Amenabar Wins Bidding for Ferrovial’s Land in Valdebebas

8 November 2019 – Amenabar won the bidding for a plot of land put on sale by Ferrovial in Valdebebas, just in front of the Cercanías RENFE stop in Madrid. The firm won out over Vivenio and Acciona, offering 56 million euros for the developable land. Amenabar has thus consolidated its position as the largest developer in the region, where it will build a total of nine developments, with approximately 1,000 new homes.

The sale fell in line within Ferrovial’s expectations, which had been around €2000/m2. The land measures a total of 27,200 m2, 22,700 m2 for residential development and 4,500 m2 for commerce, enough for roughly 230 new homes. Knight Frank provided Ferrovial with advice on the transaction.

The region of Valdebebas has seen several major transactions in recent months. A few months ago, Acciona also paid about €2,000/m2 (63 million euros) for a 31,700-m2 plot of land from Celteo. The land, which is located nearby Amenabar’s new asset, has enough land for about 260 homes.

Original Story: El Confidencial – Elena Sanz

Adaptation/Translation: Richard D. K. Turner

Acciona, Amenabar and Vivenio Vying to Acquire Land in Valdebebas from Ferrovial

8 November 2019 – Ferrovial has received three firm offers for a plot of land in Valdebebas, just in front of the Cercanías stop. The three firms vying for the land are Amenabar, Vivenio and Acciona.

The land has a total of 27,200 square meters of surface area, 22,700 m2 for residential and 4,500 m2 for commercial development. Ferrovial expects to pocket roughly 2,000 euros per square meter, approximately 54 million euros. The land has enough space to build about 230 homes.

Original Story: El Confidencial – Elena Sanz

Adaptation/Translation: Richard D. K. Turner

Acciona Acquires a Plot of Land in Valdebebas as Ferrovial Looks to Sell Another

17 September 2019 Madrid’s real estate sector has seen a series of major transactions in recent months. In the most recent, Acciona acquired a 31,700-m2 plot of land from the company Celteo Business, including 26,018 m2 for residences and 5,755 m2 for stores. According to market sources, the conglomerate paid 2,000 euros/m2, a two-fold increase over the average price just five years ago. The deal, which totalled approximately 63 million euros, secured enough land to build about 260 homes.

Ferrovial, for its part, has decided to wrap up its development business and is looking to sell a plot of land just in front of the Cercanías train station. The firm is asking for about 2,000 euros per square meter or roughly 54 million euros for a 27,200-m2 plot of land. The land consists of 22,700 m2 for residences and 4,500 m2 for stores and would fit about 230 new homes.

Before sales begin on the Madrid Nuevo Norte development, Valdebebas is one of the few areas in Spain’s capital offering new housing. “Valdebebas is the only option for many families looking to buy a newly-built home… while it is also one of the few areas with finalist land for developers,” says Samuel Population of CBRE.

According to a study by Foro Consultores, there are currently 11 new developments underway in the area, totalling 857 new homes, almost half of which have already been sold.

The prices of the homes, according to the same firm, range between 450,000 and 650,000 euros, with the average price per square meter between 3,800 and 3,700 euros.

Original Story: El Confidencial – Elena Sanz

Adaptation/Translation: Richard D. K. Turner

Real Madrid to Invest €525M in the Modernisation of the Bernabéu Stadium

2 April 2019 – Eje Prime

On Tuesday, Real Madrid and the Town Hall of the Spanish capital announced the launch of a project to modernise the Santiago Bernabéu stadium, which will see a total investment of €525 million. The work will begin at the end of May and is due to be completed at the end of 2023, with no planned disruption to the fixture schedule during that period.

According to the club’s President, Florentino Pérez (pictured above, right), Real Madrid has already spent €500 million upgrading its facilities since 2000. Specifically, it has invested €256 million in several updates to the stadium and another €231 million in the construction of the Ciudad Real Madrid training ground in Valdebebas.

The latest project, designed by GMP Arquitectos/L-35/Ribas will involve a new step in the transformation of the stadium, although few details have been revealed at this stage. During the first phase, the La Esquina del Bernabéu shopping centre will be demolished to create a large square and another square will be built next to Paseo de la Castellana.

