British Real Estate Firms May be Forced to Sell their Shopping Centres in Spain

16 June 2019 – Expansión

Two of the largest British real estate companies with interests in Spain are considering selling off some or all of their assets on the Iberian peninsula in light of the challenging climate in the retail sector at home.

The bankruptcy and restructuring of several high-street stores – including the department store group Debenhams and the owner of Top Shop, Arcadia – are leaving many premises in the UK empty. As such, questions are being asked about the debt on the balance sheets of the landlords of those properties, causing a rethink in their overseas strategies.

In this context, Intu Properties and Hammerson have both launched asset sales plans in an attempt to raise GBP 600 million and €500 million, respectively. In Spain, Intu owns 50% of Xanadú (Madrid), Puerto Venecia (Zaragoza) and Parque Principado (Asturias), and is also building a new complex in Málaga. It would likely sell its stakes to its existing partners – TH Real Estate in the case of Xanadú and CPPIB in the case of Puerto Venecia and Parque Principado – although it is also holding conversations with third parties in order to maximise the price of any potential sales.

Meanwhile, Hammerson, which specialises in outlet stores, is considering selling some of its shares in the Las Rozas Village (Madrid) and La Roca Village (Barcelona). It owns direct stakes in both of those complexes, as well as a 25% in Value Retail, a company that holds stakes in 9 outlets across Europe, including Las Rozas and La Roca. In total, Hammerson owns 41% of La Roca and 38% of Las Rozas.

Nevertheless, in parallel, Hammerson is looking to increase its stake in Vía Outlets from 47% to 50%. Vía Outlets is another outlet group, worth GBP 400 million, which owns 11 centres across Europe with 2 in Spain, specifically, in Mallorca and Sevilla.

Original story: Expansión (by Roberto Casado)

Translation/Summary: Carmel Drake

357