Popular Values The Complex That Was Going To House Its New HQ At €400M

17 October 2017 – Expansión

Popular has increased the book value of the real estate complex that was going to house its future headquarters to almost €400 million. The complex, which is still under construction, is being built on two plots that Popular purchased from Vocento in 2008. The plots span a surface area of more than 100,000m2, alongside the A2 motorway in Madrid. The market valuation of the headquarters could amount to €200 million, according to calculations by real estate experts.

The property is one of the unique assets inherited by Santander following its purchase of Popular. For the time being, the group will retain control of the headquarters, given that it has not been included in the batch of assets that Santander is going to transfer to the company that it is going to constitute together with Blackstone. That new company, in which the US firm is going to hold a 51% stake and Santander a 49% stake, will manage the damaged portfolio inherited from Popular. The company will be born with assets on its balance sheet with a gross value of €30,000 million.

Two buildings

The corporate complex of the former Banco Popular comprises two independent buildings, located on both sides of the A2. One of them, on Calle Abelias, is already finished. The second, on Calle Juan Ignacio Luca de Tena, is still under construction. The initial forecast was that the building work would be completed this autumn.

The book value of the property on Calle Abelias amounts to €132 million, according to the most recently published figures, which relate to December 2016. Of that total value, €44 million relates to the cost of the land and €93 million to the investment in the construction of the building. The sum of those two figures equals €137 million, from which €5 million has already been deducted for cumulative depreciation, to arrive at the aforementioned figure of €132 million.

In terms of the building on Calle Luca de Tena, the cost of the land amounts to €112 million. Meanwhile, the value of the construction in progress amounts to €149 million at year-end, up by €74 million compared to 2015. The sum of the two figures gives a global value of €261 million.

The property that has already been finished, on Calle Abelias, was inaugurated in January 2013 and houses Popular’s technological headquarters. The IT migration is one of the most sensitive elements of the merger currently underway between Santander and Popular (…).

Four headquarters

Following the purchase of Popular, Santander now has four large corporate centres in Madrid. On the one hand, it has the Ciudad Financiera, its central headquarters, located in the Madrilenian town of Boadilla del Monte. That building was inaugurated in 2004, has a surface area of 250 hectares and comprises nine office buildings (….). Santander also owns Banesto’s former corporate complex, located on Calle Mesena in Madrid, which is home to the Santander España division. Meanwhile, the group owns the historical headquarters of the now extinct entity Banif, specifically, the small palace located on Castellana 24, which has housed the central services of Openbank, the group’s digital bank since this summer.

Original story: Expansión (by M. Martínez)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Altamar, Amira & Orienta Take Their Student Hall Socimi To The Next Phase

12 September 2017 – Eje Prime

The company, which specialises in student halls of residences, is preparing a new phase of growth involving the acquisition of new assets, as well as changes in its management team following the departure of Fabrizio Agrimi, one of the leaders of the project, who has decided to leave the group to embark on new challenges.

One of the most obvious changes is the new name of the Socimi, which had been called Collie Investment until now, and which will now start operating under the brand Student Properties Spain Socimi. Sources at Altamar say that this is “a much more commercial name, which reflects the activity that the group focuses on”.

Another change facing the company created by the three funds is the loss of one of the directors who was leading the project, Fabrizio Agrimi, who until now was the CEO, partner and member of the analysis and investment team at Atlan Capital. The company, founded in 2006 by Altamar Capital and Aguirre Newman, currently has more than €2,500 million in assets under management.

Before joining Atlan Capital in 2007, Agrimi, who for the time being does not want to give any more details about his next move, had already obtained extensive experience in real estate investments and M&A deals in Spain, the UK and Italy (…).

Agrimi’s role in the new Student Properties Spain Socimi will be taken by Miguel Zurita, a director at Altamar since February 2013. Previously, the executive was a partner at Mercapital and Investment Director at Mexcapital.

The Student Properties Spain Socimi project was launched in March. Backed by the Altamar Capital, Amira Real Estate Asset Management, and Orienta Capital, the initial investment to develop the project was more than €11 million.

For the time being, the company owns one asset in Madrid, which it is renovating to turn it into its first halls of residence for students and in which it has invested almost all of the €11 million with which the Socimi debuted. “The idea now is to continue sounding out the market” – explain sources at Altamar – “we currently own just one asset in Madrid, but we are assessing opportunities in Granada, Salamanca, Sevilla and Valencia, in other words, in the main university cities in Spain”.

