Lar España Maintains its Dividend, which it will Pay on 16 April

The General Shareholders’ Meeting held on 17 March approved the payment of €55 million.

On 16 April, the Socimi Lar Spain will proceed to pay a dividend amounting to €55 million, equivalent to €0.6276 gross per share, against its results for 2019. The distribution of this dividend was approved at the company’s most recent General Shareholders’ Meeting, which was held on 17 March.

The company, which specialises in shopping centres says that it has a strong balance sheet, which allows it to face the challenges presented by the Covid-19 crisis in the best conditions. “The Socimi’s gearing is low, with debt representing just 34% of its asset value. Moreover, its debt has limited maturities until 2022, an average cost of 2.1%, almost 90% is fixed-rate, and the firm’s cash position shows significant strength ”, specify sources at the company.

The Outlet Pioneer and Founder of Neinver, José María Losantos, Dies Aged 84

José María Losantos, founder of Neinver, the pioneering promoter of outlet shopping centres, has died at the age of 84 from respiratory complications.

The executive, who was born in 1936, teamed up with his brother to create Neinver, a pioneering real estate company that has formed alliances with several large international funds. It was also the first firm to introduce the concept of discounted shopping centres (outlets) to Spain. For this, Losantos patented a registered trademark, which has yielded plenty of income over the years. In addition, he promoted several office complexes and buildings with the company.

Fernando Martín, hospitalised

The coronavirus pandemic has also affected another stalwart of the sector. The businessman from Valladolid, Fernando Martín, President and largest shareholder of the real estate company Martinsa Fadesa, until its liquidation. The 72-year old has been admitted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of the Puerta de Hierro Hospital in Madrid suffering from coronavirus.

The Sector Reacts to Coronavirus: What are Companies Planning?

The large property developers, shopping centre owners, rental home Socimis and real estate agents are all taking steps to alleviate the effects of the crisis.

The crisis resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic has led the Spanish real estate sector into an unheard-of scenario, which is raising many questions for professionals and consumers alike. For this reason, large companies have taken measures to reduce the impact on their respective accounts and to try to continue generating business at a very unusual time.

From large property developers to residential and retail landlords, to real estate agents. All of them have launched different solutions to combat the coronavirus crisis during the first week of the state of emergency.

Several property developers have deferred the next two monthly collections from their clients; shopping centre owners are considering waiving the rental payments of some of their tenants; some of the large residential landlords have established moratoriums on their rental collections; and a couple of estate agents have launched platforms to enable virtual property viewings.

Merlin Waives 100% of the Rental Payments from Shops and Hotels Closed by Covid-19

The firm led by Ismael Clemente has started to communicate this decision, which will benefit 77% of its tenants in the retail segment.

Merlin Properties, the largest Socimi in Spain, has decided to waive 100% of the rental payments from the shops and hotels that it has as tenants whose activity the Government has ordered to close, under the measures imposed as a result of the state of emergency, according to El Confidencial.

The firm led by Ismael Clemente has started to communicate this decision by telephone and by letter. It will benefit 77% of the Socimi’s tenants in the retail segment and the two hotels that it holds in its portfolio: the Novotel, located in a mixed-use building, which it owns on Calle Diagonal 199 in Barcelona and the Eurostars located in one of the Cuatro Torres in Madrid, which it shares with the professional services firm PwC.

Costco Buys Innovel for USD 1 Billion to Ensure Last Mile Distribution

The intention of the North American chain, which has two stores in Spain (in Sevilla and Getafe), is to increase its online sales of products such as appliances, furniture, mattresses, televisions and exercise equipment.

Costco has purchased the logistics firm Innovel Solutions to cover the last mile of its high-volume product delivery business, particularly in the United States of America and Puerto Rico. The corporate operation has been closed for USD 1 billion dollars (€933 million).

Innovel, which has worked with Costco since 2015, was owned by the operator of Sears, Transform Holdco LLC, and will continue to provide services to Sears and its other existing external customers, explains Reuters. The chain will take on the more than 1,500 Innovel employees, according to a statement issued.

Socimis and Large Funds will Cut the Rents for Hotels and Commercial Tenants

Hotel, restaurants and textile chains are asking to negotiate the conditions of their rental contracts and are proposing rent waivers, moratoriums and discounts for the duration of the state of emergency due to Covid-19.

