ASG Homes Negotiates the Sale of 1,000 Rental Homes to Institutional Investors

19 June 2019 – Expansión

ASG Homes, the property development arm of the European manager ASG, is following in the footsteps of many of the major property developers in Spain by putting up for sale 1,000 rental homes.

The announcement comes in response to interest from institutional investors in acquiring and managing portfolios of rental homes, given the booming demand in the rental market.

Specifically, ASG Homes is negotiating the sale of 3 of its developments in San Sebastián, Madrid and Sevilla, which will be worth €200 million once finished, with investment funds, Socimis and family offices.

ASG Homes had planned to hold onto the properties and manage them itself but the strong interest from investors has resulted in a change of tack. In this way, the company is emulating the strategies of several listed property developers, such as Metrovacesa and Aedas Homes.

In total, ASG Homes has a landbank spanning 500,000 m2 with the capacity to build 5,000 homes distributed across Madrid, Alicante, Estepona, Marbella, Salamanca, Barcelona, Sevilla and Valencia. It launched its business in Spain in 2013 and invests not only in the residential sector, but also in the hotel, shopping centre and office segments.

Original story: Expansión (by Rebeca Arroyo)

Translation/Summary: Carmel Drake

Hard Rock to Open a 504-Room Hotel in Barcelona

15 May 2019 – Expansión

The Hard Rock International group has reached an agreement with the fund manager ASG to open a hotel in San Adriá de Besós on a plot of land acquired by the real estate firm.

The luxury establishment, which will be known as the Hard Rock Hotel Barcelona will have 504 rooms, will open in 2022 and will involve an investment of €200 million. The hotel will span a surface area of more than 30,000 m2 and will have two restaurants, a sports bar, terraces and a rooftop swimming pool and bar.

This is the second agreement that the two companies have signed to develop a hotel project in Spain, after they reached a similar deal last year to open a 4-star establishment in Madrid, in the Atocha neighbourhood.

Original story: Expansión (by Rocío Ruiz)

Translation/Summary: Carmel Drake

ASG is on a Mission to Purchase Undeveloped Plots in Sevilla

5 March 2019 – Diario de Sevilla

Buildable land is extremely scarce in Sevilla and as such, the investment funds looking to build new homes in the Andalucían capital have limited options when it comes to sourcing plots. They are being forced to buy sites on the outskirts of the city whose development is blocked by any number of urban development obstacles or by a lack of basic infrastructure.

One of the most active funds in this regard is ASG Homes, the residential division of ASG in Spain, which wants to build 1,000 homes in Sevilla Este. It already has more than 500 units under construction, but in order to execute the rest of its plan, it needs planning permission to be unblocked on one of the many plots located in Higuerón Norte, San Nicolás, Buen Aire, most of Santa Bárbara, Torreblanca Este and Oeste, Palmas Altas and Pítamo Sur. Together, they have the capacity for the development of 25,000 new homes.

The CEO of ASG Homes, Víctor Pérez-Arias says that whilst his fund prefers to acquire developable plots, in the case of Sevilla, it is willing to purchase plots that still need to pass through an urbanisation process, given the lack of available alternatives.

He added that his fund is involved in several operations of this kind in Alicante, Madrid and the Costa del Sol, and that it is also interested in the rental home sector given the high demand in Sevilla and across Spain in general.

Original story: Diario de Sevilla (by Ana S. Ameneiro)

Summary/Translation: Carmel Drake

ASG Joins Forces with Hampton by Hilton to Build a €40M Hotel in Barcelona

27 February 2019 – Eje Prime

ASG is launching a new hotel project in Spain. The group has formalised an agreement to build a Hampton by Hilton hotel containing 242 rooms in Barcelona. Construction work on the complex has already started and is expected to finish in the first quarter of 2021. The project is predicted to involve an investment of around €40 million.

The German manager is going to build the establishment opposite the Fira de Barcelona, in the Plaza Europa business district, according to reports in a statement. Hampton by Hilton Barcelona Fira Gran Vía will operate by virtue of a franchise contract with Borealis Hotel Group, which has signed a long-term rental agreement to operate the new hotel.

This is the third investment made to date in the Spanish hotel sector by funds backed by ASG. Hard Rock International joined forces with ASG in October to open a hotel that the latter is building in a former office building in the museum district of Madrid.