In total, 23,000 m2 of space will be freed up and distributed between stores and restaurants to complement the museum, which will also be expanded. The capacity of the stadium will also be expanded by 1,000, which will be dedicated in their entirety to people with reduced mobility or some kind of disability.

It is not yet known who will carry out the work or how the project will be financed, but a tender process for the execution of the work is scheduled to open in April. Four companies are predicted to participate: Acciona, FCC, Ferrovial and San José.

Original story: Eje Prime (by M. Menchén)

Translation/Summary: Carmel Drake

Acciona Sells a 135-Home Development in Madrid to Axa

20 March 2019 – Idealista

Acciona has completed the sale of a residential development in the Méndez Álvaro area of Madrid to the insurance company Axa. The project, which is going to be constructed under the ‘build to rent’ formula, will comprise 135 rental homes distributed over ten floors.

The property will have a swimming pool, gym and terrace, as well as one parking space and one storeroom per home. The construction work is expected to be completed in December 2020.

Original story: Idealista 

Translation/Summary: Carmel Drake

Acciona Acquires Banesto’s Former Headquarters from Banco Santander

8 February 2019

With the deal, Santander continues its policy of the divestment and reallocation of its portfolio of real estate assets, while trying to recover the ownership of the ‘Financial City.’

Santander has sold Acciona the complex of buildings that the bank owned on calle Mesena in Madrid, and which once housed the former headquarters of Banesto and until a year ago was the headquarters of Santander Spain, according to sources close to the transaction.

It complex comprises a set of seven buildings with a total area of ​​about 104,000 square meters, located in a residential area north of the city.

With this operation, Santander continues its policy of the divestment and reallocation of its portfolio of real estate assets, while trying to recover ownership of its ‘Financial City’, located in Boadilla del Monte, and where it has its headquarters. The bank recently appealed the courts’ decision to award the complex to the brothers Simon and David Reuben.

For its part, the deal marks Acciona’s first major acquisition after it reactivated its commitment to the real estate sector two years ago.

Original Story: El Confidencial

Translation: Richard Turner

Blackstone Obtains a c. €2bn Mega-Loan for Testa

19 December 2018 – Expansión

The Socimi Testa held an extraordinary General Shareholders’ Meeting on Tuesday, where it reduced the number of members of its Board of Directors from 11 to 5. The new governing body includes three people proceeding from the new majority shareholder, the investor group Blackstone.

Testa Residencial is going to sign a mega-loan amounting to €1.943 billion, which it had already agreed in principle after the US fund Blackstone takes control of the rental home Socimi with the purchase of 80.6% of its share capital within the next few days.

The loan, equivalent to the amount that the purchase of the firm has cost the fund (around €1.52 billion) along with the debt held by the Socimi, has been agreed with Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Société Générale and Santander itself, Blackstone’s partner in Testa with 18% of its share capital.

This bank financing was agreed during the first meeting of Testa’s new Board of Directors following the restructuring of the management body conducted hours before, at the General Shareholders’ Meeting, when entry was granted to Blackstone.

By virtue of this restructuring, Testa’s Board has been reduced to five members, from the previous number of eleven. The fund has appointed three representatives to the Board, one of which, Diego San José, will also be the President of the Socimi, a role held until now by Ignacio Moreno.

The other two chairs at the table will continue to be occupied by the current CEO, Wolfgang Beck, and the director Miguel Oñate. In this way, the Board seeks to ensure continuity in the management of the real estate firm and to continue benefitting from Oñate’s experience and knowledge.

New strategy

Despite this continuity in management, at the first meeting of Testa’s Board, with Blackstone in the driving seat, a resolution was taken to approve a new strategy for the company, which had been planning to invest €550 million in the purchase of new rental homes to add to its existing portfolio of 10,700 flats.

The new strategy involves “analysing the eventual purchase of new homes depending on the circumstances at play in each case”. Moreover, Blackstone has raised Testa’s current leverage limit, situated at 35% of its asset value, and has reduced the dividend payment to the “legal minimum”.

In terms of the super-loan, it is being guaranteed by the assets of the Socimi itself, worth €2.3 billion in May when it was considering making its debut on the main stock market, and which will be signed with a two-year term, with the possibility of three annual extensions.

