Henderson, IBA, Has & Drago Bid For Gas Natural’s RE Assets

19 October 2016 – Expansión

The bidding for Gas Natural’s real estate gems in Madrid is entering its final phase. The British fund manager Henderson Global Investors, IBA Capital, through its Socimi Zambal, the US investment fund Has Capital and the Spanish management company Drago Capital have all submitted binding offers for the four corporate office complexes that the energy firm has put up for sale in the Spanish capital.

The assets include: the group’s operating headquarters in Madrid, located on Avenida de San Luis 77 (pictured above); a property on Avenida de América 38; the Acanto complex, at number 11 on the same street; and the Antonio López complex on Calle Antonio López 193.

The investors have submitted offers valuing the assets, which have a combined surface area of 57,000 sqm in office space and 1,695 parking spaces, at around €300 million, according to sources in the sector.

The gas firm, which engaged the real estate consultancy firms CBRE and Cushman & Wakefield to sell its main real estate assets in Madrid this summer, plans to chose the candidate during the second half of November and close the deal before the end of the year.

The firm, chaired by Isidro Fainé, is negotiating with these four investors regarding the option of selling the four office complexes in a single operation or awarding the assets in batches. In this sense, both IBA Capital and Has Capital have already submitted offers for all of the assets as well as for different batches, an option that the other candidates may also consider.

The operation, whereby Gas Natural will sell the properties but continue as the tenant, will allow the firm to raise funds without needing to move its employees or look for new offices.

The operation represents the largest sale & leaseback deal in the segment in recent years. (…). The volume of sale & leaseback operations reached its peak between 2007 and 2010, but has slowed down since then. Nevertheless, the formula has been used recently by companies such as Telefónica and Eroski. (…).

The future of sale & leaseback operations

However, new accounting legislation, which no longer allows property sales that are subsequently rented out to be accounted for as off balance sheet financing structures, may put a stop to this option of real estate asset optimisation.

Specifically, IFRS 16 requires companies to recognise rental commitments as debt, except those that have a term of less than a year or relate to low value assets. This standard, which will replace the standard currently in force, IAS 17, eliminates the dual accounting model for lessees, which differentiates between financing lease contracts, which are recorded on balance sheet, and operating lease contracts, which do not require future lease commitments to be recognised (on balance sheet).

Although the new law does not enter into force until 2019, companies are obliged to analyse their lease contracts in advance and make new estimates, which must be updated on a regular basis.

Original story: Expansión (by R. Arroyo and M. A. Patiño)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Deutsche Finalises Purchase Of Diagonal Mar For €505M

11 July 2016 – Expansión

Largest operation in the retail sector for 10 years / The German group has outbid the other candidates, including CBRE, ECE and Henderson.

The process to purchase Diagonal Mar is entering the final stretch. With nothing but the final details left to finalise on what will be the largest real estate operation in the shopping centre segment for ten years, Deutsche Bank has taken the lead by outbidding CBRE Global Investors, ECE and Henderson Real Estate, the other three candidates left in the contest.

Market sources have informed Expansión that Deutsche Bank’s offer, for €505 million, could be signed at the end of this month.

If this operation goes ahead, Northwood Investors will get rid of this property, which it acquired from the Irish bad bank Nama (National Asset Management Agency) in 2013 for €150 million.

Changes of ownership

It is not the first time that this property has changed hands. The real estate company Hines was awarded a mixed use project at the end of the 1990s, which included a residential area, offices, hotels and a large shopping centre with a constructed surface area of 100,500 sqm and a GLA of 87,000 sqm, plus 5,000 parking spaces.

In 2002, the German investment fund Deka paid around €240 million for the property, which it subsequently sold to the Irish investor group Quinlan for €300 million in 2006, in its first operation in Spain. Nevertheless, after the Irish bubble burst, this asset was sold to the banks.

On 7 June, a process was opened whereby investors were invited to submit non-binding offers for the property. 18 offers were submitted in total, including one from the Socimi Merlin (the only Spanish firm to participate in the auction). In the end, only four candidates were selected to go through to the final bid: CBRE Global Investment, ECE, Henderson TH and Deutsche Bank.

Original story: Expansión (by Rebeca Arroyo)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Bridgepoint & Cinven Enter The Bid For Tinsa

22 February 2016 – Expansión

Advent International is pushing ahead with its sale of Tinsa, the largest real estate appraisal company in Spain, which the US fund has controlled since 2010. Neither the turbulent start to the year on the markets, nor the political uncertainty enveloping the country, has managed to temper the interest in the operation, which looks set to become one of the major private equity transactions of 2016.