Moreover, ASG is undertaking the renovation of a hotel in the historical centre of Málaga to position it in the luxury segment. The Hampton by Hilton hotel in Barcelona is an investment carried out by ASG’s Iberia Fund I (…).

Original story: Eje Prime

Translation: Carmel Drake

ASG Invests €25M in the First Hard Rock Hotel in Madrid

10 October 2018 – Eje Prime

ASG Homes is converting one of its assets in Madrid. The real estate group is investing €25 million to transform one of its municipal office buildings into a four-star hotel. For this operation, the group has joined forces with the Hard Rock International brand, which has a presence in more than 74 countries and which is now debuting with its first hotel in the Spanish capital.

The hotel will have 159 rooms and will be located in the Madrilenian district of Atocha, opposite the Reina Sofia National Art Centre Museum. ASG is also planning to build an urban garden on the rooftop.

For Brian Betel, Managing Partner of  ASG Iberia Advisors, “this office building has a lot more potential as a hotel thanks to its proximity to the main tourist attractions in Madrid, as well as to the business centre and shopping district”.

ActivumSG in Spain (which operates under the brand ASG in the country) acquired the asset in 2015 for €15 million. The former owner of the building, which has a surface area of 7,800 m2, was the multinational AEW Europe.

The objective of the operation involves unblocking the asset for the group’s investors and taking a step forward in the company’s growth strategy in Spain. Similarly, sources at ASG Iberia indicate that they have opted for Hard Rock due to its “international reach”.

At present, the portfolio of ActivumSG in Spain comprises a dozen assets, with the exception of two, which were divested in recent months, located on c/Manuel de Falla and on c/Santa Leonor, both in Madrid. Even so, the operation that caused the fund to jump to the fore was its purchase of the Mercado de Fuencarral.

Original story: Eje Prime

Translation: Carmel Drake

ASG Completes Purchase of the Ruta de la Plata Shopping Centre

5 October 2018 – Eje Prime

ASG is now the owner of 100% of the Ruta de la Plata shopping centre. After completing the acquisition of the hypermarket, the real estate group has now acquired the entire commercial complex located in Cáceres, according to reports from the company.

Inaugurated in 1993, Ruta de la Playa has a surface area of 8,300 m2. ASG is planning to carry out a project to refurbish and modernise the facilities during the last quarter of this year and the first half of 2019.

The objective of the company is to generate a new offer in both the retail and restaurant areas of the complex. The transformation of the commercial surface area is expected to make way for the entry of up to twenty new operators.

Currently, the portfolio of ActivumSG in Spain (which operates in the country under the brand ASG) comprises a dozen assets, with the exception of the two that it divested in recent months, located on c/ Manuel de Falla and c/Santa Leonor, both in Madrid. Even so, the operation that caused the fund to jump to the fore was its purchase of the Mercado de Fuencarral.

Original story: Eje Prime

Translation: Carmel Drake

ASG Homes Is Planning to Build 10,000 Homes in Spain

9 April 2018 – Cinco Días

Metrovacesa, Aedas, Neinor, Vía Célere, Aelca… they are the everyday names of the new players that are reviving the house building sector following the real estate crisis. They are the companies that have stolen the limelight thanks to their ambitious plans and the return of these kinds of businesses to the stock market. But there is a quieter successor that is silently gathering a giant portfolio of land and with some ambitious plans of its own in the residential development sector. The company in question is ASG Homes, backed by the British fund manager ASG Capital Management and its subsidiary ASG Iberia.

Recently, the initiative has been baptised ASG Homes, the brand that will reach out to potential homebuyers. That will be the logo that clients will see when they visit one of the developments. Behind the brand is the ASG Iberia team, which in recent years has been acquiring a collection of plots in different provinces across Spain to accumulate 500,000 m2 of land in total, one of the largest portfolios in the country.

“We are the great dark horse”, recognises Víctor Pérez Arias, CEO of ASG Homes for Spain and Portugal. The current portfolio of land gives the company the possibility of building 5,000 homes. “The aspiration is to double our existing capacity”, he adds. That means investing more over the coming months to accumulate a portfolio with the potential for the construction of 10,000 homes. To date, the company has invested €400 million of its own funds to obtain its current land portfolio.

The property developer focuses on operations involving the purchase of debt with real estate collateral and on complex situations to reduce the prices it pays. Precisely for those reasons, the company rules out competitive tenders for acquiring land.

