Tightened Lending Standards Put Drag on New Developments

8 November 2019 – Developers are complaining of a lack of financing in the sector due to tightened lending standards and the high cost of alternative financing. Spain’s banks are looking to reduce their exposure to the real estate market, at a time when many of them still have extensive amounts of NPLs and REO on their balance sheets. At the same time, alternative financing vehicles often have interest rates reaching up to 10%, making many potential developments economically unviable.

A conference on financing and alternative investment in the real estate sector, organised by the IE Real Estate Club and the Urbanitae real estate investment platform, saw market sources discuss the problems facing the sector.

Developers argued that banks should provide more financing to that they can build the 150,000 homes a year the country requires. Currently, sources say that banks will only extend financing to only the largest developers who can 30% to 40% of the financing using equity. Smaller firms with less access to capital are often unable to get 100% for new developments.

Original Story: Expansión – Carlos Lospitao

Adaptation/Translation: Richard D. K. Turner

Merlin Properties Extends €129-Million Loan to San José

6 November 2019 – Merlin Properties has extended a €129.10 million loan to the San José construction group, part of a recent transaction which saw the Spanish socimi acquire a 14.4% stake in Operation Chamartín. The socimi agreed to pay €168 million as well as grant the loan to San José.

The loan is structured into two tranches, the first, worth 86.39 million euros, has a 20-year maturity and an interest rate of 2%.

The second, €42.72-million tranche, also pays 2%. Merlin structured the loan as a cash deposit to guarantee working capital financing that San José has until October 31. The second tranche will mature on December 2.

Original Story: Expansión

Adaptation/Translation: Richard D. K. Turner

Íbero Capital Lends €80M To Property Developers to Finance 600 New Homes on the Coast

28 March 2019 – El Confidencial

Property developers are finally able to access alternative financing. Over the last 12 months, Íbero Capital Management has granted loans amounting to €80 million to various property developers to finance the construction of more than 600 homes across Spain.

In its latest operation, Íbero CM has signed an agreement with Grupo Sankar to finance six residential projects in the province of Málaga for €40 million. The projects will involve the construction of more than 400 homes, and follow three other projects to which financing was granted (to another property developer) last year in Mijas.

Looking ahead, Íbero CM expects to sign several new loan operations during 2019 to close the year with total financing granted of almost €250 million. The manager is negotiating with national and regional property developers alike in regions such as the Community of Valencia, Andalucía and Madrid.

Alternative financing for residential development projects is finally taking off after years on the fringes. Other companies operating in the sector include MCAP Global Finance, Azora and Oquendo Capital, amongst others.

Original story: El Confidencial (by E. Sanz)

Translation/Summary: Carmel Drake

Izilend to Spend €200M Financing Real Estate Projects in Spain

1 February 2019 – Expansión

Izilend has arrived in Spain with the launch of a vehicle, which has funding of up to €200 million to finance real estate projects in the country.

Since September, the alternative financing firm has already undertaken ten operations worth €20 million and it plans to finance operations amounting to €50 million during the course of this year.

Izilend, which has a presence in Portugal with a real estate crowdfunding platform, forms part of the holding company FS Capital Partners, which also includes a servicer, Fintech, Finsolutia and a financial advisory company (EAFI).

Izilend is thereby joining other alternative financing platforms specialising in the real estate sector that have made their debuts in Spain in recent months, such as Íbero Capital Management, from the US investment fund Oak Hill Advisors, and the firm promoted by Azora and Oquendo.

Focus

In the case of Izilend, the firm focuses on the financing of projects amounting to between €1 million and €10 million. To date, it has financed investors, property developers, cooperatives and Socimis for projects in Madrid, Málaga, Sevilla and the Balearic Islands. The financing fund intends to continue expanding the focus and to finance different types of assets ranging from housing, offices, retail and land in the main cities of Spain and Portugal.

Francisco Jonet, one of the people responsible for Izilend’s business in Spain, explains that the company offers a solution to property developers and real estate investors to develop projects that the traditional banks are not interested in either due to the type of product, the situation of the operation or the response times.

“To date, we have financed firms ranging from small property developers to Socimis, and products ranging from land to residential blocks, located in different provinces around the country”, said Jonet.

Gonzalo Gutiérrez de Mesa, the other person in charge of the fund, forecasts that the demand for alternative financing will double over the next five years and will thereby approach the market rates in more mature countries in Europe, where this type of financing accounts for between 30% and 40% of the total market. “We are creating a new niche in which we believe there is great potential”, adds Gutiérrez.