Amongst the candidates for the acquisition are two real heavyweights from the international private equity sector, namely Bridgepoint and Cinven, according to sources familiar with the process, who explain that the sale has attracted significant interest from potential investors, not only in the financial sector but also industry giants. Advent has declined to comment.

The final stretch

The fund, which is led in Spain by Carlos Santana, CEO, and which is being advised by the investment bank Rothschild, launched the sale of Tinsa in January, with a view to receiving initial offers this week.

Now, a select phase of bidding will begin for those candidates who have made the first cut – a group that includes Bridgepoint and Cinven – to allow them to deepen their understanding of the company and refine their bid proposals. If everything goes according to schedule, the bidders will communicate their binding offers by early April, according to sources.

Although the circumstances surrounding the sale of Tinsa are not the most favourable, sources in the sector say that the process is evolving in line with the market’s high expectations, which point to a hard-fought auction with high bids. The total valuation of the appraisal company amounts to around €300 million, according to sources.

This amount represents around ten times Tinsa’s forecast EBITDA for this year. The results for 2015 have not yet been published, but the company is certain that it managed to increase revenues by 12% with respect to 2014, to €86 million and to reach an EBITDA of €20 million, which it expects will rise to around €30 million in 2016. (…).

The US fund Advent acquired its 94.5% stake in the real estate appraisal company in November 2010 (the rest of the capital remained in the hands of the management team) for around €100 million. In this way, it took control of the stakes previously owned by 35 savings banks. At that time, the Spanish property sector was in real turmoil after the burst of the real estate bubble and financial entities were facing unprecedented consolidation and restructuring processes.

To avoid succumbing to that adversity, Tinsa committed itself to international expansion, under the tutelage of Advent. During the period since then, it has acquired Zala in Colombia and Prime Yield in Brazil. Today, Tinsa has offices in Chile, Mexico, Argentina, Peru and Colombia, as well as in Spain and Portugal, and it offers its services in around twenty countries. 20% of the appraisal company’s revenues in 2014 came from overseas, compared with 5% in 2010. At home, the company bought Tasamadrid from Bankia in 2012. (…).

Original story: Expansión (by D. Badía and M. Ponce de León)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Torre Espacio Sale: March Family & Invesco In Final Round

3 November 2015 – Expansión

Grupo Villar Mir is pushing ahead with the process to sell Torre Espacio, the skyscraper it owns in the Cuatro Torres complex in Madrid. By Wednesday 21 October, the company, which commissioned the consultancy Aguirre Newman to advise on the sale of the property back in June, had received at least five binding offers for the building, located on Paseo de la Castellana.

Villar Mir, which owns the building through its real estate company Espacio, has ruled out three of the five offers, since they all made demands on the vendor, which will now become the main tenant of the property, with its companies OHL, Espacio, Ferroatlántica and Fertiberia, amongst others, occupying 50% of the tower. According to sources in the sector, two international funds and the subsidiary of a European insurance company, which some sources have identified as Axa, demanded corporate guarantees from Villar Mir, such as shares in some of its group companies (Abertis and Colonial), by way of aval for the payment of the rent, however the owner of Torre Espacio is not prepared to go down that route. According to Juan Miguel Villar Mir himself, the vendor is willing to secure the payment of the rent for the approx. 50% of the surface area that it will occupy, but not through shares of the listed companies that it owns.

In this way, the owner of OHL has pre-selected two offers – one made by the fund Invesco Real Estate, which has teamed up with a partner, and the other made by Corporación Financiera Alba, the investment arm of the March family. Both offers must amount to around €600 million, as that is the minimum amount for which Villar Mir has said it would be willing to sell the building.

Final round

Now, the vendor is evaluating whether to invite both candidates to participate in a final round of analysis (a more comprehensive due diligence of the property), something the bidders would rather avoid, or to opt for one of the bids only. Another option being considered is to accept a third candidate if one of the investors were to make changes to its original bid.

In both cases, Villar Mir would end up closing the operation before the end of the year, although other sources say that the deeds will not be signed now until 2016. (…).

Torre Espacio, opened in 2007, is 236m tall and has 60,140m2 of office space. Villar Mir invested €400 million on its construction.

Besides the Villar Mir group, other tenants of the skyscraper include companies such as Red Bull, British American Tobacco and Sonatrach, as well as the Dutch, British, Canadian and Australian embassies.

