Overseas Funds On The Hunt For Holiday Hotels

26 March 2015 – Expansión

Socimis (‘socidedades cotizadas de inversión inmobiliaria’ or listed real estate investment trusts) and the appetite of overseas investment funds are driving the professionalization of the hotel sector in Spain, to separate the ownership of properties from the management of establishments, in line with the Anglo-Saxon model.

That is one of the conclusions to come out of a conference held in Madrid yesterday about the evolution of the hotel sector over the last decade. The conference was organised by Magma Hospitality Consulting and the Intercontinental Hotels Group (IHG), the largest hotel group in the world by size.

Liquidity

“Socimis are an essential tool that Spain has needed for a long time, to provide liquidity to a portfolio of assets, respond to generational renewal and professionalize management”, said Luis Migual Martín, Investment Director at Azora.

This company launched a Socimi (Hispania), which formed an alliance with Barceló at the start of the year to create the first listed investment vehicle specialising in the hotel sector (Bay Hotels), which has assets of more than €420 million.

For his part, Alejandro Hernández Puértolas, CEO at HI Partners, the hotel fund driven by SolviaBanco Sabadell’s real estate arm – added that “the Socimis could bring together assets in Spain amounting to €8,000 million”. In the USA, the REITS – equivalent to Socimis – that specialise in the hotel sector have (assets under management amounting) to more than €70,000 million.

Nevertheless, there is still room for improvement. For Martín “there needs to be a change to the current legislation to reflect the management model, which now falls outside of (the scope of) the Socimis”. Arturo Díaz, CEO of Business Development at Renta Corporación, added that “other instruments will be created besides the Socimis”.

In the case of international funds, the focus has shifted from the city to the beach. “Institutional investors are starting to get involved into the vacation segment. The main difficulty is obtaining a portfolio of assets, but the appetite is there”, said Díaz, who called for restraint when it comes to changing the use of office buildings and homes into hotels.

Original story: Expansión (by Y. Blanco)

Translation: Carmel Drake

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