Altamar, Orienta and Amira

Altamar Capital Partners is an independent financial services group that strives to provide institutional and high net worth investors with access to alternative investments, amongst other services (…).

The firm was constituted in Spain in 2004 and employs a team of 110 professionals at its offices in Madrid, Barcelona, Santiago de Chile and New York (…).

Meanwhile, Amira Real Estate was founded in 2006 by professionals in the real estate market specialising in the management of equity and real estate investments in Spain. (…). The group specialises in advising domestic and international clients with an interest in the Spanish real estate market, who are looking for a management platform to channel and monetise their investments.

Orienta Capital was created in 2002 and operates out of two headquarters in Spain, located in Bilbao and Madrid. The group, led by a team of professionals with experience in the real estate business, is chaired by Emilio Soroa, a former director at Seguros Bilbao. The team is completed by former directors of Safei, Beta Capital Mees Pierson, Merril Lynch, Morgan Stanley and Banif.

Original story: Eje Prime (by C. Pareja)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Altamira Buys Oitante’s Servicer In Portugal

5 April 2017 – La Vanguardia

Altamira Asset Management and Oitante, the company created to manage Banif’s assets, have agreed to purchase the business unit responsible for managing the latter’s real estate assets and loans (the servicer) in Portugal.

The new servicer will initially manage real estate and financial assets worth more than €1,500 million, according to a statement issued by the manager, which currently has assets under management worth more than €50,000 million.

The manager indicated that the operation has been structured in such a way that ensures “significant” financial support, but it did not reveal any more details.

Alantra acted as the financial advisor to the operation, whilst Linklaters advised Oitante on the legal side and Uría Menéndez-Proença de Carvalho advised Altamira

Original story: La Vanguardia

Translation: Carmel Drake

Santander & Apollo Call Off Altamira Negotiations

30 December 2016 – Vozpópuli

Santander’s repurchase of Altamira has run into trouble.

After months of to-ing and fro-ing, Banco Santander and Apollo have decided to call off their negotiations regarding the possible sale of the 85% stake that the US fund owns in the real estate company. And the reason is price, given that Ana Botín is not willing to meet the expectations of the asset manager chaired by Leon Black. Apollo will not drop its asking price below €1,000 million, whilst Santander’s informal offer amounts to around €800 million, according to several financial sources.

Unless there is a last minute change of heart, all indications are that Altamira’s share capital structure will continue as it is now: with 85% in the hands of Apollo and 15% controlled by Santander. The Spanish bank sold the controlling stake in the real estate company in 2013 for €664 million.

Santander’s intention was to repurchase its stake to create a world-leading property management firm, to administrate its assets in other countries where the default rate is rising, such as in Brazil. Santander engaged Citi to complete this operation. The possible repurchase has been on the table since Ana Botín (pictured above) took over as President of the bank, given that this sale was one of the things that she liked the least from her father’s inheritance.

Botín sees it as a much more expensive way of raising capital than would have been possible to obtain by other means. But unless she can afford a price that will allow Apollo to close this deal at a profit, it is unlikely to go ahead. This change in strategy comes at a time when Apollo is raising a new fund, amounting to more than €4,000 million, to invest in the south of Europe. Given that it has new ammunition to spend from now on, it will value a platform such as Altamira very highly

New strategy

Following this turnaround in negotiations, Apollo has decided to strengthen the future of Altamira be making acquisitions. Santander’s property management firm is well placed in two current acquisition processes: firstly for Unicaja’s real estate arm, GIA, where it is competing with Haya Real Estate; and secondly, for the first bad bank created by the Portuguese State, Oitante, which manages Banif’s problem assets – other players such as Servihabitat (owned by TPG and CaixaBank), Hipoges and Värde Partners (Banco Popular’s real estate shareholder) are also bidding in that tender.

If the latter operation bears fruit, it would be Altamira’s first international venture, and the ideal way for Apollo to generate value from this investment, and obtain more from its sale when it eventually decides to exit.

The fund chaired by Black (one of the 150 wealthiest people in the USA and owner of the painting The Scream) is putting all of its meat back on the grill in Spain after a couple of less active years. In 2013, it closed its largest two acquisitions in the country: Altamira and Evo Banco. Since then, its activity has been limited to the purchase of a small portfolio of homes from BMN and GE Capital’s mortgage portfolio in Spain. Moreover, Altamira was awarded one of the four management contracts by Sareb.

