6 March 2018 – Expansión
Strategy / The manager is asking the shareholders of Azora Europa 1, including Sabadell, Bankia, Abanca, Manuel Jove and the President of Ebro Foods, Antonio Hernández Callejas, to extend the divestment period.
With renowned shareholders, the firm Azora Europa 1 has convened an Extraordinary General Shareholders’ Meeting on 21 March, where it is going to address a change of strategy. The company was created by the heads of Azora in 2005 with the aim of looking for real estate investment opportunities. Two years later, when the real estate bubble burst in Spain, the firm started its journey with investments from Sabadell, Bankia, Kutxabank and Abanca, the businessman Manuel Jove – President of the holding company Inveravante and founder of the real estate company Fadesa –, and the President of the listed company Ebro Foods, Antonio Hernández Callejas.
Azora Europa 1 chose Eastern Europe as its primary investment destination and rental properties as its main asset. Thus, between 2008 and 2015, Azora Europa undertook 10 real estate projects in Poland and another one in the Czech Republic. During that period, Azora’s fund closed its investor period with a total volume of €410 million, of which €140 million corresponded to own funds.
Ten years after its launch, its directors terminated the fund’s journey and requested authorisation from its shareholders to initiate the divestment process. Nevertheless, one year on, the company has taken a step back from that initial plan and is going to ask its investors to postpone its complete liquidation. The fund, which at its height accumulated a dozen properties, two for residential use and the rest for office use in Poland and the Czech Republic, has decided to divest the residential complexes and the Galerías Louvre in Prague, and exclusively hold onto its office portfolio in Poland. The reason given is the high returns offered by those assets, say sources at Azora. It is a portfolio leased almost in its entirety and which includes, amongst others, the headquarters of BNP Paribas Fortis in Krakow and the Harmony Office Centre in Warsaw, whose main tenant is Millennium Bank.
Now, the heads of Azora (the company that also manages the Socimi Hispania) are going to have to obtain approval from their shareholders, on 21 March, to extend the initial divestment period. At the meeting, the subject of a capital reduction will also be addressed, for a maximum amount of €6.16 million.
According to the latest published accounts, Azora Europa 1’s real estate investments were worth €260.7 million as at December 2016, compared with €269.5 million a year earlier. In 2016, the fund recorded revenues of €30.6 million, of which €12.8 million proceeded from the sale of properties (compared with €1.8 million generated from the same concept a year earlier). In that year, Azora Europa 1 recorded losses of €3.73 million, primarily due to provisions recorded for the impairment of tax credits.
Original story: Expansión (by Rocío Ruiz)
Translation: Carmel Drake