Currently, its plots are located in Valencia, Alicante, Málaga, Costa del Sol, Madrid, Salamanca and Sevilla. Specifically, in the Andalucían capital, the company is already planning to build 1,100 homes. So far, it has not entered the market in Barcelona, above all because prices are high in the city, but it does not rule out future opportunities.

Based on data provided by the companies, ASG is positioned in fifth place in the ranking of property developers planning to build the most homes, with around 2,000 units in the pipeline. It comes in behind only Neinor, Metrovacesa, Aelca and Amenabar.

Moreover, this year, the property developer plans to sell 1,500 new homes and hand over 500 homes to its clients. The market is looking at all of these new companies with a magnifying glass, above all of those that are listed on the stock market, to check whether they are capable of fulfilling their plans. Pérez Arias says that the company is already handing over its first developments in Alicante.

In Spain, these types of international funds have starred in the recovery of the house building sector, either through the creation of new property developers, such as in the case of ASG, or by refloating companies with problems.

The new property developers include Neinor, backed initially by Lone Star, after it purchased Kutxabank’s real estate business for €935 million. It was the first property developer to debut on the stock market in more than a decade and its main shareholder has already collected its profits after selling all of its share on the market.

It was followed on the stock market by Aedas Homes, backed by Castlelake. The 100-year old Metrovacesa also returned to the stock exchange, in that case, led by Santander and BBVA. Moreover, the fund Värde has two property developers that are currently sounding out the same path (Aelca and Vía Célere). In turn, Baupost has created Q21 Real Estate. Cerberus has also acquired the historical Inmoglacier and in the same vein, Bain Capital has purchased Habitat. Another example is the alliance between Gestilar and Morgan Stanley.

Original story: Cinco Días (by Alfonso Simón Ruiz)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Property Developers Eagerly Await Blackstone & Cerberus’s Major Land Sales

26 February 2018 – Cinco Días

The residential market is going to undergo a real shake-up over the coming months. From the summer onwards, Spain’s residential property developers expect the main investment funds to place on the market the large land banks that they have been stockpiling following their purchases from the banks, whereby alleviating the shortage of plots for construction in those areas where activity has resumed. Thousands of millions in investments are at stake.

Specifically, the major stars are going to be Blackstone, which took control of Popular’s toxic property portfolio last year, and Cerberus, which did the same with assets from BBVA. Moreover, managers such as Bain Capital, with land proceeding from Liberbank, will also play a significant role.

The other major player that is going to star in this market over the coming months is Sareb, which is preparing its largest-ever land transaction under a new formula. It is looking to team up with a large property developer to contribute plots worth €800 million and integrate its residential business in exchange for entering the share capital of a company that will be listed on the stock market in the medium term. In fact, large funds are arriving to compete with the bad bank to supply land (…).

“Expectations are high”, says Pablo Méndez, Director of Capital Markets at the consultancy firm Savills Aguirre Newman. “We expect the funds to bring products onto the market during the course of this year. They are going to want to maximise the value of their land, and so they will sell it on a piecemeal basis. We do not expect to see large portfolios for sale, at least not in Madrid, Cataluña or Levante”, he explained. “Nevertheless, I think that we may see portfolio sales in other areas that are starting to reactivate and that are of interest to real estate companies, such as Galicia, Asturias, Santander, Burgos, Tarragona and other large cities”.

House building activity has reactivated timidly in Spain, with 80,000 new house starts last year and with the objective for the sector of reaching around 150,000 new homes per year as the healthy cruising speed. New companies, such as the listed firms Neinor and Aedas, together with others such as Aelca, Vía Célere, ASG, Amenabar and Metrovacesa (which returned to the stock market earlier this month) have boosted activity. But there has been a shortage of buildable land (plots with the necessary permits) in Spain’s large cities, above all in Madrid and Barcelona.

Simultaneously, the banks have been forced to divest property from their balance sheets, under pressure from the regulations set by the European Central Bank, like the entities that received public help did back in 2012, when they transferred their toxic assets to Sareb. In the funds, the banks have found the best partners for getting rid of their properties to start putting them on the market (…).

“We estimate that the large funds have land worth more than €15 billion”, calculates Samuel Población, Director of Residential and Land, at the consultancy firm CBRE.

Blackstone is going to become one of the key players over the next few months. The US fund purchased 51% of Popular’s portfolio worth €10 billion from Santander. Of that total, 42% corresponds to land. The agreement is not expected to be definitively closed until March. From then on, Aliseda will start to sell those plots. The new CEO of that servicer is Eduard Mendiluce, who is also continuing to serve as the head of Anticipa, the company that Blackstone uses to manage its housing portfolios.