Hotel groups, restaurants and textile chains have started to ask their landlords to negotiate the conditions of their rental contracts and to propose rent moratoriums and discounts, at least for the duration of the state of emergency decreed by the Government to try to put a stop to Covid-19.

This would affect Socimis that own shopping centres, such as Merlin, Lar España, Castellana Properties and General de Galerías Comerciales; other retail giants, such as Sonae Sierra and Unibail Romanco-Westfield – which have already announced that the coronavirus pandemic has affected their centres. It would also impact funds such as Blackstone, which owns a high-profile hotel portfolio following its purchase of Hispania, which it controls through HIP; and property managers such as Azora, which will have to review their business plans and adapt their commercial policies with their tenants.

Intu Prepares to Sell Assets Worth €1 billion in the United Kingdom

The firm has put on the market the Merry Mill shopping centre worth £588 million; the Intu Milton Keynes and 50% of the St. David’s complex in Cardiff.

The British company Intu Properties, which owns numerous shopping centres, is preparing to sell part of its portfolio in the United Kingdom worth GBP 1,000 million (€1,080 million), to obtain liquidity and avoid collapse.

The firm has put on the market the Merry Hill shopping centre, its largest asset, located in Birmingham and valued at GBP 588 million (€637.5 million). Also up for sale is the Intu Milton Keynes, valued at GBP 212.5 million (€233.6 million) and 50% of the St. David’s complex in Cardiff, for GBP 230 million (€249.3 million), according to Hi Retail.

Intu has a debt-to-asset ratio of 68% and its top priority right now is to “balance the company’s finances,” said CEO, Matthew Roberts, last week.

The company announced last Friday that it could go bankrupt if it fails to raise new capital after announcing losses of GBP 2,000 million (€2,304 million) in 2019, up by 72% compared to 2018.

Hoarding Boosts Consumption: Demand in Supermarkets Shot Up by 25% YoY during the First Half of March

On Tuesday 10 March, the number of users making a purchase in this type of establishment soared by 330%.

As a consequence of the alarm caused by the coronavirus, consumption in supermarkets grew by 25% during the first fifteen days of March, compared with the same period in the previous year, according to analysis carried out by Fintonic, the personal finance app.

The company has carried out a study based on the main consumption indicators of Spaniards over the last two weeks and their evolution as a consequence of the crisis caused by the expansion of Covid-19.

During the week from March 9 to 15, and, specifically, on Tuesday 10 March, the number of users making a purchase in this type of establishment skyrocketed by 330%. Amongst the distributors that experienced the greatest increase in sales during this period were Mercadona, Carrefour, Lidl, Día and Alcampo.

Unibail Rodamco Announces Measures to Mitigate the Effect of Coronavirus on its Business

The real estate company, one of the largest owners of shopping centres in the world, acknowledges that the decision to close all non-essential stores will have an impact on its income statement.

The company Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield (URW), one of the largest owners of shopping centres in the world, has unveiled its plans to mitigate the impact of Covid-19 on its business. Although, as URW itself acknowledges, the phenomenon will inevitably have consequences for its income statement.

“The COVID-19 crisis is continuing to evolve rapidly and in recent days several governments in the markets in which Unibail Rodamco-Westfield (URW) operates have taken steps to contain the spread of the virus. Local authorities from countries such as France, Spain, Poland, Austria, the Czech Republic and Slovakia have ordered the closure of all non-essential stores, and so the group’s shopping centres in these markets are almost completely non-operational, “said the European giant. Furthermore, URW acknowledges that, although in the rest of the markets, its centres are currently operating normally “albeit at a slower rate”, the measures taken against the coronavirus could also be extended to those countries.

Redevco Changes Course beyond Retail to Invest in Offices and Logistics Assets

The pan-European real estate investment management company plans to increase the value of its portfolio of assets under management from the current level of €7.5 billion to €10 billion by 2025, expanding beyond its retail focus to target new sectors.

The pan-European real estate investment management company is planning to increase the value of its portfolio of assets under management from the current level of €7.5 billion to €10 billion in 2025 by diversifying its investments into new sectors beyond its traditional focus ‘retail’.

Third-party investors now constitute 40% of Redevco’s capital base, accounting for €2.8 billion, whilst their presence was null just six years ago. The company is going to open its platform to other similar investors and will study the creation of new investment vehicles to expand its investment base, with an initial focus on joint ventures. “Investments in the future will focus mainly on mixed-use urban buildings as the disappearance of the barriers between different asset classes accelerates,” said sources at the company.