Original story: Expansión (by Rebeca Arroyo)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Azora & Oquendo Capital Join Forces to Finance the Real Estate Sector with €300M

November 2018 – El Confidencial

The fund manager Azora, created by Fernando Gumucio and Concha Osácar, and Oquendo Capital, the Spanish private debt fund manager led by Daniel Herrero and Alfonso Erhardt, are joining forces to facilitate access to alternative financing for companies in the real estate sector. The alliance is creating a “direct lending” real estate platform, which is going to launch its first fund with €300 million destined to financing debt and all types of operations related to real estate, as well as to direct management mandates for individual operations based on their characteristics.

That is according to confirmation provided by sources close to the agreement speaking to El Confidencial. They indicate that any project worth more than €4-5 million will be considered, in both Spain and Portugal, ranging from the purchase of land and logistics warehouses, to the repositioning of hotel assets and subordinated debt, an area in which Oquendo Capital has a lot of experience, given that it already has three funds dedicated specifically to financing corporate debt.

The main objective of the platform promoted by Azora and Oquendo Capital is to cover a market segment that is looking for alternatives to debt to complement traditional bank financing, given that in the midst of the real estate recovery, access to financing to launch real estate project is continuing to represent a real handicap for many companies in the sector.

According to the sources consulted, the investment strategy that the platform proposes will focus on offering flexible financing solutions for small and medium-sized real estate operations, with a moderate risk profile, accessing those transactions in a unique way based on the combination of the successful trajectories of Azora and Oquendo in the real estate and alternative financing markets.

Alternative financing is taking off

With this fund, three vehicles have now been created in the last three months to facilitate access to financing in the Spanish real estate sector. The first to leap to the fore was Ibero Capital, a platform launched by two former directors of Sareb, Walter de Luna and Luis Moreno, with €400 million on the table. A few days ago, that firm closed a €35 million financing arrangement with a property developer in Málaga. The money will serve to pay for three plots in Mijas for the construction of 147 homes, as well as to repay part of its bank debt and finance some of the construction. The remuneration of this operation involves a fixed cost component plus a variable element, depending on the final result of the project.

Behind that fund is Oak Hill Advisors, one of the largest investment funds in the world, with more than USD 30 billion in assets under management, and which has invested more than €1 billion in Spain since 2005, primarily in real estate projects. According to the founders of Ibero Capital, that operation in Málaga will be followed by three or four more operations over the next few months.

Also, three months ago, Colliers International received the exclusive mandate from MCAP Global Finance, the London subsidiary of the manager New York Marathon Asset Management, to manage €200 million dedicated to the financing of buildable land purchases. The firm led by Mikel Echavarren is finalising its first financing deal amounting to €3 million. In its case, unlike with Ibero Capital, the financing will be restricted to land purchases only.

The financing of real estate projects by non-banking entities is an established market in countries such as the US, the UK and France, but not in Spain, where it is still in the development phase. Investment in these types of projects is characterised by its attractive profitability/risk profile with a focus on capital preservation and regular distributions in the form of interest (…).

Original story: El Confidencial (by E. Sanz)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Stoneweg Invests €200M in Financing of Real Estate Projects

31 August 2018 – El Economista

Last year, the Spanish-Swiss platform Stoneweg, led in Spain by Joaquín Castellví, launched its alternative financing division, to which it has already allocated €200 million to support the development of around 40 real estate projects.

The company headquartered in Geneva (Switzerland) has also raised another €100 million to finance new developments, in which it participates up to a maximum of 60 per cent of the debt.

With the creation of this new line of business, the firm was one of the first to enter the alternative financing market in Spain, a market in which the number of players is growing gradually.

The role that Stoneweg takes in the financing of projects is prior to that of the banks, given that the firm enters in the initial phase of developments, before there is a high level of pre-sales or when a project involves a plot of land that is not yet buildable. For that reason, its financing is more expensive than that offered by the banks, but it provides investors with the opportunity to enter more projects and whereby take full advantage of the upwards cycle currently underway.

Once the developments progress and achieve the parameters requested by the banks, the developers typically cancel the bridge financing in order to resort to traditional means.

In the case of Stoneweg, 50 per cent of the projects in which it has participated to date have been residential, whilst the other half have involved hotels and offices. One of the most significant alliances was closed at the end of last year with Ayco, which subscribed a financing line with an initial drawdown amount of €13 million.

Property developer role

This line of business comes in addition to the firm’s role as a direct investor in the real estate market, where the company has disbursed almost €700 million in recent years. In this way, the firm has starred in one of the largest ever operations in the office market in Barcelona, with the development and subsequent sale of the Luxa Complex in the 22@ district.

The company is continuing to look for opportunities in that segment, both in the Catalan capital and in Madrid, although, currently, housing accounts for the majority of its portfolio, given that it has around 2,000 units under development at different stages.

