Quabit Buys ‘Rayet Construcción’ for €13.1M

16 May 2019 – Eje Prime

Quabit has acquired 83% of the shares in the construction company Rayet Construcción for €13.1 million as a means of “reducing uncertainties in terms of the costs and timeframes of its construction projects”, according to a statement issued by the company to Spain’s National Securities and Markets Commission (CNMV).

The company reported its results on Wednesday and announced a 5%-10% decrease in turnover due to delays in the delivery of its business plan, whereby following in the footsteps of its rivals Neinor and Metrovacesa, which have also revised down their results in recent months.

Original story: Eje Prime 

Translation/Summary: Carmel Drake

Quabit’s Revenues Soared in 2018, but its Profits Fell by 53%

28 February 2019 – Eje Prime

Quabit’s revenues soared but its profits decreased. The real estate company closed 2018 with a net profit of €6.7 million, down by 53% compared to the previous year, when it reached €14.3 million. The company attributes that reduction to the “activation of tax credits in 2017, amounting to €26 million”, according to reports in a relevant fact submitted to Spain’s National Securities and Exchange Commission (CNMV).

The firm’s EBITDA also deteriorated, with losses of €25.3 million, a figure that quadruples the loss recorded a year earlier when it amounted to €7.3 million. “The negative impact in terms of EBITDA is due to the extraordinary effect of the valuation corrections on the land and the lower discounts on the debt”, said the company in a statement about its results.

In terms of revenues, they soared last year to reach €39.6 million, whereby multiplying the figure from the previous year (€5.7 million) eight-fold. At the end of the year, the gross value of its assets amounted to €506 million, 27% higher than at the end of the previous year. That growth was attributable to the company’s new investments and the revaluation of its portfolio.

In terms of its portfolio, Quabit handed over 190 homes in 2018 and also invested in its land bank, increasing it by around €180 million since 2017. It currently has around 4,000 homes in different phases of development and is working on the launch of new projects included in its business plan for 2018-2022.

Original story: Eje Prime

Translation: Carmel Drake

Meridia III Raises €44M to Grow its Property Portfolio

31 January 2019 – Idealista

The Catalan fund Meridia is giving a boost to one of its Socimis. Meridia Real Estate III, led by the businessman Javier Faus, has increased its capital by €44 million, according to an announcement made by the group in the Official Gazette of the Mercantile Registry (BORME). This increase will serve to allow the company to continue with its business plan and add new properties to its portfolio.

According to explanations provided by the company to Idealista News, this increase forms part of the normal operation of the investment vehicle during its investment phase. Meridia Real Estate III is a vehicle dedicated to investment in all segments of the real estate sector in Madrid and Barcelona. The company’s portfolio currently comprises nine assets, including office buildings, industrial platforms and a shopping centre.

One of the most recent operations to be closed by the investment vehicle was the acquisition from the US fund Värde of a plot with a buildable surface area of 24,600 m2 in the 22@ district of Barcelona for €25.8 million.

The company, which purchased that land through its Socimi Meridia III, has already paid half of the cost of the operation. Payment of the remaining €12.9 million has been postponed until 17 March 2020, and it has been guaranteed by a mortgage on the land acquired, according to reports by the company to the stock market regulator.

With this purchase, the company is seeking to undertake a transformation plan for tertiary purposes in the Barcelona district. Currently, Meridia III owns more than 60,000 m2 of buildable space in the 22@ district, making it one of the leading investors in that area of the Catalan capital.

Meridia’s Socimi has been listed on the MAB since the end of last year. The company has starred in some of the most important operations of the last two years, both in the office market, as well as in the retail segment (…).

The fund manager is preparing to launch its fourth fund onto the market before the end of this year. The company is currently in the pre-market phase in territories such as Benelux and Israel, amongst others. The group’s new investment vehicle will join Meridia II, currently in its divestment phase, and Meridia III.

Original story: Idealista (by Custodio Pareja)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Sareb to Sell 1,769 Rental Homes to its Socimi Témpore for €149M

2 November 2018 – Europa Press

Sareb is going to contribute its first homes to its Socimi Témpore through the transfer of a batch of 1,769 rental properties worth around €149.21 million. The firm was constituted precisely to provide an exit for the portfolio of homes that Sareb inherited from the banks.