Dividend

Before changing the dividend policy, the Board also agreed to distribute a payment to the shareholders leaving the Socimi as well as to the new shareholders.

Specifically, it is going to pay €7.612 per share to the shareholders that leave the company after selling their stakes to Blackstone, in other words, to BBVA, Acciona and Merlin and to Santander for the proportion of shares that it has also sold.

Moreover, Testa will pay €0.035 per share to those players that will be its shareholders once the sale and purchase agreement has been signed within the next few days, in other words, to Blackstone and Santander, as well as to a group of minority shareholders who own 0.5%.

With the acquisition of this Socimi, Blackstone is strengthening its position as the largest owner of rental homes in Spain, with around 24,000 homes through its various firms and Socimis. Moreover, it is consolidating its position as one of the largest real estate owners in the country, with an asset portfolio worth more than €20 billion.

Original story: Expansión

Translation: Carmel Drake

Colau Halts Investments in Barcelona’s 22@ District

10 December 2018 – Catalunya Press

Colau’s municipal government has halted several investments in the 22@ district of Barcelona, which affects companies such as Acciona, Värde Partners and Metrovacesa.

According to sources in the real estate sector, several multinationals will also end up missing out, including the French company Bouygues, the family business Espais and private funds, such as Semillas Fito.

The histories of each firm are very varied. Shaftesbury purchased an abandoned factory in 2017, where it wants to build an office building spanning 16,000 m2, a turnkey project where the multinational technology firm Cisco is going to open a research centre for intelligent cities. The land purchase involved an investment of around €10 million, according to El Confidencial.

The US firm Värde spent €50 million in total during 2017 buying land in the area affected by the revised plans of Colau, who now wants to modify the urban planning arrangements, which will mean the suspension of all projects. It was one of the largest land operations of last year in Barcelona, involving 52,000 m2 of buildable office space. At stake, a €70 million investment, which is now under threat.

Acciona has been in the area since 2001 and is the owner of an entire block between Calles Perú, Bolivia, Fluvia and Selva de Mar, which spans a surface area of 53,380 m2 and where it wants to build 33,200 m2 of office space.

Sources in the real estate sector indicate that the suspension of all of these projects, involving approximately 2 million m2 of office space, is only going to serve to put more pressure on prices in the consolidated 22@ area, which has now been completed south of La Diagonal, where Torre Glòries and the other offices are now occupied. In other words, prices will rise.

Original story: Catalunya Press

Translation: Carmel Drake

Who are Spain’s Largest Residential Landlords?

11 October 2018 – El País

Every month, they receive rent from thousands of tenants who live in the thousands of flats that they own. They are the large landlords of Spain, although it is worth noting one important point: even though between them, they own more than 120,000 residential rental assets, that figure accounts for just 5% of all of the homes on the rental market. In Spain, the stock of rental housing – which exceeds 2.3 million properties, according to calculations from the Ministry of Development – is still dominated by individuals above all. At the other end of the spectrum, that of companies, it is not easy to draw a clear map of who’s who in the Spanish market. There are banks, investment funds, Socimis, real estate companies, servicers, managers…the difference is substantial: some are owners of houses whilst others specialise only in administering the properties.

The properties intersect between these two larges groups. The homes of a bank may belong to a real estate company owned by the entity itself and be administrated by its manager, which in turn, may be responsible for the houses of other companies. Or a fund may own several servicers, the name given to the platforms that, since the crisis, have absorbed a large proportion of the toxic assets (both properties and mortgages) owned by the banks, and that in turn, may be entrusted with the administration of some of the homes by the banks. The examples are simpler if we look at specific cases. What follows is a portrait of the main protagonists of the residential rental market in Spain. Seven companies that control portfolios that come close to or exceed 10,000 assets each, according to figures facilitated by them and by other sources in the sector.