Meanwhile, Cerberus acquired 80% of BBVA’s real estate portfolio for €4 billion. Almost 80% of those assets comprise plots of land. In that case, they are waiting until June, for the operation to materialise, before starting to place any portfolios on the market. That sales mandate will be entrusted to Haya Real Estate, the servicer that Cerberus is planning to list on the stock market. Note, the US fund also acquired a majority stake in the residential property developer Inmoglacier, which is expected to receive a small proportion of the plots to make it grow and become one of the new stars of the sector.

Finally, Bain Capital, on a smaller scale, acquired around €144 million of land from Liberbank, at the same time as taking over the Catalan property developer Habitat (…).

Original story: Cinco Días (by Alfonso Simón Ruiz)

Translation: Carmel Drake

ASG Purchases 19 Gas Stations in Northern Spain from Axa

6 February 2018 – Eje Prime

Activum SG is backing alternative investments. The company, which operates in Spain under the name ASG, has acquired 19 gas stations in the north of Spain, which had been owned until now by Axa Real Estate.

The assets are located in areas adjacent to large shopping centres and hypermarkets and are linked to long-term lease contracts with Eroski and Carrefour. The purchase has been carried out through Fund V, which ASG has just closed and which forms part of its diversification strategy, according to El Confidencial.

In 2011, Axa Real Estate acquired a portfolio of 28 gas stations from Eroski for €55 million. Following that operation, the supermarket group continued its gas station activity on the basis of a 20-year rental regime.

ActivumSG is expanding rapidly in Spain. At the beginning of the year, the company announced the creation of a new €500 million fund for real estate investments across Europe, as Eje Prime revealed. Of those, three are located in the Spanish market.

Original story: Eje Prime

Translation: Carmel Drake

Vía Célere, Aedas, Neinor & Aelca are Open to Corporate Operations

22 January 2018 – Expansión

Spain’s large property developers are warning that the shortage of land and the slow pace at which licences are being processed will lead to a rise in house prices.

Following the start of the concentration of the large Socimis, with the takeover of Axiare by Colonial as the main exponent, the real estate sector is looking to other companies in the sector to star in the new corporate operations, namely, property developers led by investment funds.

With a land portfolio spanning almost 5 million m2 and more than 10,000 homes under construction, Neinor Homes, Aedas, Vía Célere and Aelca are the leading property developers to have emerged from this current real estate cycle. With the first two listed on the stock market and the second two with plans to that end, their directors say that the commitment from large investment funds and the creation of new property developers is positive, despite the competition. “Competition motivates and helps us. It improves processes, which leads to a better purchase experience for the end customer”, explains Javier Gómez (pictured above, top right (on the left)), CEO and founding partner at Aelca, speaking at the New Housing Industry conference, organised by Expansión and its supplement magazine ‘Su Vivienda’ (Your Home), both part of the El Mundo group.

Operations

Although companies and funds, such as Harbert, Patrizia and ASG, have their own growth plans in the residential market, the shortage of available land for all of them implies that they will have to form alliances between them. “We are in a privileged position. We hold land on our balance sheet for the development of our business plan over the next five years. Having said that, we are obliged to analyse operations that add value for our shareholders, including corporate operations”, said Sergio Gálvez, Director of Business Development at Aedas.

In this context of corporate operations, Vía Célere, which is preparing to debut on the stock market in 2018, and Aelca, have something in common, which, nevertheless, also pushes them apart: their largest shareholder is the US fund manager Värde Partners. “There has been a lot of talk about whether Aelca and Vía Célere could work together, but the structure of and funds and the assets they own are different and that could lead to conflict. We would need to resolve that first”, said Juan Antonio Gómez-Pintado (pictured above, top left), founder and CEO of Vía Célere.

“We think that Spain is a market that is going to be consolidated, where there is space for between five and ten large players and where size is a significant advantage”, reveals Juan Velayos (pictured above, bottom left), who, nevertheless, recognises that it is difficult in his case, since his firm does not have a single controlling shareholder, following the gradual departure of its founder, Lone Star, from the company’s share capital over the last few months.

Original story: Expansión (by Rocío Ruiz and Jesús de las Casas)

Translation: Carmel Drake