9 June 2015 – Expansión
Strategy / The construction company cleans up its balance sheet with this transaction and improves its financial position, with a view to growing its international construction and concessions businesses.
Yesterday, Sacyr agreed the sale of its property subsidiary, Testa, to the Socimi Merlin Properties for €1,793 million. The group chaired by Manuel Manrique (pictured above right), which has been advised by the bank Lazard, has opted for Merlin’s proposal after rejecting the bids made by other investors such as the US fund Blackstone and the real estate company Colonial.
The agreement forms part of an “accordion operation”, in which Testa will simultaneously make a contribution to its shareholders of €1,196 million, through an ordinary dividend of €527 million and a reduction in share capital of €669 million. Through this transaction, Sacyr and Testa will normalise their balance sheets.
The sale comes just two days before Sacyr’s AGM, to be held on Thursday, where the Chairman of the group, Manuel Manrique, will reveal the foundations of the new industrial plan based on international construction and the development of concessions.
The largest Socimi
Merlin is the largest Socimi (listed real estate asset investment company) on the Spanish stock exchange, with a market capitalisation of €2,208 million and a portfolio of assets worth €2,594 million. The company debuted on the stock exchange on 30 June last year with €1,250 million of share capital from investors such as UBS, Marketfield and Gruss Capital.
Merlin, the real estate company controlled and chaired by Ismael Clemente (pictured above left), wanted to expand its assets with the purchase of a significant stake in a company in the RE sector and set its sights on Testa a while ago. Sacyr’s subsidiary closed yesterday with a market capitalisation of €2,906 million.
Sacyr holds a 99.93% stake in Testa; the remaining shares are listed on the stock exchange. The company has been looking for a partner for several months, to inject capital into its subsidiary. The search for an ally led Sacyr to consider an IPO of Testa’s shares aimed at institutional investors in order to strengthen its subsidiary’s balance sheet. The initial objective was to place 30% of the shares, but the construction company increased the option to 100%, once it had assessed the appetite of investors.
Merlin has more than enough financial muscle to handle this operation. In April, the company announced a capital increase amounting to €613.7 million. The real estate company, which earned €19.2 million during the first three months of 2015, has already invested the €1,250 million it secured from its debut on the stock exchange.
Testa owns real estate assets valued at €3,180 million, according to the most recent appraisal completed on 31 December 2014. Its properties include the Torre Sacyr, in the Cuatro Torres Business Area in Madrid, and Diagonal, 605 in Barcelona. It also owns two office buildings on Paseo de la Castellana, at numbers 193 and 83, where the construction group has its headquarters. Furthermore, it is the owner of several shopping centres in Malaga and on the Balearic Islands, and also owns residential blocks for rent. In 2014, Testa recorded turnover of €187.9 million.
Original story: Expansión (by R. Ruiz and C. Morán)
Translation: Carmel Drake