Foreign Investment in Spanish Groups Surpasses €26.8 Bn in H1

30/06/2014 – Expansion

The improvement in the Spanish economy, the entrance of the foreign equity to Repsol after the leave of Pemex, better lending statistics, the need of cutting in indebtness and the bargain property prices were the principal factors that boosted the international investment in the Spanish groups over the first half of the ongoing year.

According to the data gathered by Expansion, foreign companies input €26.8 billion in the Spanish firms and assets. It is worth to point out that during the entirety of 2013 the volume amounted to €20 billion. Some transactions were announced last year but they formally closed in 2014. For example, the takeover bid for Sigma by Chinese WH and Campofrío, the purchase of advisory firm Everis by Japanese NTT Data and the sale of Santander´s property servicer (Altamira) to US fund Apollo.

The largest-volume operation was the acquisition of cable operator Ono by British Vodafone for €7.2 billion.

Energy sector enjoyed huge popularity during the first half of 2014. Thus, Mexican company Pemex sold its 9.5% stake at Repsol for €2.5 billion, while several firms split a 5% share at Iberdrola worth over €1.5 billion. Acciona transferred energy assets to private equity KKR and diverse funds bought 5% at Enagás and 15% at CLH.

The real estate sector is the next main target of the foreign buyers. During the six months, the most significant transactions were the €3.5 billion paid for a loan portfolio of Eurohypo España by Lone Star and JPMorgan, as well as the Colonial stake purchases by Qatar, Colombian and Andorran equity. Moreover, several funds acquired 7.5% at Bankia from the FROB (Spain´s Fund for Orderly Banking Restructuring).

However, the most showy transactions were the sale of the Edificio España building in Madrid to Chinese businessman Wang Jianlin and the purchase of two five-star hotels (the InterContinental in Madrid and the Renaissance in Barcelona) by a Qatar fund. On the other side, Chinese group HNA spent over €180 million on a 9% stake at NH Hoteles until reaching a 29% share in the capital.

British private equity CVC offered a takeover bid for Deoleo and there have been two important operations in the healthcare sector.

The need of debt refinancing pushed FCC towards selling its urban mobility and marketing branch Cemusa to French JC Decaux for €80 million. The company chaired by Esther Koplowitz has earned such big-name investors as George Soros (3% stake) and Bill Gates (6%).

The textile industry has also registered an increased investment from the part of foreign investors. To illustrate, French private equity Eurazeo paid €291 million for 10% of Desigual, while Saudi Alkohair acquired Blanco for €40 million.


Original article: Expansión (by A. Fernández)

Translation: AURA REE