9 November 2018 – Economía Digital
Mapfre acknowledged in its annual report for 2017 that its real estate strategy “was focused on the divestment of non-strategic assets”. That strategy has intensified in 2018: the Spanish insurance company has started a major sales operation, involving more than 250 assets, which now have a “for sale” sign hanging over them. The divestment will materialise next year.
According to sources speaking to Economía Digital, Mapfre has engaged Solvia, the real estate firm still owned by Banco Sabadell – which is up for sale itself and which is expected to change hands before the end of the year – to exclusively market 256 real estate assets located across Spain, although they are particularly concentrated in Barcelona, Valencia and Madrid.
The most important assets in this portfolio are six plots in Madrid, Las Palmas and Mallorca, whose sale is expected before the end of this year. The other assets are essentially commercial premises that Mapfre owns as investment assets and leases to third parties. The divestment period will run until 31 December 2019.
The plots and offices that the insurance company wants to sell are located in around a dozen Spanish provinces. Approximately, half of them are situated in three autonomous regions: the Community of Valencia, Cataluña and Madrid, although the firm also has assets in Galicia, Andalucía, Aragón and Navarra.
When consulted by this newspaper, Mapfre and Solvia did not deny the operation but they did decline to comment. Sources at the insurance company have explained that the company is constantly rotating its real estate assets and searching for others of more value, although they have not explained whether the company is currently investing or not.
Mapfre’s real estate sales
The truth is that in 2016 and 2017, Mapfre completed some major real estate divestments, but it did not get rid of anything close to 250 assets in either year. Last year, it sold properties for €130 million, mainly corresponding to four large assets: a plot in Madrid for €5.5 million; a building also in Madrid for €72 million; and two plots in Palma de Mallorca for €22.5 million. With these sales, the company chaired by Antonio Huertas (pictured above) obtained capital gains of €65 million.
In 2016, the entity’s property sales were clearly impacted by the sale of a majority stake in Torre Mapfre in Barcelona. First, it tried to sell that property to an investor who wanted to convert it into a Four Seasons hotel, but after failing to obtain the necessary permits due to Ada Colau’s moratorium, it sold 66% to the Fundación Mapfre for €175.4 million and renovated it.
Mapfre’s real estate risk amounts to around €3 billion. Specifically, it closed 2017 with properties that had a market value of €2.945 billion, around €170 million lower than in 2016. More than €1.2 billion correspond to own-use properties, such as headquarters and offices, whilst almost €1.7 billion are investment assets, including the portfolio that the entity has put up for sale through Solvia (…).
Original story: Economia Digital (by Xavier Alegret)
Translation: Carmel Drake