16 March 2015 – Expansión
Real estate assets / The former subsidiary of ING is looking to improve its portfolio through refurbishments and asset purchases.
After more than two decades in the market, the fund manager CBRE Global Investors has become a major player in the Spanish real estate sector thanks to its intense asset rotation policy.
The company, which manages property in this market (primarily shopping centres) worth €2,000 million, closed the sale of various assets last year: Urbil, in Guipúzcoa, which it sold to Axa Reim for €60 million; Alcalá Magna, in Madrid, which it sold to Incus Capital for €85 million; Gran Vía de Vigo, which it sold to the US fund Oaktree for €100 million and Modoo, in Asturias, which it sold for €45 million.
In 2013, CBRE Global Investors was involved in the first major sale of a shopping centre following the outbreak of the crisis, when it sold Parque Principado in Asturias for €141.5 million to the British real estate company Intu Properties. “Between 2008 and 2014, we rotated the portfolio we had created during the previous two decades. Thus, we sold Parque Principado, which was a mature asset, but we purchased other assets. In total, we bought and sold assets worth €1,000 million last year”, explains José Antonio Martin-Borregón, CEO at CBRE Global Investors in Spain and Portugal.
The (property) management company made its first investments in Spain between 1992 and 1993 and three years later, it opened its first offices. Through its five funds, it currently manages 19 shopping centres, including Bilbondo in Bilbao; Vallereal in Maliaño (Cantabria) and Parc Central, in Tarragona. “We started out as the investment vehicle for National Nederlanden, which wanted to invest in properties outside of Holland that were not for its own use. We have maintained this philosophy for 20 years. Our traditional clients are institutional investors”. The latest addition to the portfolio was La Zenia in Alicante, which was acquired using money from the Alaska pension fund.
The goal of the Head of CBRE Global Investors is to repeat the transaction volume (recorded last year) during 2015 but with a greater focus on purchases. “We would like to close transactions amounting to €1,000 million this year with a 60:40 split in terms of purchases and sales”, he says. “We have a portfolio of mature assets and therefore we are interested in buying properties that we can add value to”.
In total, the (property) manager expects to invest €930 million in Spain and Portugal. “Demand exceeds supply, which means that prices have increased and new rules are in play. It is not going to be as easy (as it once was) to target successful investments”.
Nevertheless, the Head of CBRE GI does not fear competition from the multitude of investors and institutional funds that have arrived in the Spanish market attracted by the decrease in real estate prices and the expected economic recovery. “As a (property) manager, we try to maximise the opportunities that the market offers, leveraging on our competitive advantage, which is our local knowledge”, says Martín-Borregón. “As a (property) manager, we have more access to capital, which allows us to move (more) quickly to close transactions”, he adds.
The (property) manager is also considering investments in premises (shops/stores) on the street and in strengthening its logistics platforms (it already owns 15). “We will buy logistics assets in new areas and we will sell old warehouses”, he explains.
Original story: Expansión (by Rocío Ruiz)
Translation: Carmel Drake