The March Family & GreenOak Compete To Buy Ahorro Corp’s HQ

13 April 2015 – Expansión

The financial group has given investors two weeks to submit their final bids. The leading candidates are the March (family), GreenOak, Colonial and Infinorsa.

Ahorro Corporación has prompted a new battle for real estate in the business district of Madrid. And it is proving to be the winner. The financial group is now on the home stretch in the sale of its headquarters, located on Paseo de la Castellana, 89; and the offers received to date have far exceeded the company’s initial expectations. The bids received are approaching €140 million, almost 50% higher than the price offered two years ago (€90 million – €100 million).

Ahorro Corporación and its advisor Aguirre Newman, have now made a shortlist of three candidates to buy the property. According to sources consulted, the investors with the strongest bids are Corporación Financiera Alba, controlled by the March (family), the fund GreenOak, the investor group Infinorsa – which owns Torre Europa – and the real estate company Colonial.

The improved macroeconomic environment (in Spain) and the war waged by these investors to acquire the main properties in Azca, have led to the rise in property prices. The over-supply of funding has also led to greater competition.

The price offered (€140 million) is at the high end of the consideration sought by Ahorro Corporación. Nevertheless, market sources say that the price may decrease slightly – to around €130 million – once the binding offers, which must be submitted in a couple of weeks, have been finalised. Ahorro Corporación has extended the initial deadline due to a request for new information from the interested parties.

100% occupancy rate

The financial group purchased the property from Banco Zaragozano in 2003 for €93.5 million. The building has a surface area of 20,000 square metres, spread over 14 floors and 530 parking spaces. As well as Ahorro Corporación itself, the building’s tenants include Sareb, the French opticians Alain Afflelou and Deloitte. The ground floor of the building is leased to restaurant chains including Lateral, Maki, Wagaboo and New York Burger. The building was constructed in 1977 and refurbished in 2008.

This is not the first battle between real estate investors in recent months. In January, BBVA sold the Torre Ederra, on Paseo de la Castellana, 77 – also in the Azca financial district – for €87 million. On that occasion, the real estate company GMP beat Infinorsa in the final round.

The sale of its headquarters is just another one of a number of divestments undertaken by Ahorro during its redefinition process, which KPMG is advising.

Over the last year, the financial entity has carried out transactions such as the sale of its fund manager, ACGestión to Abanca; the transfer of its infrastructure funds to GEDCapital; and the sale of its securisation manager, Ahorro y Titulización (AyT) to Haya Real Estate, owned by Cerberus.

The group is continuing to focus on its strategic businesses, namely fixed income and equity brokerage and advisory services.

Ahorro is focused on the international diversification of its business in the face of the disappearance or absorption of its former shareholders and clients – the savings banks – by other financial groups.

This group will have to face the remodelling of its shareholder base in the short-medium term, given that some of its shareholders, such as Bankia, will be forced to exit. Other shareholders that holds stakes in the group include: Cecabank, CaixaBank, Kutxabank, Liberbank, BMN, Ibercaja, Unicaja, Abanca, BBVA, Sabadell, Ontinyent and Pollença.

Original story: Expansión

Translation: Carmel Drake

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