Torreal is looking into competing against Villar Mir in their bid on Colonial.

Torreal, the investment group belonging to the Abelló family, analyzes its entrance in the capital of the real estate company Colonial. Its interest joins that of other national and international groups, such as Villar Mir, with whom Colonial has negotiated in the past few months with the objective of carrying out a capital extension of around 700 million Euros.

Sources close to Torreal admit that they are analyzing an investment in Colonial, without having still taking a decision or presented an offer. The same sources declare that there have not been any approaches from Villar Mir so as to present a joint offer.

A capital injection of 700 million Euros would mean a reduction of the debt of the real estate assets of 50% of their value, a level that the real estate sector considers optimal. Colonial could start negotiating with banks the refinancing of its debt, which is due in 2014. If it does not achieve the capital increase in order to reduce its liability, the company would study the sale of patrimony, although the chief executives from Colonial have always seen this option as the last alternative.

Sources close to the Catalan real estate company explain that “the capital extension does not have to be endorsed entirely by external investors; Colonial has shareholders within its capital that could also participate in the extension and make it reach 700 million Euros”. The main shareholders are HM Treasury, Eurohypo and Crédit Agricole.

Sources close to  Villar Mir confirm that they go ahead with the operation, which would mean their participation in the capital extension so as to attain up to 30%. They are currently negotiating in order to find the right financing to face the purchase of shares from Colonial and they deny any contacts with Torreal so as to design a joint offer. Sources close to the president of OHL assure that Villar Mir will join the project to lead alone.

Torreal, one of the great private investment companies in Spain, is particularly active this year. It is said that it has a portfolio of assets valued in 1300 million Euros in different sectors. The group of the Abelló family is present in nearly twenty companies of different businesses, such as the textile (Pepe Jeans, Hackett), education (Laureate), infrastructures and industrial (Saba, Cie Automotive), technology and multimedia (Imagina, Zed), finances (Banca Leonardo) and food (CVNE).

In the last few months, the company has made great movements. In February, it entered indirectly in Talgo and only one month later, it sold its 9,6% in Sacyr.

Source: Expansión