Aguirre Newman Puts Large High Street Portfolio Up For Sale

21 April 2016 – El Confidencial

Aguirre Newman has decided to put the “For Sale” sign up on one of the largest assets that it owns through its fund, Zaphir. The asset in question is a portfolio of retail outlets spread across Spain, all of which are located on major high streets. Moreover, unlike the operations carried out by the banks and El Corte Inglés, this portfolio has lots of different tenants.

The firm, which has engaged Arcano to lead the process, considers that this multiplicity of clients is an advantage, along with the €32 million of prior year tax losses recorded by the holding company that owns these premises, which mean that the operation carries tax advantages of around €8 million.

Zaphir has already started to show the 32 assets that comprise this operation to a restricted number of interested parties, mainly core investment funds, Socimis and large family offices, on the basis that the estimated sales price amounts to €80 million, according to sources familiar with the process.

Although the portfolio is spread across Spain, almost half of the premises (15) are located in Madrid and they account for 56% of the rental income, together with some first-rate properties, such as number 82 on Calle Serrano, which houses the Trussardi store.

Despite the interest that some of these premises may awaken individually, the operation has been structured as a “share deal”, in other words, the company will be sold in its entirety, which will allow the new owner to avoid paying taxes on the gains generated by these assets, and any others than it already owns, until the prior year tax losses have been offset.

The average yield of the portfolio is estimated to amount to 4-4.5%, whilst its historical occupancy rate stands at 90%, with clients ranging from retail giants such as Zara Home, Vips, Trussardi, Cortefiel and Punt Roma, to pound shops and newsagents.

The sales process

Aguirre Newman’s decision to sell this portfolio forms part of its divestment plans for the Zaphir fund, which just two months ago completed the transfer of its logistics assets to Neinver and Colony for €87 million.

But, this divestment also comes at a particularly sweet time for the sector, given that interest in investing in profitable real estate assets is at its peak, due to the environment of zero and negative interest rates and the recovery of the Spanish economy.

In fact, last year, according to several studies, almost €1,200 million was spent on transactions in the retail sector, and some establishments in prime areas were sold with yields of around 3%.

This year it is expected that operations involving this kind of asset will multiply, both on the high streets of major capitals, as well as in secondary cities. These operations are beginning to address the recovery in consumption and the growing interest for a presence in our country, from both major fashion firms (Inditex, Primark, H&M and Uniqlo) as well as from players in the restaurant world (the hamburger chain Five Guys has arrived in Spain, opening its first property in Madrid).

The calendar communicated to potential buyers allows for the presentation of non-binding offers within the next two weeks, with the aim of closing the operation before the summer. Aguirre Newman and Arcano both declined to comment on the operation.

Original story: El Confidencial (by Ruth Ugalde)

Translation: Carmel Drake

118