Original story: Expansión (by Rocío Ruiz)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Project Big Bang: Bankia Selects Contenders For Final Phase

26 June 2015 – Expansión

Bankia has launched the final phase of the sale of its remaining assets, worth €4,800 million. The process is expected to be completed in July. Blackstone, Apollo, Cerberus, Deutsche and Oaktree are amongst the investors that have been selected to proceed to the final round.

Bankia’s Project Big Bang is entering the final phase. In the last few days, the entity chaired by José Ignacio Goirigolzarri has announced the names of the investors that have passed the first round of non-binding offers. Around five funds have overcome the hurdle, including: Blackstone, Deutsche Bank, Apollo, Cerberus and Oaktree.

At stake is the largest sale of real estate assets – excluding debt operations – since the economic crisis hit: foreclosed residential assets, commercial premises and land worth €4,800 million.

From next week, the selected funds will deploy their real estate teams, and those of their consultants, to undertake a more accurate valuation of the reality. This is a highly complex project because Project Big Bang comprises 46,000 real estate assets scattered all over Spain. The funds and their advisors will select the broadest samples possible to try to obtain the most accurate valuation.

The investors are going to have to work against the clock, since the next date marked in the calendar is 31 July, when theoretically, they should submit their binding offers. According to financial sources, Bankia wants to settle the transaction as soon as possible so that it is not hampered by the political uncertainty that will only increase as the general election moves closer.

Dividing up the portfolio

Even so, the competitive auction is not expected to be finalised until after the summer, since following the receipt of the final offers, Bankia and its advisors – Credit Suisse and KPMG – will have to analyse them and prepare the documentation necessary to complete the sale.

According to various funds, all indications suggest that the Big Bang portfolio will end up being divided up, since Bankia and its advisors believe that they will maximise its value that way.

The foreclosed assets amounting to €4,800 million…are recorded on Bankia’s balance sheet at around €2,900 million. That would be the base price that Bankia would expect to receive, since a lower price would mean it would have to recognise new provisions.

The portfolio for sale mainly comprises residential assets (apartments, houses and garages) – 38,500 assets in total, covering 3.6 million square metres. Around 65% of the homes are located in Valencia, Cataluña and Madrid, and 5% of them are currently rented out. The residential portion of the portfolio is worth €3,300 million.

In addition, Bankia is selling 5,000 commercial assets (offices, shops, hotels, warehouses and industrial buildings) worth €1,100 million; and 2,600 plots of land – of which 65% may be developed – worth €400 million.

Of the candidates, it seems that Cerberus is the best positioned – it purchased Bankia Habitat – now Haya Real Estate – in 2013 and therefore, knows the portfolio first hand, according to financial sources.

Apollo is also expected to bid hard for the portfolio, through Altamira. After acquiring 85% of Santander’s real estate arm, Apollo has not yet acquired any significant asset portfolios to generate returns from its platform, although it was one of the asset managers chosen by Sareb to handle some of its portfolio.

Original story: Expansión (by Jorge Zuloaga)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Caprabo’s Former Owners Put 33 Supermarkets Up For Sale

7 May 2015 – Expansión

The Carbó, Botet and Elías families, i.e. the former owners of the supermarket chain Caprabo, have decided to cash in (some of) the real estate assets they own through their investment vehicle Caboel.

This company was created by Caprabo’s three founding families in 1986, in order to manage the real estate assets owned by the supermarket chain. The Carbó family and its partners excluded the retail premises, warehouses and other properties from the transaction when they sold the company to Eroski in 2007.

Now, Caboel has put a batch of 33 supermarkets up for sale (around a third of the total number they own), most of which are located in Barcelona and its metropolitan area, with a total surface area of 88,410 square metres. The portfolio, known as Blue Box, contains properties that generate annual rental income of €6.93 million.

All of the premises continue to be leased to Caprabo, under long-term contracts (the majority expire on 31 December 2028 and at the end of 2033). The 33 properties include shops measuring just over 500 square metres and one store measuring 18,500 square metres in El Masnou. In addition to the retail space, the properties up for sale include more than 3,000 parking spaces.

Caboel has engaged the consultant CBRE to manage the sale. This lot has generated a lot of interest in the market, due to its “unique” nature. Possible buyers include several Socimis, the real estate division of Generali, Zaphir and Drago Capital, said sources close to the process. Bids (are expected to) amount to around €100 million, explain market sources.

It is expected that binding offers will be received within the next few weeks and that transaction will close before the summer.

Original story: Expansión (by R. Ruiz)

Translation: Carmel Drake