Marina d’Or – A Future Without Apartments?

22 August 2016 – Expansión

The voice of a child saying “Marina d’Or, how cool” has become one of the unmistakable signs of summer. Jesús Ger, the founder and owner of the popular Marina d’Or complex in Oropesa del Mar (Castellón) is still using the same advert year after year, however his business nowadays is very different from the real estate giant whose name used to be synonymous with holiday apartments for most Spaniards.

Today, Marina d’Or is trying to shake off any association with real estate to convey an image of a pure tourism company. Ger launched this strategy during the years of the financial crisis, when he undertook a major restructuring of his companies with one clear purpose: to build a firewall to prevent the real estate fire from spreading to his holiday city.

The holding company is now divided into four main companies. On the one hand, Hoteles Marina d’Or, the company that operates the five hotels, eight amusement parks and some of the catering establishments and other services at the complex in Oropesa. This company is also responsible for the resort’s marketing campaigns and runs the rental of holiday homes, although many of those are now owned by the banks that financed them.

The excellent evolution of the tourist industry has given Hoteles Marina d’Or a break, such that it is now enjoying high occupancy rates this summer. Sources at the group explain that turnover in July exceeded the amount recorded during the same month last year. Nevertheless, the figures and returns from this business, with revenues of €38 million and profit of €600,000 last year, are well below the €450 million invoiced by the holding in its heyday.

Legal obstacles

The asset that was going to be the great jewel in the group’s crown for the next two decades, Marina d’Or Golf, the urban macro-plan measuring 18 million m2, a few kilometres away from the coast in Oropesa, was transferred to another company, Promociones PAI Gold. This project, which has been on hold for years, has been revived in the media from time to time when potential investors express interest in the facilities.

This last happened at the end of 2015, when a Chinese newspaper reported that Wanda was planning to invest €1,200 million. (…). Sources at the Castellón-based group say that the search for partners continues, but it is a very slow and discrete process. (…).

Original story: Expansión (by A.C.A.)

Translation: Carmel Drake