Ipic Finalises Sale Of Torre Cepsa For €500M+

3 May 2016 – Expansión

Ipic, the Abu Dhabi state fund behind the oil company Cepsa, is trying the sell the so-called Torre Foster for a price that could range between €500 million and €600 million.

Ipic is negotiating with a small group of foreign funds, including, some investors from the Middle East. The operation will mark a milestone in the new boom that the real estate sector in Spain is currently experiencing and will serve to boost other projects currently on the horizon, such as the so-called fifth tower, which the businessman Juan Miguel Villar Mir wants to construct in the Cuatro Torres complex, where the Foster skyscraper is located.

That price is significantly higher than the figure of between €400 million and €450 million that the Torre Foster, now renamed Torre Cepsa, given that it houses the headquarters of the oil company, was valued at when Ipic signed a call option to purchase the building from Bankia back in 2013.

That option has not been exercised yet. It will be exercisable after the summer. Hence, Ipic has accelerated the negotiations to acquire the building and, almost immediately, sell it on to a third party. Technically, the property is still owned by Bankia.

Gain for Abu Dhabi

The additional value that Ipic obtains for the building, if it manages to sell it to a third party for more than the price established in the call option, will represent a gain for the fund, in other words, for the Government of the Arab Emirate of Abu Dhabi.

Ipic (International Petroleum Investment Company) operates as a sovereign fund for channelling investments in energy and other similar sectors by the Government of Abu Dhabi. The group owns assets amounting to USD 68,000 million and holds investments in around twenty companies, of which Cepsa is the largest.

Bankia’s agreement with Ipic seemed like a great deal for the bank at the time. Back then, in the midst of the hangover from the real estate crisis, the price established for the option to sell the building was very attractive. In addition, Ipic rented out the whole building to house Cepsa’s headquarters, although the oil company did not end up occupying all of the floors.

The tower has a surface area of more than 100,000 m2, of which around 72,312 m2 relates to above ground offices and a further 37,500 m2 corresponds to five underground floors.

The agreement between Bankia and Ipic included a lease contract for an extendable eight-year term. This long-term contract is another of the elements that will increase the value of the building in the event that Ipic ends up selling it to a third party. At the moment, Bankia charges Ipic a monthly rent of €1.6 million, through the company Torre Norte S.A.. Ipic pays for the rent through the company Muscari Development, B.V., which is domiciled in The Netherlands. That price includes discounts that end in June 2016. The lease contract includes the call option to buy the entire building. (…). The Ipic group began to evaluate options for selling the building at the end of last summer, following the collapse of the global oil prices. (…).

Original story: Expansión (by M.Á.Patiño and R.Arroyo)

Translation: Carmel Drake

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