Poker Stars’ Founder Pays OHL €225M For 50% Of Canalejas

11 April 2017 – Expansión

Grupo Villar Mir has completed the sale of 50% of Project Canalejas, the luxury home, hotel and shopping complex that it is developing in a set of historic buildings in the centre of Madrid, to the Israelí businessman Mark Scheinberg, founder of the online poker firm Poker Stars, for €225 million, according to a statement filed yesterday by OHL with Spain’s National Securities and Exchange Commission (CNMV).

The corporation owned by Juan Miguel Villar Mir is developing this project in conjunction with its listed construction company OHL. Both entities have sold part of their respective stakes in accordance with the percentage that they control and as part of the asset sales plan that they have in place to cut their debt. Specifically, Grupo Villar Mir has sold 32.5%, and has whereby reduced its stake in the project from 65% to 32.5%. Meanwhile, OHL has sold another 17.5%, which has reduced its shareholding from 35% to 17.5%.

OHL reported yesterday that it will record revenues of €78.75 million from the sale of its stake in the complex, and that it has already received €73.5 million, leaving an outstanding balance due of €5.25 million. The company explained that the outstanding balance will be paid in two instalments: one in December this year, amounting to €1.75 million, and the other (€3.5 million) will be received when the project is commissioned.

Grupo Villar Mir and OHL, which have recorded a combined gain of €82.85 million from this operation, will retain control over the management of the project until it is commissioned, scheduled for the beginning of 2019. Canalejas is developing a group of seven historic buildings, which comprise an entire block in the centre of Madrid, next to La Puerta del Sol, which Villar Mir bought from Santander in December 2012 and which have a combined surface area of 50,000 m2.

The project involves the refurbishment of the properties, whilst retaining their architectural and artistic features, to house 22 luxury homes and a five-star hotel, which the chain Four Seasons has already committed to operating, in what will be its debut in Spain. The complex will also have a 16,000 m2 shopping arcade and underground car park.

Original story: Expansión (by E. M.)

Translation: Carmel Drake

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