In recent months, Apollo has purchased one of the largest banking portfolios on the market, Project Sun from CaixaBank, containing hotel debt, and it is expected to soon close the acquisition of one of the aforementioned real estate platforms (Oitante or Unicaja).

Original story: Vozpópuli (by Jorge Zuloaga)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Baldomero Falcones Acquires 5% Stake In Renta Corporación

23 December 2015 – Efe

According to a statement made by Renta Corporación, the businessman Baldomero Falcones has acquired a 5% stake in the company. Until now that stake was owned by Sareb, the entity also known as the “bad bank”.

The CEO of Renta Corporación, David Vila, has indicated that the incorporation of Baldomero Falcones will allow the company to face the future challenges set out in its strategic plan “with a significantly reinforced capital structure”.

Falcones used to be the President of the construction company FCC, until January 2013. In addition, he has also served as the President of MasterCard Internacional and the Director General of Banco Santander, as well as a member of the board of that entity for 15 years.

Falcones has also chaired Banco Urquijo Limited in the United Kingdom; Hispano Americano Sociedade do Inestimento in Portugal; Banco Hispano Americano Benelux, Banco Urquijo Chile, Fiat Finance and Santander Seguros.

He is the founder of the private equity firm Magnum Industrial Partners and a member of the Board of Directors of Unión Fenosa, CESCE, Generali España, Seguros La Estrella, Europay International and Banif.

He served as the President and CEO of FCC for five years and received compensation amounting to €7.5 million when he left the construction group, due to the early termination of his contract.

Renta Corporación has prepared a strategic plan for the period 2016-2020, whose objectives include doubling its annual net profit to €20 million, amongst others.

Original story: Efe

Translation: Carmel Drake

Santander Copies ‘Hispania Model’ To Turn Banif Properties Into A REIT

26/12/2014 – El Confidencial

The growing REITs market just got a new tenant – Banif Properties fund, Santander’s historical vehicle that has just turned into a REIC (Real Estate Investment Company) as a first step towards becoming a REIT (Real Estate Investment Trust).

Hispania, managed by Azora, used the same model when it went public as an investment company, a title under which it conducted its first operations, such as the acquisition of Hotel Guadalmina. Then, later on, it developed its own REIT.

The main advantage of this formula –and one of the substantive reasons why they have convinced Santander– is its greater flexibility, as it allows the company to buy debt, an option that is prohibited to REITs. Thus, having established itself first as a real estate investment company, the new Banif may, for example, seize assets of other companies by acquiring their financial obligations, a growing business in which banks are the major players.

Subsequently, once they launch their own REIT, the now defunct real estate fund will benefit from the tax breaks that this legal framework offers property management companies and put an end to six long years of questioning over which was the most important real estate investment vehicle in Spain.

Despite the scandal this entailed back in 2009 – leaving thousands of investors locked in the background, after selling major assets such as the Plenilunio shopping mall and Edificio España in recent years and partially splitting with a monetary fund exactly a year ago – Banif Properties can still boast with assets worth €1.538 billion at the end of November, with a net asset value of €943 million.

On December 1st, just one day after the management fund, Inverco, endorsed these figures, Santander officially approved the conversion of Banif Properties into LURI 6 SII, a change that has already received the green light from Spain’s National Securities Market Commision (CNMV).


Santander Real Estate will remain the management company of the future REIT, which is currently in the process of readjusting its activities to the new corporate reality. This is a difficult task, since the new REIT will have around 10,000 properties, in addition to the assets it can acquire via debt purchasing operations; it will also have a two-year period to go public in the stock market.

With the transformation of Banif Properties into a REIT, Santander is getting ahead of its competitors that are also working on converting their old real estate funds, but with different plans. An example of this is Sabadell, which is also planning on taking advantage of this opportunity to inject liquidity into certain assets that had been left dry during the crisis and that are under the management of its affiliate, Solvia.

The formula chosen by Santander will allow Banif Properties to purchase debts, something that is prohibited to conventional REITs

BBVA is another institution that has analyzed this possibility, while BNP has been working along the lines of forming such companies as a way to provide another offer for its private banking customers. Bankia just transformed its real estate fund into a corporation, which is a step towards becoming a REIT while it sells its assets selectively, as stated by The Confidential.

The size and importance of Banif Properties, however, makes Santander’s REIT a top player in the market. The institution, chaired by Ana Botín, is proving particularly active in the budding recovery of the national real estate sector, as it was made apparent with the purchase of Metrovacesa from Bankia, for example.

Original article: El Confidencial (by Ruth Ugalde)

Translation: Aura REE