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residential Market News: Spanish Real Estate Intelligence

Blackstone Will Pay Merlin, Santander & BBVA €948M for 50.01% of Testa

18 September 2018 - Cinco Días

Another major movement in the real estate sector and with the same star as the buyer: the US giant Blackstone. After acquiring the Socimi Hispania, which specialises in hotels, the fund has now set its sights on Testa, the largest owner of rental housing in Spain.

Blackstone has already agreed to purchase 50.01% of the Socimi (...) from three of Testa’s largest shareholders (Merlin Properties, Santander and BBVA), according to a statement filed by the real estate company with the Alternative Investment Market (MAB) on Monday. Nevertheless, Acciona, the other major shareholder, has not sold its stake. The US fund manager is carrying out the operation through the company Tropic Real Estate Holding and is paying €948 million, whereby valuing Testa at €1.895 billion.

Blackstone is paying €14.327 per share. The company's closing price at the end of trading on Friday was €14, representing a premium of just over 2%.

Blackstone is keeping the offer open for the other shareholders. In fact, the document sent to the exchange by Testa explains that the bidder “has committed to buying all of the remaining shares in the company” under the same conditions.

Testa’s shareholders regard this operation as an exit following their failure to launch a major IPO in June, when the political uncertainty, above all surrounding Italy, caused a surge in the markets. The intention of Merlin, Santander and BBVA (and to a lesser extent Acciona, which wanted to remain as an industrial partner) was to divest their stakes with that great stock market debut. Now they have found an escape route with Blackstone as the buyer.

Merlin also reported on Monday that with this operation, it will raise €321.2 million in exchange for its 16.95% stake in Testa. The funds obtained by Merlin will be used to reduce its debt in line with the objectives set out in the company’s business plan.

BBVA, which owned 25.24% of Testa has also sold all of its shares. Meanwhile, Santander sold just 7.82% of the 36.87% that it held in Testa, which made possible the operation that has given Blackstone control over the entity.

The new Testa Residencial is a listed real estate investment company promoted in 2016 by the banks and Merlin. The latter company had been left with homes following its purchase of the former Testa from Sacyr in 2015; meanwhile, Santander and BBVA contributed rental homes from the property developer Metrovacesa. Finally, last year, Acciona incorporated more than 1,000 homes, worth €340 million, to close the current alliance between the four shareholders.

Testa is currently the market leader in the residential rental sector in Spain. It has a portfolio of 10,615 units, worth €2.675 billion, mainly private housing, with annualised gross rental income of €85 million and an occupancy rate of 91.4%.

Original story: Cinco Días 

Translation: Carmel Drake

 
Caledonian Buys 10,000 m2 of Land in Central Madrid For Residential Development

14 September 2018 - Eje Prime

Caledonian has increased its land portfolio in Madrid, but this time it has done so in the centre of the Spanish capital. The property developer has purchased a plot spanning 10,000 m2 in the Chamartín district of the city centre. The company plans to construct a residential development on the site, which it will add to the two that it already owns in the municipality of Pozuelo de Alarcón.

The objective of the construction company is to convert an industrial plot into a residential one. On the site, located on Calle Javier Ferrero, the company is planning to build different types of apartments with between one and four bedrooms.

Like on other occasions, Caledonian is going to collaborate this time with the architecture studio MK27, led by the Brazilian Marcio Kogan, to carry out the design of the urbanisation. The development will also have common areas with a gym and indoor and outdoor swimming pools.

The company, founded in 1998 by Enrique López Granados, plans to start work on the construction of the homes at the beginning of 2019. The project managers confirm that the construction work will take approximately one year.

Caledonian’s turnover in 2017 amounted to €25 million. The firm focuses its activity on the north-west of Madrid with projects that include several residential developments containing more than thirty homes.

Original story: Eje Prime

Translation: Carmel Drake

 
The Countdown Begins to Energy Efficient Social Housing

14 September 2018 - El Mundo

The revised Technical Building Code (CTE) is going to be published soon in Spain, in line with similar developments in other European countries. In addition to standardising a new way of building, the revised code is going to incorporate the definition of nearly zero energy buildings (EECNs), which will introduce much more demanding parameters than are currently in place.

Private property developers know that from 31 December 2020 onwards, all of the new properties that they build will have to comply with those guidelines. They are demands that come from Europe and that also affect new buildings that are occupied and publicly owned, including social housing. Those buildings must comply with the energy requirements from 31 December of this year.

But, are the Public Administrations prepared? According to Inés Leal, Director of the Nearly Zero Energy Building Congress, “the large cities are better equipped to handle the implementation of nearly zero energy buildings than the smaller towns, which may find it harder to achieve the objectives”.

Although there are not many constructed EECN public housing projects, the buildings certified under the Passivhaus standard have become the closest example of nearly zero energy buildings.

Adelina Uriarte, President of the Passivhaus Building Platform (PEP), believes that the different administrations have the capacity to adapt to the guidelines of European legislation in this regard. What’s more, she adds that “those with the greatest predisposition have already done so ahead of the established deadline”.

One of them is the Town Hall of Madrid, which wanted to set the example and anticipate the 2019 deadline. Thus, at the Municipal Plenary on 25 May 2016, an agreement was unanimously adopted which assumes that all new buildings that are planned, and even those that are already standing that have to undergo an extension or a comprehensive renovation, must be positive from an energy perspective (…).

Financing and costs

In terms of financing, the experiences involving public housing already undertaken in Spain are demonstrating that EECNs are economically viable. In fact, according to Germán Velázquez, Partner at VArquitectos, a public building can be made nearly zero energy efficient with the same budget. And he justifies it: “The current legislation demands several issues that no longer represent an extra cost for developing ECCNs; the key is in the drafting of a good set of plans to ensure that the euro ratios per square metre are equivalent to those of a conventional building”. In his experience, the average cost per square metre amounts to around €650/750 in a conventional public building compared with €700/800 that it costs to construct a public EECN (…).

Original story: El Mundo (by Juanjo Bueno)

Translation: Carmel Drake