El Corte Inglés Considers Creating a Socimi to List its Real Estate Assets on the Stock Market

15 February 2019 – Modaes.es

El Corte Inglés is looking for solutions for its portfolio of real estate assets. The Qatari sheikh Hamad Al Thani, the third largest shareholder in the Madrilenian department store group, has proposed the creation of a Socimi to manage the rental of its assets.

The plan proposed by Al Thani, who entered the company’s share capital last summer, involves creating a company in which El Corte Inglés would own a 51% stake. The remaining 49% of the shares would be listed on the stock market.

The Qatari investor already proposed this solution to the previous President of the group, Dimas Gimeno, but it was not successful then, according to El Economista. For the time being, the Board of Directors of El Corte Inglés has not received a formal petition regarding the plan.

The real estate portfolio of El Corte Inglés is worth €17.1 billion, according to a report from Tinsa. The department stores and hypermarkets are worth €15.0 billion, whilst the warehouses, offices and mixed-use buildings are worth €1.1 billion. Finally, the high street establishments are valued at €1 billion.

It is estimated that, in the event that the operation proposed by the sheikh goes ahead, the valuation of the assets could amount to half their current value, around €8.2 billion, according to Tinsa.

In parallel, the group is continuing to work on the sale of 130 real estate assets worth €2 billion in conjunction with the consultancy firm PwC. The property that El Corte Inglés wants to divest now comprises land, offices and buildings defined as non-strategic. Those assets also include some logistics centres.

The objective of these divestments is to reduce the group’s debt so that it can obtain a level of solvency that will allow it to raise financing in the capital markets at a lower price. In this sense, Núñez de la Rosa, the President of the group, has committed to reducing the group’s liabilities by €1 billion in twelve months.

Currently, the real estate portfolio of El Corte Inglés comprises 94 shopping centres, which account for 87% of the total value of the company’s assets. Two of those properties are valued at more than €500 million each, and another two are worth between €400 million and €500 million each.

The department store group recorded EBITDA of €335 million during the first half of 2018, up by 4.4% YoY. Between January and August, the company recorded turnover of €7.6 billion, up by 0.4% YoY.

Original story: Modaes.es

Translation: Carmel Drake

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