This operation will allow Témpore to double its size, given that it currently owns a portfolio of 1,583 flats, and extend its activity to a total of ten provinces, from its current concentration in Madrid and Barcelona.

Sareb and its Socimi are going to materialise the transaction through a non-monetary capital increase, and so the firm is going to issue a package of €12.4 million own shares.

The shares will be issued at a rate of €12.01 per share (the sum of the nominal value and issue premium), a price that is 15.4% higher than Témpore’s share price, which is currently trading at around €10.40 per share.

Témpore is going to approve this operation in an extraordinary shareholders’ meeting, which it has convened for 3 December, according to the agenda for that meeting sent to the MAB.

This is the first transfer of homes that Sareb is going to make to Témpore in the framework of the agreement that the two firms have signed to transfer assets, and it will be completed in the final quarter of the year, as indicated in the 3-year business plan, with which the Socimi debuted on the MAB.

The 1,769 homes that are going to be contributed are located in Madrid, La Rioja, Valencia, Sevilla, Asturias, Murcia, the Balearic Islands, Valladolid and Tarragona, and so the firm will whereby extend its activity, which has been concentrated in Madrid and Barcelona until now.

The final objective of the body chaired by Jaime Echegoyen (pictured above, left) with the launch of this Socimi is to place 4,200 rental homes on the market, worth around €500 million.

By virtue of this business plan, Sareb is going to transfer homes to Témpore until it reaches that volume through the subscription of capital increases (…).

Original story: Europa Press 

Translation: Carmel Drake

Quabit Buys Land in Madrid for €3.8M to Build 85 Homes

29 October 2018 – Eje Prime

Quabit is expanding its land portfolio to fulfil its growth plan. The listed real estate company has purchased a plot of buildable land measuring 8,500 m2 in Valdemoro (Madrid) for €3.8 million, according to a statement issued by the company.

The property developer is going to build 85 homes on that site, through which it expects to generate revenues of €17 million. With this new investment, over the last year and a half, Quabit has incorporated residential land on which to build 4,925 homes all over Spain into its portfolio.

Moreover, the real estate firm now owns a portfolio of buildable land to fulfil 75% of the objectives established in its Business Plan for 2017-2022. So far this year, the property developer has invested €35.7 million in the purchase of land in areas such as Madrid, the Costa del Sol and the Corredor de Henares, as well as in the Balearic Islands. In total, Quabit has added 116,700 m2 of land to its portfolio on which to build 980 homes and through which it expects to invoice €179 million.

Since it launched its new business plan in 2017, the property developer controlled by Félix Abánades has invested almost €200 million in residential land. Currently, Quabit is marketing fifty developments comprising 3,724 homes. The property developer’s land bank spans 1.1 million m2 for the construction of 8,800 homes.

Original story: Eje Prime

Translation: Carmel Drake

The Venezuelan Capriles Family Creates a Socimi: Kowo Real Estate

26 October 2018 – Idealista

Increasingly more families are deciding to channel their investments in property through Socimis. Whilst in August, it was the Koplowitzs who decided to create their own investment vehicle using that structure, now, it is the Venezuelan Capriles family that is throwing itself into the real estate market with its first Socimi, Kowo Real Estate, according to explanations provided by sources in the sector speaking to Idealista News.

In recent years, the Capriles family has become one of the most active in terms of investment in luxury housing through the company Gran Roque Capital. On its shoulders stand the recovery of three developments in Madrid, in the Chueca area (two on Calle Fernando VI and the other on Calle Barquillo). At the end of last year, the company started to market homes on Calle Pablo de Aranda in the El Viso area with the aim of reaching €11,000/m2.

Now, the company is pushing ahead with one of the vehicles of the moment in the real estate sector. The businessman Miguel Ángel Capriles has launched Kowo Real Estate Socimi, with the aim of buying and developing real estate assets of an urban nature for their subsequent rental.

But this is not the first time that the company has considered launching a Socimi. At the beginning of this year, the family announced that it was finalising the constitution of a Socimi to position itself as a leader in the tourist accommodation segment The initial investment in that project amounted to €40 million, according to the business plan provided by Edric Capriles.

The Bluemoon apartments are owned by that Socimi, according to reports from La Celosía. They are located in the El Carmen neighbourhood of Valencia, a stone’s throw from the cathedral and its first commitment in Spain. The company invested €5 million in that aparthotel, comprising homes for tourist use of a residential nature. In addition to Valencia, Málaga and Sevilla are also in the spotlight of the Venezuelan investors.

