3 February 2017 – El Independiente
Bouygues, the French industrial giant that operates in the construction, public works and telecommunications sectors, wants to reactivate its real estate division in Spain. Its Spanish subsidiary was created in 1989, but following the burst of the real estate bubble, its activity in the sector was paralysed. Now, it is returning to property: at the end of 2016, it completed the construction of a hotel in Barcelona, the Ibis Bogatell, located next to the Olympic Park, and it wants to increase the number of projects in its portfolio in 2017.
That is according to Bouygues’ Spanish subsidiary. “We are not going to promote residential properties”, specified the Director General of Bouygues Inmobiliaria, Ana Vidal. “We are going to focus on the hotel, office and retail sectors, amongst others”. Although the French Group never disappeared from the Commercial Registry, Bouygues’ real estate activity in Spain has been suspended for almost seven years.
Before the real estate bubble burst, the multi-national firm was a key player in the market, in particular in the construction of business parks and shopping centres. In the case of the latter, Bouygues constructed Parque Oeste (Alcorcón, Madrid), Alcalá de Guadaira (Sevilla) and El Triangle (Barcelona). In the year 2000, the French group expanded its operations to Portugal.
The crisis forced the subsidiary to carry out an aggressive capital reduction in 2010, which left its own funds at 10%. “We are not going to be a Metrovacesa or a Merlin”, said Vidal. “We want to boost the development of projects in Spain through selective, carefully-chosen projects, which prioritise environmental improvement”, added the Director General. One of the models that the real estate division is likely to promote are eco-neighbourhoods, such as the one Bouygues developed in Bordeaux, called “Ginko”.
Bouygues Inmobiliaria is looking to become a “pure property developer”, adopting the turn-key formula, whereby it will take responsibility for identifying the plots of land, designing the properties and executing the construction work. In addition to Barcelona, the subsidiary has acquired a plot of land measuring 18,000 m2 in the industrial area of Julián Camarillo, to the east of Madrid.
Bouygues’ return to activity is further evidence of the recovery of the sector in Spain. Nevertheless, the improvement is slow and uneven. The property development sector estimates that 450,000 new homes were constructed in 2016, compared with 400,000 during the previous year. And house prices have soared in Madrid and Barcelona, along with in the traditionally robust Basque real estate market; however, they are falling in more than half of Spain’s provinces.
Original story: El Independiente (by Pablo García)
Translation: Carmel Drake