Carrefour’s RE Subsidary Acquires 6 Shopping Centres for €182M

4 May 2018 – El Economista

Carmila, the real estate subsidiary of Carrefour, has acquired six shopping centres next to its hypermarkets in Spain from the fund Pradera European Retail, for a total consideration of €182 million and with an average yield of 6.3%, according to a statement issued by the French company on Friday.

Through these new acquisitions, the group plans to renew these spaces with the aim of revitalising them towards a family concept to optimise occupancy rates and strengthen their activity with the deployment of digital marketing tools, such as websites, databases and service kiosks.

The company’s new assets, which have been financed through bond debt amounting to €350 million issued in February, are located in Córdoba, Cádiz, Sevilla, Alicante and in Barcelona, where it has acquired two shopping centres.

At the end of last year, Carmila’s total portfolio comprised 206 shopping centres, located in France, Spain and Italy, worth €5.8 billion in total. The company, which is listed on the Euronext stock exchange in Paris, will hold its General Shareholders’ Meeting on 16 May and will present its half-year results on 27 July.

Original story: El Economista

Translation: Carmel Drake

Merlin & Hispania Prepare To Issue Bonds In 2016

26 November 2015 – El Confidencial

(…). The new kings of the Spanish real estate sector have begun the second phase of their adventure in the markets and, after starring in the bulk of the stock exchange’s IPOs over the last 1.5 years, they are now preparing to issue bonds.

The two key players in the sector, Merlin and Hispania, have taken the lead and are already working with the main ratings agencies to receive their ratings in 2016 and, as a result, make bond placements in order to adjust their financial structures.

The Socimi led by Ismael Clemente is more advanced in this process, because it began to work with the three ratings agencys – S&P, Fitch and Moody’s – to obtain an investment grade rating as part of its process to purchase Testa for €1,800 million.

The company’s plans include registering a bond program, which would be divided into between two and four placements, through which it expects to raise between €800 million and €1,000 million. Although the company’s timings are slightly delayed with respect to its initial plans, its objective is to have everything ready during the first half of next year.

Hispania is working to a similar time frame, conscious that in an environment marked by zero and negative interest rates, fixed income securities represent the perfect way of raising capital, above all in the case of real estate companies, such as Socimis, which make significant block investments to acquire assets that have long-term business plans.

In fact, Merlin and Hispania’s interest in obtaining an investment rating is leading the way for other companies in the sector, a general move in line with the group movements that these companies have been making over the last two years.

Natural step

In this way, whilst in 2014, the general trend was towards IPOs, through which they raised their first significant capital inflows, in 2015, the major trend was towards capital increases, through which the largest players in the sector alone – Merlin, Hispania, Lar and Axiare – raised almost €2,000 million.

The next natural step, therefore, is for these entities to request investment ratings to enable them to go to the debt market. Nevertheless, this is not an unfamiliar step for some companies in the sector. Uro Property, Santander’s landlord, has already completed a €1,350 million bond issue; whilst Lar launched a €140 million bond issue at the beginning of the year.

The difference with respect to the step that Merlin and Hispania are taking is that those placements were made outside of Spain, in Luxembourg and Ireland, respectively, without first obtaining a rating. In the case of Uro, the Socimi that exclusively comprises Banco Santander branches, it managed to achieve a rating for its placement equivalent to that of its tenant, although the Socimi has no been assigned its own rating.

Meanwhile, Lar completed its placement to raise funds, unlike Merlin and Hispania, which are aiming at taking advantage of the low interest rate environment to reduce their financing costs and, moreover, adjust all of their financing to suit their vocations as long-term businesses.

Original story: El Confidencial (by Ruth Ugalde)

Translation: Carmel Drake

BBVA Issues 5.5-Year Bonds Worth €1,250M

11 November 2015 – El Economista

Yesterday, BBVA completed the placement of mortgage bonds amounting to €1,250 million, with a five and a half year term, on which it will pay interest of 0.625%, the lowest coupon in the bank’s history for this kind of debt.

According to market sources, the strong demand from overseas investors allowed the bank to lower the price of the issue to 38 basis points above the midswap rate, the reference rate for this kind of issue.

The underwriting banks for the operation were BBVA itself, plus Commerzbank, Credit Agricole, HSBC and Natixis. The last time that BBVA carried out an operation of this kind was on 12 January 2015, when it also placed €1,250 million in mortgage bonds, although they had a 7-year term.

On that occasion, the entity paid interest of 0.75%, the lowest coupon on that kind of debt at that time, thanks to the fact that the operation attracted investors from all over the world, whose demand exceeded €2,500 million.

Following in the footsteps of CaixaBank

BBVA has launched this bond issue just one week after CaixaBank closed its own operation to issue 5-year mortgage bonds amounting to €1,000 million. Demand in that case almost doubled supply.

The price of that issue, which was closed on 4 November, amounted to 43 basis points above the midswap rate, and the bonds carry a coupon of 0.625%.

Original story: El Economista

Translation: Carmel Drake

Judge Lets Villar Mir Resume Work On Canalejas

3 November 2015 – Expansión

The judge at lower court number 54 in Madrid has lifted the temporary suspension imposed on the construction of Project Canalejas, located in the centre of Madrid.

The work to refurbish the complex – where Grupo Villar Mir wants to construct a Four Seasons hotel, a shopping arcade and luxury housing – has been suspended since 14 October, after a claim filed by the Basque company R&A Palace Gestión was accepted for processing.

The claimant denounced the alleged damage to the heritage of the seven buildings that comprise the complex, and which have different degrees of (historical) protection.

The Court in Madrid has taken the decision after the owner of OHL paid a pledge (aval) amounting to €163,000. Thanks to the legal decision, Villar Mir can resume the renovation work immediately.

The aval from the owner is significantly lower than the amount demanded by R&A Palace, which requested that it be equal to half of the total investment in the project, estimated at €500 million.

The Villar Mir complex had already been approved by the Town Hall of Madrid and the Community of Madrid after reductions were made to its buildable area. Following the agreement, Canalejas will house a 205-room hotel managed by Four Seasons, a retail space measuring 15,000 m2 managed by Grupo Villar Mir and around 22 luxury homes, which will be sold for c. €12,000/m2.

Original story: Expansión (by R.R.)

Translation: Carmel Drake