31 October 2017 – Expansión
La Zagaleta group, headquartered in London and created by the Spaniard Enrique Pérez Flores, has reached an agreement with the members of the Real Club Valderrama to sell them the Valderrama company, owner of the famous Valderrama Golf Course, located in Sotogrande (Cádiz). The members of Real Club Valderrama will buy the golf course for €28 million, the same amount the current owners paid for the asset when they bought it. Valderrama’s members had initiated an arbitration process, but that will be suspended as a result of this agreement.
In January 2016, La Zagaleta group, owner of the urbanisation of the same name, located in Benahavía (Málaga), bought the Valderrama group for €40 million. A year and a half later, it got rid of the sports facilities, the clubhouse, several residential plots and the Valderrama Golf brands, following months of negotiations, where the club members initiated an arbitration process claiming their preferential acquisition right over the course had been forfeited.
“In March, Real Club Valderrama initiated an arbitration process against La Zagaleta, on the basis that we consider that we were cheated out of our preferential acquisition right by the operation that was closed in 2015. During the course of this process, we initiated a negotiation and the resultant agreement is that the members will pay the same amount that La Zagaleta paid to the fund MGI”, explains Javier Reviriego, Director General of Real Club Valderrama talking to Expansión. In this way, for the majority stake (94%), the club’s members (around 450 people from 40 different nationalities) will pay €28 million. “The purchase of the shares in Valderrama SA has been made for €23 million, plus debt of €5 million”, he said.
The club will finance half the operation with contributions of €30,000 per member, whilst the rest will be covered by a mortgage loan and own funds from the sports entity, founded in 1985. “We will continue investing and doing everything possible to ensure that Valderrama has the best golf facilities in the world. I also think that being the owners of the golf course strengthens our position in the sector as a private club, a unique model in Europe”, he said.
Over the last 30 years, the club’s members have operated the facilities through a rental agreement: “Being the owners of the course was a historical revindication for the members. The framework contract and lease agreement that regulated the relationship of the club with the ownership of the facilities did not grant full independence to the club’s board of directors to make decisions or establish the club’s strategic direction. There are also financial motives; the club used to pay a high rent and it is more profitable for us to invest in the asset”.
Meanwhile, following the sale, La Zagaleta will focus on the development of the Valderrama 2 urbanisation. It will be constructed on a plot spanning 220 hectares of residential use located just a stone’s throw from the luxury urbanisation in Sotogrande. There, La Zagaleta plans to build a luxury urbanisation with around 200 homes, priced between €3 million and €5 million, as well as a new golf course and hotel.
The operation in Valderrama follows the sale of other golf courses linked to urban developments, such as the purchase of Sotogrande by Orion, says Pablo Callejo, Director of Alternative Assets at the consultancy firm CBRE.
Original story: Expansión (by Rocío Ruiz/Lucía Junco)
Translation: Carmel Drake