Hotel Socimis Get Ready To Invade The MAB

16 March 2016 – Cinco Días

Hotel Socimis are getting ready to colonise the Alternative Investment Market (MAB). Hotel chains of all sizes are analysing this vehicle in light of the tax incentives that it offers. More than six companies are already working on their debuts.

Bay, the vehicle created by Hispania and Barcelona, fired the starting gun in the hotel Socimi race. Socimis are vehicles whose activity involves real estate investment, and they also offer tax incentives for investors. “This year, the hotel Socimis will position themselves in the market, with urban properties and holiday resorts”, says Bruno Hallé, Managing Partner at the consultancy firm Magma Hospitality, who highlights the appeal that the Spanish hotel industry holds for both foreign travellers and investors.

The vehicle is being analysed by hotel groups of all sizes (small, medium and large) that have a lot of real estate on their balance sheets and that view this option as an alternative for obtaining liquidity and continuing with their growth strategies, as well as of separating their hotel activity out from their assets. In the case of Bay, it owns a portfolio of 16 vacation hotels, which also includes two shopping centres. That Socimi will soon debut on the MAB.

For other Socimis, the MAB has also become the launch pad. Of the 15 Socimis now operating on that platform, three are hotel companies: Obsido, Trajano and Promorent, and another six such companies are planned over the next few months.

“The Socimi is a vehicle that anyone working in the real estate sector has to consider”, says Antonio Fernández Hernando, President of Armabex, one of the registered advisors to the MAB that specialises in Socimis. It is currently promoting Bluebay, the hotel chain owned by Jamal Satli Iglesias, which has been managing the Hotel Miguel Ángel in Madrid for the last few months. Sources at the hotel group acknowledge that no specific decisions have been taken yet about the assets that are going to be incorporated into this vehicle, but according to estimates, it will have a value of between €450 million and €500 million.

The valuation of the most urgent project that Armabex is working on is much smaller. It will have just one hotel, in the North of Spain, and is owned by a family group, which also plans to launch another vehicle of this type with another four properties.

Behind them is a list of projects under consideration, including one that Antonio Fernández Hernando says has an initial valuation of €150 million.

Among the investors who have realised their plans to launch pure hotel Socimis is Millenium. The group, chaired by Javier Illán, is evaluating the option of creating a hotel Socimi and has set an investment objective of €300 million, which could increase to €500 million, in both the holiday and urban segments.

Besides the Socimis, another alternative preferred by hotel groups in recent years has been the creation of joint ventures with investment firms. Such is the case of Meliá, which launched a company with Starwood Capital, to which it sold a portfolio of six properties for €176 million. “The future of the Socimis will involve the creation of multi-brand vehicles, like the ones that already exist in the US”, says Hallé, who acknowledges that the sector is in its infancy and will become more established over the next few years.

Original story: Cinco Días (by Laura Salces Acebes and Pablo Martín Simón)

Translation: Carmel Drake

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