The real estate business of the Capriles family in Spain comprises luxury housing development and renovation projects. Its corporate network in Spain contains more than twenty companies dedicated to real estate development (Craski Inversiones, Madriski Inversiones…), the sale and purchase of real estate assets on their own behalf (Gran Roque Capital and Invecap Inversiones Inmobiliaria) and the rental of real estate assets (MACL Castellana 56).

Between them, all of those entities own total assets worth €125 million. Invecap Inversiones Inmobiliarias is the most important entity, with total assets of €53.3 million and from which almost all of the other entities depend. The latter, moreover, is the sole shareholder of the recently created Socimi.

Original story: Idealista (by Custodio Pareja)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Blackstone Will Pay Merlin, Santander & BBVA €948M for 50.01% of Testa

18 September 2018 – Cinco Días

Another major movement in the real estate sector and with the same star as the buyer: the US giant Blackstone. After acquiring the Socimi Hispania, which specialises in hotels, the fund has now set its sights on Testa, the largest owner of rental housing in Spain.

Blackstone has already agreed to purchase 50.01% of the Socimi (…) from three of Testa’s largest shareholders (Merlin Properties, Santander and BBVA), according to a statement filed by the real estate company with the Alternative Investment Market (MAB) on Monday. Nevertheless, Acciona, the other major shareholder, has not sold its stake. The US fund manager is carrying out the operation through the company Tropic Real Estate Holding and is paying €948 million, whereby valuing Testa at €1.895 billion.

Blackstone is paying €14.327 per share. The company’s closing price at the end of trading on Friday was €14, representing a premium of just over 2%.

Blackstone is keeping the offer open for the other shareholders. In fact, the document sent to the exchange by Testa explains that the bidder “has committed to buying all of the remaining shares in the company” under the same conditions.

Testa’s shareholders regard this operation as an exit following their failure to launch a major IPO in June, when the political uncertainty, above all surrounding Italy, caused a surge in the markets. The intention of Merlin, Santander and BBVA (and to a lesser extent Acciona, which wanted to remain as an industrial partner) was to divest their stakes with that great stock market debut. Now they have found an escape route with Blackstone as the buyer.

Merlin also reported on Monday that with this operation, it will raise €321.2 million in exchange for its 16.95% stake in Testa. The funds obtained by Merlin will be used to reduce its debt in line with the objectives set out in the company’s business plan.

BBVA, which owned 25.24% of Testa has also sold all of its shares. Meanwhile, Santander sold just 7.82% of the 36.87% that it held in Testa, which made possible the operation that has given Blackstone control over the entity.

The new Testa Residencial is a listed real estate investment company promoted in 2016 by the banks and Merlin. The latter company had been left with homes following its purchase of the former Testa from Sacyr in 2015; meanwhile, Santander and BBVA contributed rental homes from the property developer Metrovacesa. Finally, last year, Acciona incorporated more than 1,000 homes, worth €340 million, to close the current alliance between the four shareholders.

Testa is currently the market leader in the residential rental sector in Spain. It has a portfolio of 10,615 units, worth €2.675 billion, mainly private housing, with annualised gross rental income of €85 million and an occupancy rate of 91.4%.

Original story: Cinco Días 

Translation: Carmel Drake

David Martínez: “Aedas Has Land on which to Build Homes for the next 4 Years”

8 September 2018 – Expansión

Aedas, the property developer in which the US fund Castlelake holds a stake, is continuing to push ahead and take on new challenges. As the first anniversary of its debut on the stock market approaches and with its business plan on track, the company is considering starting to buy plots of land that still require urban planning approval to anticipate possible price rises and improve margins, as well as to launch projects to sell to specialists companies in the rental sector, such as Socimis.

“We have a land bank spanning more than 1.5 million m2, which will allow us to build more than 14,000 homes. That gives us four years of visibility with respect to our business plan”, explains David Martínez, CEO of the company.

Aedas became the second largest property developer, after Neinor, to make its debut on the stock market after ten years of drought following the burst of the real estate bubble. It was followed shortly after by Metrovacesa, and several other companies are lining up to take the plunge, including Vía Célere and Aelca.

