Apollo Gets Ready To Buy Property Developers & Hotels In Spain

14 March 2017 – El Confidencial

A new player has emerged in the Spanish real estate market. Apollo, one of the largest fund managers in the word, has decided to join the fray between Värde, Castlelake and Lone Star, and analyse the purchase of its own property developer, according to sources familiar with the entity.

The firm led in Spain by Andrés Rubio is tackling this strategy through its new fund (its third), which already has €2,700 million and which plans to raise up to €4,000 million. This money will be used to acquire real estate assets, NPLs and hotel portfolios in Spain, Italy, UK, Ireland and Germany. Our country could receive around €1,000 million of investment, given that Apollo is expected to continue its commitment to the hotel sector, into which it took a giant leap last December, when it acquired two portfolios from CaixaBank and Popular, and looks set to enter the property development business with a bang.

According to the same sources, one of the companies that is on the fund’s radar is Levitt, which has some of the best plots of land and fame in the sector. Its possible sale has been mooted in the market for a while, given the generational change that the group faces and the appeal of the company, which operates in the high-end segment.

Asentia, Colonial‘s former bad bank is one of the other companies that has been making a name for itself in the market; Acciona Real Estate has also been considering its options, which range from an IPO to the entry of a large fund into its share capital; whilst Procisa, the former property developer behind La Finca, has sold 40% of its offices to Värde and continues to control important developments on plots of land in Madrid (Pozuelo de Alarcón and Brunete), Huelva (Cartaya) and Lleida (Baqueira).

In fact, Apollo was previously involved in negotiations regarding a similar operation to the one that Värde ended up signing with the Cereceda family. But the rapid consolidation that has taken place in the market, with the creation of Aedas by Castlelake, the purchase of Vía Célere by Värde and the imminent debut of Neinor on the stock market, has convinced the fund that a window of opportunity has now opened up in the property development sector.

Apollo plans to invest this new €1,000 million fund over the next three or four years, during which time it wants to become a top-tier player in the property development sector, in line with the moves made by its competitors, and to create its own hotel platform.

In the residential sector, it intends to focus on buildable land, located primarily in Madrid and Barcelona, the two provinces where the incipient recovery is being felt most strongly.

In the tourist segment, in parallel to the strategy to purchase loan portfolios secured by hotel collateral, the fund is actively looking for well-located establishments to create a vacation platform along the coast and on the islands, comprising around 20 assets.

Original story: El Confidencial (by Ruth Ugalde)

Translation: Carmel Drake

416