20 April 2015 – Expansión
Plans / International funds and Socimis are the main players in the sector
Apollo, Blackstone, Cerberus, HIG, Hispania, Intu, Lone Star, Merlin and Oaktree have gone from being virtually unknown names to being the key players in the Spanish property market (in a matter of months).
Over the last year and a half, large international funds have been investing hundreds of millions of euros in the purchase of property in Spain, both directly as well as through listed real estate investment companies (Socimis).
Värde, Apollo and Lone Star all burst into the market by purchasing real estate platforms from financial institutions. The latter has said that it wants to become the largest land developer in Spain and to that end, it is considering purchasing not only portfolios of land but also small and medium-sized (land) developers. Lone Star has already purchased the real estate arm Neinor from Kutxabank for €930 million, as well as Eurohypo’s loans in Spain for a further €3,500 million.
HIG and Castlelake are looking to buy land in Spain too.
Another investor that is backing Spain with more strength than ever is Blackstone. The largest fund manager in the world has purchased 1,860 homes for rent, as well as a group of office buildings, located in Madrid and Barcelona. One of the players that is most interested in the office market is the Spanish fund Meridia Capital, led by the former Sareb (director) Juan Barba; it has purchased a portfolio of office buildings from General Electric. It is competing against IBA Capital – the French manager has created a Socimi, which has not yet been listed, with headquarters and commercial buildings.
Along with these offices, the other assets that are sparking the most interest amongst investors are shopping centres. Green Oak has already invested €160 million together with Baupost on the acquisition of 6 properties from Vastned. The British group Intu wants to become the leading player in this segment in Spain and to that end, it paid €451 million for Puerto Venecia. Oaktree spent €100 million on Gran Vía de Vigo.
Other important players in this new era for the real estate sector are Socimis. Axia RE, Hispania, Lar España and Merlin have invested almost €3,000 million in assets, which include hotels, offices, logistics centres and warehouses. This last type of asset is attracting considerable interest. The fund Colony has just formed a partnership with the Spanish company Neinver to purchase 16 logistics warehouses.
Finally, in the hotel segment, Cerberus and Orion have purchased Sotogrande, the real estate subsidiary of NH for €225 million.
Original story: Expansión (by R. Ruiz)
Translation: Carmel Drake