Blackstone Negotiates Sale of the Ilunion Portfolio with Zurich for c. €100M

13 November 2018 – Cinco Días

The real estate giant Blackstone is pushing ahead with several divestments from its recently acquired Socimi Hispania. The US fund is negotiating with the insurance company Zurich regarding the sale of a portfolio of office buildings, which are occupied by Ilunion as a tenant, according to confirmation from sources in the real estate sector. The price of the operation will exceed €100 million.

Blackstone acquired Hispania through a takeover launched in the spring, which valued the Socimi at almost €2 billion. The US fund completed the operation because it was primarily interested in the company’s hotel assets, given that it owned 13,100 rooms across 46 hotels, the largest owner in the country in that segment. The US giant wants to create a hotel platform in Spain and, in fact, has already ceded the management of those establishments to its company HI Partners, the manager of other hotels purchased from Sabadell.

In total, Hispania’s portfolio has a gross asset value (GAV) of €2.811 billion. The most residual part, Hispania’s housing, is already being managed by another company owned by the fund, Fidere. And for the office component, the strategy is to divest the assets.

When Blackstone acquired Hispania, it broke off an agreement that the Socimi had with the British fund Tristan Capital Partners to divest the entire office portfolio for more than €500 million. That was the second time that the sale had been thwarted, previously Swiss Life was the buyer, in that case at the end of the summer in 2017, when the uncertainty surrounding the Catalan sovereignty process meant that the conditions of the insurance company were more demanding.

By contrast, the strategy now is to put this portfolio up for sale in a piecemeal fashion. The most advanced process relates to four properties in Madrid, which are all occupied by Ilunion, the holding company of the ONCE, as the tenant.

The largest property is the Torre 30 Building, appraised at €50 million at the end of 2017. Located next to the M-30 by the junction with the A-2, it was constructed in 1968, renovated in 2006 and has a surface area of 11,417 m2.

The sale also includes the Mizar Building, a property next to Torre 30, where in addition to Ilunion, Eysa and Paramount also have their headquarters, according to Hispania’s public documents, and which is worth €27.4 million. They are joined by the Pechuán building in Plaza Sagrado Corazón de Jesús next to Príncipe de Vergara, worth €19 million. Finally, the portfolio contains a property on Calle Comandante Azcárraga in the Pio XII area, worth €10.1 million.

Those four buildings had a combined appraisal value of €106.5 million as at 31 December 2017. Their current value is unknown but it is expected to be higher given that in May, Hispania revalued its assets upwards by 5.7% on average.

The rest of the office portfolio is not officially up for sale, but given that they are not strategic assets for Blackstone, the expectation is that it will receive offers for them, as a group or in different sub-portfolios.

Original story: Cinco Días (by Alfonso Simón Ruiz)

Translation: Carmel Drake

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