Socimis Fear Rise Of Left-Wing Coalition, Unidos Podemos

26 May 2016 – El Economista

Since 9 May 2016, when the political leaders of Podemos, Pablo Iglesias (pictured above, right), and Izquierda Unida, Alberto Garzón (pictured above, left), announced their intention to stand together in the upcoming General Election on 26 June, the possibilities of them beating the Socialist Party and, even, forming a Government, have increased considerably (the D’Hondt electoral law penalises minority groups).

The fact that Unidos Podemos has become a real option, according to the latest polls, is being felt on the stock exchange in sectors such as real estate. The Socimis have seen an average decrease in their share prices of 1.5% since 10 May, which represents a difference of 3.6 percentage points with respect to the Ibex 35, which has risen by 1.6% during the same period.

In its election manifesto, the purple party – which now has the support of IU – proposes reforming the tax regime for Socimis (as well as for the Sicavs). The real estate vehicles are currently exempt from paying Corporation Tax, provided they fulfil certain requirements, such as distributing 80% of their net profits as dividends.

“What it (the regime) does is raise the taxation (liability) up to the shareholders. They bear the taxation through their remuneration in the form of capital income (provided their share stakes exceed 5%), says Ana Hernández, an expert in Socimis.

Merlin Properties, the largest Socimi in the market, with a market capitalisation of €3,100 million (more than twice the size of the second largest firm, Hispania), is suffering more than most from the downward trend. Within the last month, short positions of the company’s shares have almost tripled, from representing 0.4% to 1.15% on 13 May, according to data prepared by the CNMV. Meanwhile, its share value had decreased by 20% since the last General Election was held on 20 December, more than double the 8% drop that the Ibex 35 has seen during the same period.

Concern amongst investors

“There is noise (in the market)”, acknowledged sources in the sector, although “maybe it is excessive”. (…).

“Spain is an attractive country for real estate investment” said Jesús Amador, analyst at Bankinter, who recognises, nevertheless, that the latest “initiatives” motivated by Town Halls close to Podemos “may influence” the investments made by the Public Administration, following “the cuts to investment for Operación Chamartín, the controversy with Plaza de España and the problems in Barcelona”. (…).

The left-wing coalition proposes a minimum tax rate for Companies of 15%, which, in the absence of more data, would also become the future tax rate for the Socimis. “If they make the work more complicated”, said the President of one Spanish firm, “they will kill many of them off”.

Original story: El Economista (by Laura de la Quintana)

Translation: Carmel Drake

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