Through its residential firm Stoneweg Living, the platform has now handed over 150 units and in June, it finished its first development in Madrid, Alfonso X, located in the neighbourhood of Chamberí. Moreover, it recently started work on its first high-end development in the Maresme area of Barcelona, in which it is going to invest around €19 million.

Original story: El Economista (by Alba Brualla)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Ibero CM Grants First Alternative Loan (€35M) To Local Property Developer

6 July 2018 – El Confidencial

Ibero Capital Management, the management firm launched by Walter de Luna and Luis Moreno, both former directors of Sareb and Acciona Inmobiliaria, has just closed the first major alternative financing operation in Spain, for an amount exceeding €35 million, which involves funding to purchase land, repay bank debt and build the project.

Of those €35 million, two thirds will be allocated to the land purchase and to repaying debt, whilst one third – approximately €10 million – will be used for the construction of the project.

The beneficiary is a local property developer in Málaga, which, thanks to this liquidity has been able to acquire three plots located in the Málagan town of Mijas, together with a golf course. It plans to build 145 homes on the land. The plots are not only finalist, the urban planning permissions to be able to start the building work are also very advanced, given that the marketing of the homes will begin immediately, according to explanations provided by Walter de Luna and Luis Moreno, speaking to El Confidencial.

The Ibero CM platform was created by the two directors to facilitate access to alternative financing for property developers and cooperative managers who want to buy land and are unable to obtain bank financing. They have €400 million available to finance developments all over Spain. The money comes from Oak Hill Advisors, one of the largest investment funds in the world, with more than USD 30 billion under management, which has invested more than €1 billion in Spain since 2005, primarily in real estate projects.

Ibero CM has closed this operation in record time, almost two months after announcing its own launch. It currently has several other projects in the pipeline amounting to approximately €100 million, which it hopes to close over the coming weeks and months.

This is the first firm of its kind to be launched in Spain, financing both the capital and debt of property development companies in every phase of the development of their products, including land purchases.

“The financing structure is very flexible since it includes several tranches that finance the acquisition of land, the repayment of bank debt, the payment of taxes and other expenses associated with the transaction and construction of projects (…)”, explain Walter de Luna and Luis Moreno.

“By staying (involved in projects) to the end and sharing in the profits, the financing costs decrease significantly”. And they add that “by sharing in the final profits of the project, the interest rates are not as high as if they were only financing land purchases. And there is not a fixed percentage, given that it depends on the total cost of the constructions that we finance. The greater the cost, the higher the percentage”, say the directors.

For now, Ibero Capital is focusing on finalist land and plots in a very advanced phase of urban planning, and they are centring on the major markets in Levante, Andalucía and Madrid, although they acknowledge that the Madrilenian market “is very expensive and, although we are only looking at the moment, obviously, if we decide to enter, the property developer margin would narrow”. Specifically, the manager is holding conversations with a cooperative manager to finance a project in Madrid. Similarly, they are open to both first and second home projects, whenever the projects are viable.

Unlike the investment funds that have acquired stakes in property developers in recent years, they do not get involved in the management of the companies that they finance. “We are not shareholders in the companies’ share capital, therefore we do not interfere in their decision-making or in their management. We carry out the same controls that any bank would when granting a property developer loan”, they conclude.

Original story: El Confidencial (by E. Sanz)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Stoneweg Invests €50M in Alternative Financing in Spain

12 December 2017 – Eje Prime

Stoneweg is betting on Spain for alternative financing. The Swiss fund, which is headquartered in Geneva and led by the Spaniard Joaquín Castellví, is continuing with its purchase in the country through its real estate platform. And now, it has set its sights on alternative financing, where it has already accumulated investments amounting to €50 million. The idea is that the company will reach €100 million in this line of business in 2018.

The fund, which manages a platform from which it has already disbursed €500 million in just two years, is now expanding its range of businesses in the real estate sector with the financing of operations that have short and medium-term value generation processes. “This line of financing is carried out with coverage of the real estate assets, be they hotels, industrial or commercial properties, or even residential assets. The operations have time horizons of between nine and thirty months”, explains the company in a statement.

Stoneweg will place the focus on the search for opportunities in Madrid, Barcelona and other secondary cities, as well as on tourist and coastal destinations.

Currently, the Swiss fund has a presence in Spain, the USA and Italy, and an investment capacity of €750 million. With two in-house teams in Barcelona and Madrid, its platform holds residential and hotel assets spanning 200,000 m2, as well as offices covering 26,000 m2.

Original story: Eje Prime

Translation: Carmel Drake