Taylor Wimpey Keen To Sell Its Spanish Subsidiary

3 March 2017 – Expansión

The British group has said that it will consider offers for its subsidiary, which builds homes along the Mediterranean coast and owns assets worth €150 million.

Taylor Wimpey said on Monday that its presence in Spain “is not strategic over the long term”, which is why the company is willing to sell its business in the country if an interested party submits an attractive acquisition proposal.

The Spanish subsidiary of the British real estate company generated an operating profit of GBP 20.6 million (€24 million) in 2016, a figure that doubled the amount (GBP 10 million) it obtained in the previous year. The improvement in results was due to an increase in house sales in the Balearic Islands, Andalucía and Alicante, the main areas where the company has developments.

The firm completed the sale of 304 Spanish properties in 2016 at an average price of €358,000, exceeding the 251 homes sold the previous year at an average price of €315,000. Most of those properties were sold to foreigners wanting a second home in Spain for their holidays or to retire. In total, Taylor Wimpey recorded turnover of GBP 93.6 million in Spain during 2016, compared with €58.1 million during the previous year.

“The residential market in Spain remained positive throughout 2016”, said the company on Monday during the presentation of its results for last year. “Although the weakness of the pound had an impact on British buyers, we still managed to generate a healthy rate of sales during the year, thanks to our diverse client base”. Citizens from Germany, Belgium and Sweden made up for the decrease in interest from UK investors, who in addition to being hit by a reduction in purchasing power due to the depreciation of the pound, were also fearful about the possibility of losing their rights to travel to and reside in Spain post-Brexit.

Pete Redfern, CEO at Taylor Wimpey, was asked during a meeting with analysts about the possibility of selling the firm’s business in Spain, once its profitability has been restored after the losses it suffered during the real estate crisis. According to Redfern, “the environment in Spain has improved, although it is still an environment that is not seeing a significant entry of new capital. Our business is functioning well, but if a good offer appears to buy it (then we would be interested). Our strategy over the long term does not involve staying in Spain”.

Taylor Wimpey has assets on its balance sheet in Spain worth GBP 123.7 million (€145 million). On 28 June last year, five days after the Brexit referendum, the company undertook a €100 million bond issue, to cover the currency risk of its Spanish business, whereby ceasing to finance its assets in pounds. Those bonds pay out an annual return of 2.02% and have a repayment term of seven years.

In total, the Spanish subsidiary has 19 developments, with a portfolio of 293 homes reserved, for a value of GBP 88 million.

The real estate company left the market in Gibraltar three years ago.

The Taylor Wimpey group, which besides Spain, operates only in the United Kingdom, recorded turnover of GBP 3,676 million in 2016 and generated a net profit of GBP 589.7 million.

Original story: Expansión (by Roberto Casado)

Translation: Carmel Drake

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