey buildings, each with a surface area of 1,000 m2. The properties are mainly home to offices, with 148 separate spaces with a surface area of 122 m2 each. Currently, some of them are leased to companies such as the Danish shopping firm Maersk. The construction cost of the building, completed in 2009, amounted to €40 million.

The Spanish Socimi, Brickstock, which is awaiting its imminent stock market debut, has acted in the framework of its real estate investment plan in Spain. The company already owns a significant portfolio of properties located all over the country.

Original story: Eje Prime 

Translation: Carmel Drake