Banco Sabadell Launches Fund To Invest In Parking Lots

29 April 2016 – Expansión

Banco Sabadell is exploring new ways of diversifying the investments of its private banking clients in the current low interest environment. The financial entity has just created a private equity fund called Parking Rotation Capital FCR, a vehicle through which it will invest in the purchase of short-stay car parks in Spain and Portugal.

The fund, which has already been registered in the CNMV, will be managed by Sabadell Inversión and is starting life with a committed capital of more than €31 million. This figure has been contributed by the clients of Sabadell Urquijo Banca Privada and by pension funds, says Cirus Andreu, Director of Investments, Products and Analysis at Banco Sabadell.

“We are launching this fund in order to offer better returns to our private banking and institutional clients”, says Andreu. The objective is to reach yields equivalent to those generated by other private equity investments, rather than those currently being generated by fixed income.”We expect to see very low interest rates until 2018, which means that we need to diversify portfolios and invest in liquid positions, with maturity horizons of seven to nine years”, explained the Executive of Sabadell, who hopes to achieve yields of more than 8% through this new vehicle.

The idea is that Parking Rotation Capital FCR will co-invest in the car park sector with two other Spanish funds so as to be in a position to invest in larger operations. Thus, Sabadell has joined forces with the financial services firm Altamar Capital Partners, founded by Claudio Aguirre, and with Firmium Capital, a new investment company, which has created a division specialising in car parks with funds raised from high net worth individuals and institutional investors.

Sabadell, Altamar and Firmium expect to spend €150 million on the acquisition of short-term car parks that are already operating and that have extensive future operational time horizons. They are looking for urban car parks that generate cash flows and recurrent yields.

According to Cirus Andreu, the car park ownership market in Spain is very fragmented, which means there is a great opportunity for a specialist fund to lead the concentration of the sector. During the first phase, it will optimise the commercial and operational management of the parking lots and, over the medium term, it will group together assets into different portfolios for their subsequent sale to wealthy investors.

Experience

Firmum’s partners include the son of Juan Abelló, Cristian Abelló Gamazo – who was a Director at Saba, the leading company in the sector -, Bernardino Díaz-Andreu, who has spent his professional career at Torreal – owner of 20% of Saba -; Estanis Jasinski, who comes from UBS; and Fernando Pire Abarca, who led the car park division at the Isolux Corsan group. The partners of Firmum have been involved in the purchase of 34,000 parking spaces in total.

Meanwhile, in September 2015, Altamar Capital Partners launched Altamar Infraestructure Income FCR, a fund that expects to raise €400 million to invest in infrastructures and “real assets” to combat the volatility of other financial assets and circumvent the low interest rates.

Original story: Expansión (by Sergi Saborit)

Translation: Carmel Drake

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