Carlos Slim Puts The Brakes On FCC’s Sale Of Realia

3 February 2015 – Expansión

The new controlling shareholder of the construction company FCC is evaluating his legal options for taking ownership of the listed real estate company, for which Hispania launched a takeover bid in November.

The emergence of the Mexican tycoon Carlos Slim as a new significant shareholder in the capital of FCC, represents a turning point in the plans of the Spanish group. The businessman has decided to put one of FCC’s most recent strategic decisions on hold, namely the sale of its historical stake in Realia, according to Expansión.

The turnaround in the performance of the real estate company since it put its stake in Realia up for sale, together with Bankia, at the end of 2013, reflects not only the limited income that the construction group will receive for its 36.9% stake, but also the interest shown by Slim in taking ownership of these assets. Slim has extensive experience in the sector through his own real estate company Carso.

To this end, the Mexican businessman has instructed lawyers to study the legal formulae that would enable him to buy Realia, given that he is the majority shareholder of one of the vendor companies.

The transaction is not without its complexities. On the one hand, FCC has made a commitment to Bankia, its historical partner in Realia, to sell the 62% stake that they jointly own, through a process led by Goldman Sachs.

In November, the Socimi Hispania Real launched a takeover bid for 100% of Realia at €0.49 per share. The offer valued the real estate company at just over €150 million, 28% below its market price at the time.

The takeover bid was accompanied by an agreement with Realia’s main creditors, the funds Fortress, King Street and Goldman Sachs, stating that they would sell 51% of their debt to Hispania and jointly recapitalise the company. The funds made an agreement to negotiate exclusively with the Socimi.

Hispania’s offer for 100% of Realia is conditional on its acceptance by at least 52.5% of the shareholders and so the decision as to whether the takeover bid will succeed or not rests with the two controlling shareholders, which have taken decisions on a consensual basis up until now.

Hispania’s offer is currently being considered by the CNMV, which is expected to make a ruling within a month or two. Then, FCC anad Carlos Slim will have to make a decision, once they know all of the details of Hispania’s plans. As a result of Slim’s interest in Realia, the real estate company’s shares soared in trading on Monday by 18.03% to reach €0.72.

Original story: Expansión (by R. Ruíz, D. Badía and C. Morán)

Translation: Carmel Drake