Blackstone: “We have €140 Billion to Make the Most of Investment Opportunities”

The world’s largest fund manager has announced that it has more than USD 150 billion of ‘gunpowder’ to invest, “more than anyone else in the industry.”

The US fund manager Blackstone has announced that it has USD 151.5 billion (about €140 billion) of “gunpowder” to make the most of the investment opportunities that will arise after the global crisis caused by the Covid-19 coronavirus.

That is according to its President and CEO, Stephen Schwarzman. He highlighted Blackstone’s unique liquidity position in the face of the economic shocks that are being caused by the virus pandemic worldwide. “We are uniquely positioned to invest on behalf of our clients at a time of historic disruption,” said Schwarzman.

The Sector Adjusts its Workforce: Construction Firms and Servicers Undertake Temporary EREs, whilst the Property Developers Make No Changes

In most cases, the large companies in the real estate sector have decided to protect jobs or make only temporary adjustments.

The main companies in the real estate sector have decided to protect jobs in most cases despite the uncertainty generated by the possible decline in revenues and activity as a result of the Covid-19 coronavirus.

For example, the American fund Blackstone, the largest landlord in Spain with 50,000 rental homes, has made its commitment official by communicating to unions and workers its decision to maintain all of the jobs in its Spanish subsidiaries Anticipa, Aliseda and Testa Home, which together employ more than 1,000 people.

Blackstone Buys La Llave de Oro’s Project in 22@ for €100M

17 January 2020 – Idealista

Blackstone has agreed to purchase an office building that La Llave de Oro is currently constructing in Barcelona’s 22@ district, in a deal that is expected to be closed for €100 million. The property is located on Calle Sancho de Ávila and will have a gross leasable area of 17,400 m2, on a plot spanning 3,300 m2.

The purchase of office buildings off-plan is becoming a bit of a habit in the Catalan capital’s 22@ technological district after the German bank Commerzbank paid €132 million in December for two offices that Conren Tramway is constructing there.

Original story: Idealista 

Translation/Summary: Carmel Drake

Spain’s Banks Prepare for a Mass Sale of Refinanced Mortgages Ahead of a European Regulatory Change

14 January 2020 – Expansión

Spain’s large banks are preparing for the mass sale of refinanced mortgage portfolios to opportunistic investment funds over the course of this year, ahead of a European regulatory change that will come into effect from January 2021. The new rules will require most refinanced debt to be classified as non-performing loans, which will impose more onerous capital requirements on the entities holding those assets.

Refinanced mortgages are those whose borrowers are currently up to date with their repayments but whose terms (economic conditions or duration) have been adjusted to avoid defaulted payments.

In the year to September 2019, Spain’s eight listed banks (Santander, BBVA, CaixaBank, Bankia, Sabadell, Bankinter, Unicaja and Liberbank) removed problem loans amounting to almost €37 million from their balance sheets. No detailed figures are compiled about refinanced mortgages, but sources in the sector estimate that a new market worth thousands of millions of euros could be generated as a result of the upcoming legislative change.

According to the new criteria to be introduced by the European Central Bank, refinanced loans will be classified as non-performing if the associated income generated by them falls by more than 1% as a result of the new terms of the loan. With such a strict threshold, almost all such loans will, therefore, be classified as non-performing.

In this context, a new market is expected to emerge whereby the banks try to divest portfolios of refinanced mortgages that are still considered healthy, but at lower prices.

The likely winners will be opportunistic funds, such as Cerberus, Blackstone and Lone Star, which typically buy doubtful assets with average discounts of 70%, and go on to generate double-digit returns through a combination of synergies and economies of scale.

Original story: Expansión (by R. Sampedro)

Translation/Summary: Carmel Drake

Blackstone Creates ‘Testa Home’ to Manage 20,000 of its Rental Homes

10 January 2020 – El Economista

Blackstone has created a new company, Testa Home, to manage 20,000 of the rental flats owned by its Socimis and other subsidiaries.

The entity will be led by Fidere’s current president, Juan Pablo Vera, and will owned by Testa (58.12%) and Fidere (41.88%).

The aim is to make the management of the portfolio more efficient, optimise operating costs and returns, and render an improved service to tenants.

Of the 20,000 flats, 11,000 are owned by Testa, 6,500 by Fidere, 2,000 by Aliseda and 500 by Hispania.