Aedas is sticking to the objectives announced in the listing brochure and unlike its rivals is not contemplating a reduction in its initial forecasts. “Our objective is to hand over more than 200 homes this year, more than 1,000 homes in 2019 and to exceed 2,000 homes in 2020. In total, by the end of 2020, we will have handed over more than 3,200 homes and we already have 114 developments underway, with more than 4,000 homes in different phases of development, which gives us a great deal of visibility over the objectives. We designed a realistic business plan and we will fulfil the forecasts for 2018, 2019 and 2020”, said the director.

Investment in land

The CEO of Aedas explains that during the first half of 2018, Aedas invested almost €100 million and purchased land for 1,905 homes, almost doubling the planned investment figure for the entire year. In addition, the company signed a corporate financing line for €150 million to continue expanding its land bank.

“We have detected interesting opportunities that fit with our investment criteria that are not going to be available in six months time. For that reason, we decided to bring forward our investment plan. Recently, we formalised a loan amounting to €150 million to provide us with sufficient financial resources to continue bringing forward the purchases planned in the business plan between now and 2023”, he explained.

At this point, Martínez opened the door to the possibility of purchasing non-finalist land. “There is a lot of land classified as “urbanisable” that still requires urban planning. Given that we now have land to cover our requirements for the next four years and we are not in any hurry, nor do we need to buy finalist land, we are considering land in areas with demand that has the partial plans approved but that still require some urban planning management”, he revealed.

Martínez highlighted that a significant percentage of the €150 million resulting from the loan formalised a few weeks ago will be used to buy non-finalist land. “With the economic recovery, new property developers are emerging who need to buy finalist land to get to work. For this reason, in some places, the prices of some plots of finalist land now exceed our expectations. We want to take advantage to buy land at more affordable prices even if that requires more management subsequently (…).

Rental

Similarly, the property developer is exploring other business opportunities, such as the sale of homes to Socimis and other vehicles specialising in the rental market. “One of the challenges involves supplying homes to young people. Aedas is exploring formulae that allow the construction of homes for rent, basically developing projects that we can sell to companies that specialise in rental. We have a very extensive and urban land bank”.

The director anticipates a “long” upwards cycle. “We are at the beginning of a cycle and notwithstanding the fact that we may see some adjustments in prices in certain specific towns, in general, it is going to last”, he predicted.

Original story: Expansión (by Rebeca Arroyo)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Hispania Will No Longer Be a Socimi & Blackstone Will Channel its Future Profits via the Cayman Islands

13 June 2018 – El Confidencial

Following the green light granted by the CNMV – Spain’s National Securities and Exchange Commission – for Blackstone’s takeover of Hispania, the countdown has begun for the US fund to take control of the company, a milestone that is dependent upon it obtaining 50% plus one share and which, if no rival offer prevents it, could start to take shape on 13 July, when the term for the acceptance of the offer comes to an end.

From that moment on, Blackstone plans to exclude the Socimi from the stock market, which means that it will lose the benefits of the special tax regime, whereby it has been exempt from paying corporation tax in exchange for distributing at least 80% of its profits in the form of dividends, which are taxed at between 19% and 23%.

Blackstone’s decision will, therefore, have a direct impact on the public coffers, given that the conversion of Hispania into a limited company (SA) means that it will now be taxed as a company. Nevertheless, as is typical amongst these large investment vehicles, the fund has created a company structure aimed at financially optimising its tax bill for the duration of the investment period.

According to confessions made by Blackstone itself to the CNMV, the offer is being made through the company Alzette Investment Sarl, which was constituted on 2 February in Luxembourg for the purposes of this operation. Its only shareholder is Alzette Holdco Sarl, also a Luxembourg-registered company and itself wholly owned by BRE/Europe 9NQ Sarl, which is in turn controlled by BREP Investment 9NQ LP, an exempted limited partnership registered in the Cayman Islands.

As such, the ultimate parent company operates under a tax haven that ensures that it will be free from paying taxes for 50 years (…). In fact, the shareholders of BREP Investment 9NQ LP are different offshore companies owned by Blackstone, which are also covered by the exempted limited partnership structure of the Cayman Islands, with the exception of two, which are headquartered in the US tax haven of Delaware, and which are the entities that really benefit from this structure.

