Acciona Holds Negotiations With Merlin To Add 850 Homes To Testa

The most important real estate operation in Spain so far this year may take another significant step forward within the next few months. To this end, Acciona is holding talks with Merlin to analyse the possibility of joining forces with the real estate giant by selling the portfolio of rental homes that the group owned by the Entrecanales family holds in its portfolio, including hundreds of properties in the elite Madrilenian neighbourhood of Parque del Conde Orgaz.

Although the conversations are still in the negotiation phase, the two parties have been holding meetings since the Socimi, led by Ismael Clemente, reached an agreement with Metrovacesa to merge their entities into two large investment vehicles: Merlin itself, which has now taken control of the offices, hotels and shopping centres; and its subsidiary Testa, which will focus on rental homes.

Acciona has placed its focus on this second Socimi, given that the new Testa is set to become the largest residential property owner in Spain (…) .

Against the advantage of the two real estate giants, Acciona is able to bring quality to the table, given that it has one of the most sought-after rental home portfolios in Spain. The infrastructure group owns around 850 homes, with occupancy rates of more than 97%, many of which are “high standing” properties located in Conde Orgaz.

In the same upmarket neighbourhood of Madrid, Acciona also used to own 50% of the Arturo Soria Shopping Centre, but it has already agreed to sell that stake to Merlin, a first movement of understanding that comes a year after the Socimi acquired the other 50% from Joaquín Molpeceres.

At that point, Acciona was analysing the option of listing its real estate division on the stock market, but it decided to suspend that operation last spring after José Manuel Entrecanales, Chairman of the group, acknowledged that “our objective is still to deleverage our business by selling our assets or debuting on the stock market. We will wait for a reasonable time or we will pursue a more feasible alternative”. And he may have found that in the form of Testa.

As we have already seen with the merger of Merlin and Metrovacesa, the inclusion of Acciona into the project would turn it into one of Testa’s main shareholders, alongside Merlin and the financial entities Santander, BBVA and Popular, which were the main shareholders of Metrovacesa.

Both the bank chaired by Ana Patricia Botín, as well as the bank led by Francisco González have decided to go one step further and sell more than 5,000 homes to the new residential subsidiary, a move that will allow Testa to increase its portfolio from its current base of 4,900 to 9,000. If Acciona also ends up joining the project, the Socimi will own around 10,000 homes.

The power of Acciona’s real estate subsidiary

Last year, Acciona Inmobiliaria segregated some of its assets into Acciona Real Estate, the subsidiary in which it grouped together all of its assets relating to the development and management of rental properties, whose gross value (GAV) stood at €218.48 million, as well as its stakes in the companies Urbanizadora El Coto, famous for having developed the majority of Conde Orgaz, Torrelugano and Valgrand 6.

The company also owns 16 plots of land and plans to develop 1,146 homes on 14 of them, according to its latest annual accounts, corresponding to 2015. On the others, it is planning to build an office building in Barcelona and extend Hotel Estrella de Mar, which it owns in Marbella and which is operated by the chain Vincci. (…).

Original story: El Confidencial (by Ruth Ugalde)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Original Story:

Translation/Summary: Carmel Drake

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