Irea: What Led to Last Year’s Record Inv’t in Spain’s Hotel Sector?

12 January 2018 – Hosteltur

Last year saw investment in the Spanish hotel sector break all records, with investors spending €3.907 billion on transactions involving existing hotels, properties for conversion into hotels and land for the construction of hotels. That figure represents an increase of almost 80% with respect to 2016, according to Miguel Vázquez, Managing Partner of the Hotels Division at Irea; and was the result of the sale of 182 establishments comprising 28,813 rooms, with an average price per room of €119,000, compared with an average price per room of €92,000 in 2016 and of €85,000 in 2015, which represents an increase of 40% in just two years (…).

According to the Irea Director, this investment boom was driven “not only by the greater number of operations but also by the fact that the prices of the assets sold were higher as they were coming onto the market after being repositioned in recent years. The types of investors have also changed, as have their demands in terms of returns: around 5-6% in the urban segment and around 6-7% in the holiday segment, given that we are no longer seeing as many opportunistic funds entering the market (…)”.

In fact, he has quantified that “more than 2,000 holiday hotels still need to be renovated and repositioned. There is a wide range of opportunities that the funds are focusing on, in search of agreements with small chains at times of generational changes and when they are interested in selling…or not, because the strong buyer pressure is continuing to motivate owners who are not typically sellers to put their assets on the market, especially independent operators. And that is leading to the entry into the market of large holiday hotel portfolios, which is what investors are backing Spain for, as well as independent hotels”.

Forecasts for 2018

And after “the stratospheric data of 2017”, in the words of Vázquez, “the inertia with respect to 2018 is very positive, the year is starting off very well”, although he thinks that hotel investment will moderate and “the effect of the uncertainty in Cataluña will make it very difficult for us to see a repeat of last year’s figures”.

Nevertheless, he cites three operations that should be resolved during the first few months of this year: the completion of the purchase of the Alua portfolio by Hispania (…); the sale of a portion of the Ayre hotel portfolio, which is currently on the market; and the launch of a hotel Socimi by a financial entity with 15 establishments, which could take place soon.

Vázquez estimates that the investments already committed for the first few months of the year identified by Irea amount to €4 billion, comprising mainly new build projects, taking advantage of the increase recorded in the purchase of land for the construction of hotels, with operations in Bilbao, San Sebastián, the south of Tenerife, Barcelona and Sevilla.

In terms of the strengths in the market, besides the repositioning of hotels that is leading to an improvement in competitiveness and the appeal of Spain as a destination, the Director highlighted “the magnet effect of qualified investors such as Blackstone, which are reinforcing Spain as a destination for hotel investment” (…).

Weaknesses: overheating

Vázquez highlighted the overheating of prices that is happening in destinations such as the Canary Islands, where the average (sales) price per room has increased to €152,000, compared to the national average of €119,000, although, it should also be taken into account that “the operation that carried the most weight in terms of those figures was Sabadell’s sale of HI Partners to Blackstone (…), involving high quality, repositioned hotels, which increased prices”.

In fact, the most expensive prices were recorded in Barcelona and Madrid, which holds the record for the sale of the most expensive room with Operación Canalejas, for approximately €1.4 million, whereby exceeding the figure of €1.2 million recorded during the sale of Hotel Villa Magna (…).

In the Balearic Islands, as the director acknowledges, “there is still more margin because there are a lot of hotels there that still need repositioning and, although there is price inflation, it is not as marked as in the Canary Islands, which benefit from having year-round demand and five years of high occupancy rates, which drives up prices”.

Original story: Hosteltur

Translation: Carmel Drake

ECI & Matutes Negotiate the Sale of Ayre Hotels for €200M

12 January 2018 – Expansión

Advanced conversations / The retail giant and hotel chain want to cash in on the sale of a hotel portfolio comprising five establishments and more than 800 rooms.

El Corte Inglés and Grupo Matutes want to take advantage of the good times that the tourist sector is enjoying and the investor appetite for the real estate market to sell some of the assets in the Ayre chain – a brand of urban hotels, which they jointly control (50:50) – and make some money.