Flagships of opportunistic investment

Blackstone’s BREP funds are the US giant’s “flagships of the opportunistic investment funds”, according to its own definition in the takeover prospectus “with USD 75 billion of investment capital, a net return of 16% since 1991 and 1% of losses over 27 years”.

In order to raise the €1,589.6 million that Alzette will have to hand over if all of Hispania’s shareholders accept the terms of its offer (the fund already controls 16.5% of the share capital after it acquired the stake previously owned by George Soros), the different Blackstone funds have committed to contributing the money, either through capital, shareholder loans or other intra-group financing instruments.

In these types of company structures, the different loans arrangements made between the parent companies and their subsidiaries allow them to decrease the overall tax bill in the different countries in which the corporate chain operates in the form of the interest payments that the funds make to themselves and which allow them to “repatriate” the money invested to the Cayman Islands, at the same time as reducing the profit, and with it, the tax charge.

In the case of the takeover bid for Hispania, in addition, Blackstone is also planning to resort to lenders to raise financing amounting to €850 million, referenced to 3-month Euribor, plus a margin of up to 2.25% per annum, and with a maturity date of 15 May 2021, and with the option of being renewed for one more year.

Business plan

Similarly, in order to acquire the stake from Soros, Blackstone signed a financing agreement with Morgan Stanley for a maximum amount of €250 million, although in the end it only drew down €128.6 million. In terms of the financial commitments that Hispania currently has (€894.8 million), Alzette says that it is analysing different refinancing options, including both raising new debt and increasing the level of leverage.

In terms of the business, Blackstone’s plans for Hispania include completing the sale of the office portfolio, which the Socimi had to put on hold at the last minute, even though it had already reached an agreement with Tristán to sell it for more than €500 million, due to the presentation of the takeover bid.

By contrast, in terms of the hotel assets, which are the jewel in the Hispania’s crown, its intention is to hold onto the majority of them for between three and seven years, and transfer their management to the team at HI Partners, the company that the US fund acquired last year for €630 million and which it will likely end up merging with the Socimi.

Original story: El Confidencial (by Ruth Ugalde)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Ores Acquires 2 Commercial Premises in Madrid & León for €4.9M & €3.8M, Respectively

4 June 2018 – Eje Prime

Ores is ratifying its position as one of the most active Socimis in Spain in terms of acquisitions. The Socimi owned by Bankinter and Sonae has just purchased one commercial premise located on Calle Alcalá in Madrid for €4.9 million. That purchase was carried out after the Socimi signed a €140 million loan with ING, as revealed by Eje Prime.

The commercial establishment is located at number 157 Calle Alcalá and has a surface area of 374 m2. The premise is currently leased to the Tim Hortons restaurant group. The operation, according to sources in the sector, has been brokered by the real estate consultancy Aretail.

In addition, Ores has bought a commercial premise at number 13 Calle Ordoño II in León. That store, which has a surface area of 745 m2, is occupied by the Catalan fashion chain Mango as the tenant. The Socimi paid €3.8 million for the space.

“With these acquisitions, financed using available cash from Ores, the company is continuing to fulfil the investment objectives established in its business plan, in accordance with the financial parameters committed to with the shareholders”, add sources at the group.

These purchases form part of a new growth phase that Ores is embarking on, which is being financed by a €140 million loan. With this financial strength, the group is going to carry out new real estate acquisitions in Spain and Portugal. The group’s most recent purchases include two plots in Mejorada del Campo in Madrid for €6.6 million. With a surface area of 8,000 m2, they are both leased in their entirety to the Valencia-based supermarket group Mercadona.

The year 2018 is proving to be one of the most active for Ores in terms of property purchase operations. At the beginning of the year, the company invested €86 million in the acquisition of six commercial premises in Portugal (…).

Ores is aimed at private banking clients. Although its portfolio of assets is reduced, for the time being, the Socimi made its debut on the stock market with the aim of investing €400 million in high street retail premises, supermarkets, out-of-town retail parks (measuring up to 20,000 m2), bank branches and single assets with long-term leases and solvent tenants.

Bankinter and Sonae Sierra launched this new venture in the real estate sector in record time. The two groups constituted the company on 15 December last year and in just two months, carried out the process to create the vehicle, raised sufficient capital to bring it to life and completed its stock market debut.

Original story: Eje Prime (by C. Pareja)

Translation: Carmel Drake