Blackstone Finalises Purchase Of 1,500 Homes From Testa

12 February 2016 – Expansion

The American fund is the favorite to acquire the residential portfolio that Merlin put up for sale in October.

Blackstone is finalising a new real estate transaction in Spain. The US fund is the hot favorite to buy the residential portfolio from Testa, a large lot with 1,519 homes for rent, several commercial premises and over 600 parking places. 
The portfolio was put up for sale last October, after Socimi Merlin Properties took over the control of Testa. In June, the Socimi chaired by Ismael Clemente agreed with Sacyr the purchase of its then property subsidiary Testa for €1,793 million. The aim of the operation was to create one of the largest companies of the sector with one of the best office portfolios in the market , which included several buildings in la Castellana in Madrid, such as the Four Towers skyscrapers and the headquarters of L’Oréal, Endesa and Indra. After formalizing the purchase, Merlin remarked that the residential assets were not considered strategic, reason why it commissioned CBRE and Deloitte consultants the sale of this lot.

Testa portfolio comprises 11 residential buildings for rent. Of these, five are in Madrid and the sixth in Toledo, with an occupancy rate of nearly 100%. It also includes several social housing in Bentaberri (Guipúzcoa), about thirty commercial premises and 640 parking places. 
In spite of the interest shown by several international investors, as Patrizia, and Spanish real estate, as Hispania, it has been Blackstone’s the best tender for the lot. According to real estate sources, the fund, which has already notified the operation to its managing board in New York, would be willing to pay a figure close to the 390 million Merlin asked for Testa residential portfolio.

The transaction would be carried out through the provision of assets to a vehicle. It is expected that Blackstone’s committee  authorizes  the operation in the coming weeks. There is some doubt about the price, which stands at the maximum  valuations range. Did the negotiations with the fund finally not succeed , Merlin could resort to the other candidates.

More than 1,500 hosing of Testa would add to some other residential purchases of Blackstone in Spain and which have made it one of the largest owners of rental housing in Spain, with more than 4,000 units. Most of them are managed through the Socimi Fidere, controlled by Blackstone and trading in the Mercado Alternativo Bursatil (MAB). 
The US fund has been one of the most active investors in the Spanish market after the bubble burst. In addition to homes, Blackstone owns several office buildings in Madrid and Barcelona, ​​occupied by major international companies such as Citibank and Capgemini. 
Meanwhile, Merlin would get a significant cash injection though this transaction to continue growing through new asset purchases, while completing the integration of Testa in its company. With the 390 million, Socimi would not rush to sell the logistics assets of Testa, another of the lots considered as non-strategic.

Original story: Expansion (by Rocio Ruiz)

Translation: Aura Ree

Former Larcovi Employees Create New RE Company

22 October 2015 – Expansión

A new real estate management company has been born. It is called Víveme, a company created as the result of a carve-out from the real estate group Larcovi. “We have been hatching the idea for almost a year; and we have been working towards its launch now, at a time when the results in the sector are improving”, explains Mariam Martín Ferreiro, the President of Víveme.

The new company will be responsible for rendering a range of services to third parties, including land searches, project development, financing searches and the marketing of homes. “We work with cooperatives; financial institutions that own land; and projects that have been foreclosed due to bankruptcy”, says Martín Ferreiro. “Víveme will not take on any developer risk, but sometimes we will provide financial support to investors”, she said.

Behind this new company are several former employees of Larcovi. “There is no large business group behind us, instead, as employees we are also shareholders. We have created Víveme because we believe in the recovery of the market and in our own experience”.

Although it was only launched recently, the real estate company has already got almost one thousand homes under management. “As we start out, we already have several projects underway for the development of 900 homes, mostly in Madrid, of which 500 are already under construction”, says the President.


Thanks to this volume of activity, the company hopes to close the first year with a profit. “With the current portfolio, and another two projects that we plan to start before the end of the year, we hope to end the year with turnover of €1.5 million”. The aim is to manage between four and five new projects per year, whereby delivering 2,000 homes between now and 2020. “We have now obtained financing for a development close to the Castellana and in October we will deliver 57 family homes in Rivas”.

Víveme will compete directly with the banks’ real estate arms, which is not something that concerns its directors too much. “We know that the financial institutions are there, but increasingly they are focusing on their core businesses and we believe that we can compete with them, by offering high quality products and by listening to our clients, personalising each home, not just the finishes, but also letting customers participate in the design phase”.

Víveme is one of numerous companies that will participate in the Autumn edition of the SIMA real estate trade fair in Madrid, which is being held between 23 and 25 October. Other participants include: Iberdrola Inmobiliaria, Vía Célere, Hercesa and TM Grupo Inmobiliario, as well as Servihabitat, owned by La Caixa, and Anida, owned by BBVA

Original story: Expansión (by R.R.)

Translation: Carmel Drake