19 September 2017 – Expansión
Catella Asset Management is stepping on the accelerator in Spain. The Swedish fund manager, which arrived in the country just two years ago and which has already invested €150 million in assets, plans to boost the pace and make purchases amounting to €350 million over the next two years, whereby taking the firm’s total investment volume in the country to €500 million, according to Javier Hortelano, Managing Partner at Catella Asset Management in Iberia.
Until now, the company has undertaken five transactions in the residential rental market – four properties in Madrid and one in Barcelona – and has participated in the purchase of two shopping centres. Specifically, the fund manager has bought the Portal Mediterráneo shopping centre in Vinaroz (Castellón), together with the fund Aberdeen, and the El Manar retail complex in Massalfassar, in the Valencia metropolitan area, with the Belgian investor Mitiska Reim. In both cases, Catella is responsible for managing the assets.
The fund manager, which is listed in Stockholm, has a presence in 12 countries and manages assets worth around €3,400 million in Europe. “Spain is one of the markets that the firm is backing the most. Until now, we have invested €150 million, but the group’s ambitions go beyond that, given that we consider that the Spanish market offers a lot and has great potential”, he adds.
Spain ranks in the group’s Top 5 behind Scandinavia, Germany and France. Hortelano revealed that Catella is already analysing assets and expects some of the operations under consideration to materialise within the next couple of months. Specifically, the manager expects to invest €60 million in the residential sector before the end of the year.
Operations under consideration
In the future, the company will continue investing in the retail and residential sectors, where it is considering entering new locations such as Valencia, Málaga, Sevilla, Alicante, Madrid, Bilbao, San Sebastián and Vitoria, where it is identifying opportunities. “There is an increase in demand, oriented towards leasing. Spain is gaining ground, in line with other European countries, such as Germany and the United Kingdom”, says Eduardo Guardiola, Partner at the firm.
Guardiola believes that Spain suffers from a lack of supply and professional management in the residential rental market, which is adding to greater potential demand.
Moreover, the firm is considering entering other tertiary markets and wants to invest in offices and halls of residence for students. “Catella has a fund that invests in halls of residence for students at the European level. It is a very interesting asset, with lots of potential in Spain”, say the partners.
Both have a long history in the real estate sector. Before joining Catella, Hortelano was a Partner at PwC and previously served as the Director General of Operations at Redevco and was a member of the Dutch multi-national’s Board of Directors. Meanwhile, Guardiola has held positions of responsibility at PwC, Bouygues and Decathlon.
In terms of the real estate market, Catella believes that Spain is consolidating its position as one of the most attractive markets in Europe, but that, after years of rising returns, the sector has entered a new phase in which, in order to create value, you have to invest capex, professionalise the management and improve the rental market. “We have the opportunity to go from being an opportunity country to being a core country with a recurrent volume of investment every year”, say the executives.
Original story: Expansión (by Rebeca Arroyo)
Translation: Carmel Drake