16 July 2015 – Expansión
International funds still regard Spain as one of their favourite destinations for investment. As such, one of the most active firms, the US fund GreenOak, has just strengthened its team in Spain to boost its commitment to the market.
The fund, which specialises in the real estate sector, has recruited Javier Zarrabeitia, former director of CBRE España. Zarrabeitia, the son of the CEO of Testa Inmuebles, is a specialist in capital markets. Before joining CBRE, he advised large real estate transactions, such as the sale of BBVA’s building on Castellana, 77 to GMP for €90 million. In fact, GreenOak was one of the finalists in that auction.
In addition to Zarrabeitia, GreenOak is planning to hire three or four other people over the coming months at its offices in Madrid. The firm currently has a team of ten professionals dedicated to the Spanish market, although most of them are based in London.
Francesco Ostuni leads the Spanish team – he is the European Director of Acquisitions at GreenOak, and was formerly a director at Morgan Stanley and before that at the Qatar sovereign fund. In turn, Ostuni reports into the founding director of the fund, John Carrafiell, who led Morgan Stanley’s real estate strategy for several years, and closed operations such as the purchase of Canary Wharf. (…)
GreenOak, which has assets under management amounting to $5,000 million (€4,533 million) around the world, has already made several real estate investments in Spain during the last year.
The US fund took its first big step in Spain last year, when it purchased seven shopping centres from the Dutch group Vastned Retail for €160 million. Subsequently, it tried to enter the office market – it participated in the process to purchase not only Castellana 77, but also Castellana, 89 – Ahorro Corporación’s headquarters – which was ultimately purchased by Corporación Financiera Alba, owned by the March family.
In recent months, GreenOak has been adding to its portfolio of Spanish investments, with the purchase of five logistics assets in the Community of Madrid, encompassing 200,000 m2. The US fund paid between €60 million and €75 million to close that acquisition.
The firm plans to close new operations in the short term, mainly in the logistics segment – where it has agreed to buy three more assets – , as well as the market for shopping centres and offices, after its two previous failed attempts.
Original story: Expansión (by J. Zuloaga)
Translation: Carmel Drake