Blackstone. This real estate investment fund is well on its way to becoming the largest owner of rental housing in Spain. It entered the market in 2013 with the purchase of a portfolio of social housing properties that the Town Hall of Madrid, led at the time by Ana Botella, put up for sale. Those 1,860 homes were just the start of a portfolio that now contains around 32,000 properties. Since then, Blackstone has acquired thousands of toxic assets from entities such as Banco Popular and Catalunya Caixa. From the real estate arm of the latter, CX Inmobiliaria, a subsidiary of the US fund emerged, which is now responsible for managing most of its rental homes. Anticipa is a specialist servicer in what is known as “fragmented management”. Its 15,000 homes do not form part of blocks of buildings, but rather they are scattered all over the country. In addition to that portfolio, Fidere manages 6,200 properties. That Socimi (…) was created specifically after the operation was closed with the Town Hall of Madrid and then continued to add other residential assets to its portfolio, which unlike Anticipa’s form part of blocks and urbanisations. The latest blow, in terms of the effect on the market, came last month, with Blackstone’s agreement to purchase 70.01% of Testa. With the control of that Socimi – which until then belonged to Santander, BBVA, Acciona and Merlin – around 32,000 rental assets are now under the orbit of the US fund, making it the largest landlord in Spain.

CaixaBank. Until recently, the Catalan entity was the largest owner of rental homes and it is still in the top three. Unlike the other banks, which succumbed to the pressure to sell to interested investors, the former Caixa owns 27,557 residential rental assets through its real estate arm Building Center. The entity’s own manager, Servihabitat, is responsible for managing those assets, and its portfolio also includes assets entrusted by other owners, taking its total to 42,163 assets. Of those 28,549 are homes (and the remainder are storerooms and parking spaces).

Banco Sabadell. A very similar example to CaixaBank. In this case, the entity’s own servicer, Solvia, is responsible for managing its residential rental assets. Its rental portfolio comprises around 32,000 residential assets and, of those, 74% belong to Sabadell, making it the third largest landlord in Spain with around 23,600 assets.

Haya. In fourth place on the list is the servicer owned by Cerberus. The investment fund created it after acquiring some of Bankia’s real estate portfolio. Then it increased it with purchases from other banks such as Santander. At the end of 2017, based on the most recent data provided by the company, it managed around 14,100 assets.

Azora. This manager administers around 11,000 homes on behalf of other companies and Socimis. Its main clients include Lazora, a company recently recapitalised by CBRE GIP and Madison, which owns 6,800 assets, and Encasa Cibeles, which has 2,500 assets and is owned by the investment bank Goldman Sachs.

Sareb. The (…) bad bank concentrated more than €50 billion in toxic assets during the crisis, including both mortgages and properties. Its objective was, and still is, to divest them, but in the meantime, it has been capitalising what it can. One of the ways is placing some of its properties up for rent. It has more than 10,000 in its portfolio, but it does not manage them directly: it has distributed the management of 5,223 units between Altamira, Haya, Servihabitat and Solvia. The 1,383 that form part of Témpore, a Socimi owned by Sareb, are administered by Azora. Finally, it has around 4,000 that it is reserving for social housing rentals and that it is handing over on a piecemeal basis as one-off agreements are reached with autonomous regions and large town Halls.

Altamira. Another servicer, which belongs to Apollo and Banco Santander. Its rental portfolio comprises 12,500 properties including tertiary assets. Most, around 9,700, are residential assets and belong to Santander or Sareb.

Original story: El País (by José Luis Aranda)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Acciona Sells its Stake in Testa to Blackstone for €379M

8 October 2018 – Eje Prime

Blackstone is continuing to increase its stake in Testa. After acquiring the majority of the company in September, by purchasing the shares owned by Merlin, BBVA and Santander, now the US fund is buying the 20% stake that Acciona owns in the rental home Socimi for €379 million, according to a statement filed by the company with Spain’s National Securities and Exchange Commission (CNMV).

The closure of the operation, which has not been formalised yet, is conditional upon the completion of the sale of 50.01% of Testa’s share capital, which Blackstone agreed with Merlin, BBVA and Santander for €948 million. The fund will pay the real estate arm of Acciona €14.32 for each share that it owns in the Socimi, whereby assigning the company a total value of €1.895 billion.

Testa, which has been listed on the Alternative Investment Market (MAB) since July, owns a portfolio of assets containing more than 10,700 homes, which gave the company a market capitalisation of €1.833 billion on the day that it made its stock market debut.

Original story: Eje Prime

Translation: Carmel Drake