10 August 2016 – Expansión
The distribution giant El Corte Inglés has engaged Morgan Stanley to find investors who may be interested in acquiring assets worth between €200 million and €300 million, according to real estate sources.
Specifically, the company chaired by Dimas Gimeno intends to divest 33 assets, which have a surface area spanning more than 500,000 sqm, as well as five plots of land.
The assets on the market include rental contracts guaranteed for five, ten, fifteen and twenty years; and the deadline for submitting non-binding offers will close at the end of September.
Sources consulted indicate that some of the warehouses included in the sale are not sufficiently tall enough to meet with current demands from investors for this type of asset, which has forced them to adjust the duration of their contracts, as well as the rental prices.
The batch for sale, which comprises 38 assets in total, including the plots of land, contains: El Corte Inglés’ logistics centres in Bisbal del Penedès (Tarragona) and on La Peluquera industrial estate in Madrid. It also includes other assets on Las Atalayas industrial estate (in Alicante) and the Goro en Telde estate (in Gran Canaria).
By contrast, El Corte Inglés has not included any assets currently considered to be strategic in the batch. Thus, for example, the jewel in its logistics assets crown will not be included: its mega centre in the south of Madrid.
The company, which seeks to reduce its debt balance with these divestment operations, may consider selling other types of non-strategic real estate assets in the future, as Expansión revealed in March.
These real estate asset divestments follow others completed by El Corte Inglés in recent years. In this way, in the summer of 2013, the distribution group completed the sale of a building next to Plaza de Cataluña in Barcelona to the fund manager IBA Capital.
Months later, it sold another property to the same investor on Calle Preciados in Madrid.
Last December, the chain sold another building in the iconic Puerta del Sol in Madrid for €65 million to the US fund Thor Equities. At the time, the group agreed to continue to occupy the building, which houses its book store and is located in one of the most important shopping areas of the capital, for another year.
Similarly, in February, the group sold the building that it had acquired ten years ago on Calle Fontanella in Barcelona for €17 million to a Russian investor, which plans to convert the property into a hotel.
By contrast, El Corte Inglés has also completed several important asset purchases in recent years. In this way, the company acquired a plot of land from the railway infrastructure manager Adif, right on Paseo de la Castellana for €136 million in 2014. This plot of land is located next to one of the company’s main shopping centres in the capital, in Nuevos Ministerios.
Original story: Expansión (by R. Arroyo)
Translation: Carmel Drake