RE Broker Aguirre Newman Goes Up For Sale

20 February 2017 – El Confidencial

Spain is experiencing a real estate boom once again and brokers want to take advantage of the situation to make money.

Whilst last year, the private equity fund Cinven acquired Tinsa, the largest appraisal company in the country, and in 2015, Apax Partners took control of Idealista, this year, Santiago Aguirre Gil de Biedma, the brother of Esperanza Aguirre, has decided to put Aguirre Newman, the largest real estate broker in the sector, up for sale.

According to financial sources, Santiago Aguirre has engaged Atlas Capital to sell his majority stake in the consultancy firm. The firm will target both individual and institutional investors, as well as public and private corporations. Aguirre Newman caters for all real estate investment-related matters and offers a complete set of services including valuations, feasibility studies, appraisals, attending compensation boards, leases, property management and technical architectural services.

The company generates annual revenue of around €80 million, with an operating profit of EBITDA of almost €12 million. As such, the financial sources consulted consider that Aguirre Newman could be sold for between €80 million and €100 million. Other sources consider that some of the parties that may be interested in purchasing this real estate broker include the private equity funds Cinven and Apax Partners, which could enlarge the businesses of Tinsa and Idealista, respectively, with this acquisition.

However, the same sources also consider that this could be a good opportunity for some of the main domestic competitors, which would result in a certain degree of concentration in what is a very fragmented sector. In addition to Aguirre Newman, the other large consultancy firms include CBRE, Knight Frank, JLL, BNP Paribas Real Estate, Cushman & Wakefield and Savills. These seven firms account for 90% of the sector’s revenues in Spain and employ 2,200 professionals in total. Almost 400 people work for Santiago Aguirre and his minority shareholder partners.

Low interest rates, the collapse in prices following the crash, the enormous volume of liquidity and the recovery of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in Spain have created a cocktail that has led to investment figures not seen since the era of the bubble. According to a report from JLL, non-residential real estate investment (offices, retail, logistics and hotels) amounted to €8,707 million in 2016. That figure represents a decrease of 8% compared to 2015, when operations worth €9,407 million were closed. Nevertheless, the figure recorded in 2016 was still higher than the maximum recorded in 2006 (€7,800 million).

Golden years

Last year, the most active market in terms of investment volume was the retail premises and shopping centre segment (retail), with €2,977 million, down by 3% compared to 2015. (…). Moreover, Aguirre Newman highlights that this figure exceeded the €2,000 million threshold for the third year in a row, which is clear proof of the boom in the real estate sector, especially in retail, which accounts for 35% of all tertiary investment.

Original story: El Confidencial (by Agustín Marco)

Translation: Carmel Drake

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