Original story: El Economista (by Alba Brualla)

Translation/Summary: Carmel Drake

The Aragonese Group Bancalé Acquires 1,220 hectares of Land in Zaragoza

13 January 2020 – Heraldo

Bancalé has acquired the rural plots of land associated with the failed urban operation linked to the Plaza Logistics Platform in Zaragoza. The Aragonese investment group plans to use the plots for the development of a new agricultural line of business, as well as to grow its renewable energy division with the construction of a large photovoltaic solar plant on the site.

The plots are located between the La Peñaza golf course, the A2 motorway, the Centrovía industrial estate and the AVE railway tracks, and span 1,220 hectares in total.

The family office has reportedly paid more than €10 million for the land, which was previously owned by the US investment giant Blackstone.

Original story: Heraldo (by Jorge Alonso)

Translation/Summary: Carmel Drake

South Korea’s Kiwoom AM to Acquire Helios Office Complex from Blackstone

5 January 2020 Kiwoom Asset Management, a South Korean investment firm, is close to making its first acquisition in Spain. The firm is seeking to buy the Helios business complex in northern Madrid. The property is slated to be the future headquarters of Dutch multinational banking group ING.

Blackstone announced its intention to sell the complex in the middle of last year. However, political uncertainty in the country caused a slight delay in negotiations. The asset is in Campos de las Naciones, a consolidated area near the Barajas international airport. The 60,250-m2 Helios office complex, which has excellent links to the city centre, consists of two largely independent office towers.

Kiwoom Asset Management, una firma de inversión surcoreana, está cerca de realizar su primera adquisición en España. La firma busca comprar el complejo empresarial Helios en el norte de Madrid. La propiedad está prevista para ser la futura sede del banco holandés ING.

Blackstone anunció su intención de vender el complejo a mediados del año pasado. Sin embargo, la incertidumbre política en el país causó un ligero retraso en las negociaciones. El activo se encuentra en Campos de las Naciones, una zona consolidada cerca del aeropuerto internacional de Barajas. El complejo de oficinas Helios, de 60.250 m2 y que cuenta con excelentes conexiones al centro de la ciudad, consta de dos torres de oficinas independientes.

Original Story: El Confidencial – Ruth Ugalde

Translation/Summary: Richard D. Turner

Fidere Looks to Sell Off Assets in Catalonia

19 November 2019 – Fidere, the subsidiary of Blackstone, is looking to sell off some of its holdings in the Spanish province of Catalonia. The socimi will begin by selling the Isla del Cielo building in Barcelona, located in the Parque Diagonal Mar.

On the other hand, Fidere has opted not to sell off its holdings in the Community of Madrid. The rental properties, including the Sanchinarro, San Sebastian Reyes, Majadahonda and Hispanidad buildings, are squarely aimed at premium buyers and currently have an occupancy rate of 50%. Fidere assumed the management of these assets at the beginning of the year.

The Isla del Cielo building is currently listed on several real estate sites. The residential complex consists of two apartment blocks with a constructed area of ​​approximately 38,000 m2.

Original Story: OK Diário – Lorena Torío

Adaptation/Translation: Richard D. K. Turner

Aliseda Offering Finalist Land With Just a 5% Down-Payment

6 November 2019 – Aliseda, the real estate company controlled by Blackstone and Santander, has launched a new campaign aimed at both local developers and individuals looking to build new homes but currently, lack access to the necessary financing. The firm announced that it would allow potential buyers to buy land with just a 5% deposit from now until the end of the year.

After that point, those buyers would have 12 months to raise the rest of the cost of the land and finalise their purchase by the end of 2020. Investors would lose their 5% down-payment if they are unable to raise the rest of the funds.

The developer is currently listing 2,115 plots of land on its website. That land bank represents about 30% of Aliseda’s entire portfolio of finalist land, worth an estimated 300 million euros. The firm expects potential buyers to reserve 15% -20% of that by the end of the year.

Original Story: El Confidencial – Ruth Ugalde

Adaptation/Translation: Richard D. K. Turner

CarVal Hires Pepper to Manage Portfolio of 10,000 Mortgages

28 October 2019 – CarVal Investors has hired the Pepper Group to manage the portfolio of 10,000 mortgage loans it acquired this year from Blackstone. The US firm sold the portfolio to CarVal in July for nearly one billion euros, in its first major divestment of the last five years.

Pepper will manage the mortgage portfolio starting next year, taking over from Blackstone itself. The Australian Pepper group offers financial services and currently manages more than €30 billion in loans. It has been operating in Spain since 2006.

Original Story: Vozpópuli – Alberto Ortín

Adaptation/Translation: Richard D. K. Turner