Specifically, the groups are finalising the sale of a portfolio comprising five hotels, with more than 800 rooms, located in Madrid, Barcelona, Oviedo and Córdoba, worth around €200 million, according to sources in the sector. Those sources indicate that the two companies have already received several offers and that the operation could be closed during the first quarter of the year.

Ayre was created in 2006 as the urban brand of the Palladium Hotel Group – then known as Fiesta and belonging to the Grupo Empresas Matutes (GEM) –. At the end of that year, El Corte Inglés purchased a 50% stake in the chain, through Parinver, its holding company. The retail group classified that acquisition as an operation of a financial nature at the time.

Currently, the urban chain Ayre owns 10 hotels in Madrid, Barcelona, Sevilla, Valencia, Córdoba and Oviedo. Last summer, the companies decided to put half of the assets up for sale and reposition at least two of the other establishments – the hotels in Valencia and Sevilla – under the Only You brand, the premium sub-brand of Ayre.

The company that owns Ayre is FST Hotels, controlled equally by Fiesta Hotels & Resorts (Grupo Matutes) and Parinver (El Corte Inglés). FST Hotels, which is headquartered in Palma de Mallorca, closed 2016 with turnover of €49.4 million, up by 14% and a net profit of €4.2 million, up by 100% compared to 2015, according to the most recent accounts filed with the Commercial Registry.

The President of the Company is Abel Matutes Juan, whilst Florencio Lasaga, the director of El Corte Inglés and President of the Ramón Areces Foundation (its largest shareholder) serves as the Vice-President. FST Hotels also has Jesús Nuño de la Rosa, the CEO of El Corte Inglés, on its Board, as well as Carlos Martínez Echevarría and Cristina Álvarez Guil, both directors of the retail group; and Abel Matutes Prats, Director General of Palladium, amongst others.

The operation forms part of the strategy of Grupo Palladium, whose objective is to grow through hotel management, and move from being an owner to a manager, in line with other Spanish chains. Palladium, which is headquartered in Ibiza and is more than 40 years old, has 50 hotels in six countries – Spain, Mexico, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Italy and Brazil – and operates three other brands besides Ayre: Palladium Hotels & Resorts, Fiesta Hotels & Resorts and Ushuaïa.

Meanwhile, El Corte Inglés would add the sale of this hotel portfolio to the list of non-strategic divestments that the group has undertaken in recent months: in November, it reached an agreement with the fund GPF to sell it the management of its Motortown workshops, located in 55 of its shopping centres; in October, the company chaired by Dimas Gimeno sold 40% of Torre Serrano to Infinorsa for €50 million; and in September, it sold off a logistics warehouse in La Bisbal del Penedès (Tarragona). The group has also sold buildings in Madrid, Barcelona and Sevilla, amongst other cities, in recent months.

Original story: Expansión (by R. Arroyo and V. M. Osorio)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Matutes To Expand Hotel Only You In Madrid

28 January 2015 – Expansión

Palladium, the hotel chain owned by the former minister and businessman Abel Matutes is strengthening its commitment to Madrid by expanding its Hotel Only You. The success of the boutique hotel, which opened its doors in 2013 and is located in Calle Barquillo, has encouraged the company to lease the adjoining building, which will allow it to add 50 rooms taking hotel’s capacity to 125 rooms in total; nine of these will be suites.

In 2014, Palladium recorded turnover of €429 million, an increase of 10% on the previous year. The hotel chain, which brings together 50 hotels and 14,000 rooms, will invest €80 million in three hotel projects this year, covering 1,280 rooms. In May, it will open the Grand Palladium White Island Resort & Spa in Ibiza. This will be followed by the opening of two new hotels between 2015 and 2016: one under the Ayre brand in Madrid, opposite the Atocha train station and the other, the Hard Rock Hotel in Tenerife.

Original story: Expansión (by Y. Blanco)

Translation: Carmel Drake