Proinsa: The Final Piece of Reyal Urbis’ Empire Files for Bankruptcy

12 February 2018 – El Confidencial

Proinsa, Promotora Inmobiliaria del Este, has filed for creditor bankruptcy. The company is chaired by Rafael Santamaria, who, together with Joaquín Rivero, Enrique Bañuelos, Luis Portillo and Manuel Jove, were the property “lords” of the last real estate boom. Santamaría was also the President of Reyal Urbis, which starred in the second-largest dissolution ever of a real estate company in 2016, after that of Martinsa Fadesa.

Specifically, Reyal Urbis, which filed for its own creditor bankruptcy last summer, controls 70% of the company Proinsa, which is also dedicated to real estate development. Moreover, the two firms share a registered address on the Madrilenian street of Calle Ayala, just 50m from Paseo de la Castellana, where Rafael Santamaría Trigo, who also used to serve as the President of the Property Developers of Madrid (Asprima), used to have his office.

Last week, Mercantile Court number 1 of Madrid declared that Proinsa had filed for bankruptcy with a debt of almost €62 million and assets worth around €57 million, after it had withdrawn from a refinancing agreement in the middle of December 2016. In fact, that company’s short-term debt amounts to €34 million, of which €10 million corresponds to debt with various financial institutions and €21.5 million to Sareb. On the other hand, it has short-term debt amounting to €21.6 million with group companies. Moreover, at the end of 2016, the firm’s losses amounted to €1.1 million, and it held negative equity of almost €5 million.

In addition to Reyal Urbis, the firm’s minority shareholders include several companies from Burgos that form part of the same group: Inmobiliaria Espolón, Promotora Fuente Redonda, Grupo Río Vena Gestión de Obras and Alqlunia 2.

Proinsa held onto just one asset: a plot of land under development in Los Berrocales, one of the developments in the southeast of Madrid that was blocked by the Town Hall of Madrid fifteen days ago. Specifically, it owned 75% of an estate (La Fortuna) with a fair value of €57.1 million at the end of 2016, according to a valuation performed by Knight Frank. A single syndicated mortgage loan was secured over that estate from Sareb, Banco CEISS, Banco Mare Nostrum, Ibercaja and Unicaja, and with EBN Banco de Negocios acting as the agent bank. That loan was constituted in December 2006 and was subsequently novated on three occasions until the end of 2014. Moreover, in terms of unforeseen costs, Proinsa owed €6.5 million to the Compensation Board of Los Berrocales.

Almost half a century dedicated to real estate

The real estate businesses of the Santamaría family date back to 1970. As Nacho Cardero recounts in his novel “The Property Lords”, Reyal Urbis was constituted in March of that year by the current Chairman’s father, Rafael Santamaría Moreno, owner of the Layer Farm in Pinto, dedicated to the wholesale of eggs. “The laying hens were exchanged for cranes and the company turned the company on its head, changing its name to Reyal, which is Layer written backwards”.

The small construction firm would become one of the largest property developers in the country, after it purchased Urbis from Banesto in July 2006 for €3.3 billion, at the height of the real estate boom (…).

Until last week, Proinsa was the final piece at the base of that real estate emporium. And that final piece in the house of cards left many cards along the way, such as the ghost city of Valdeluz, just 67km from Puerta del Sol, in the province of Guadalajara and another symbol, alongside Seseña (Toledo) (…) of the excesses of the real estate party (…).

Original story: El Confidencial (by Elena Sanz)

Translation: Carmel Drake

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