La Finca Goes On Market For €700M: A Chinese Fund Is Interested

22 September 2016 – Ok Diario

Procisa, the property developer behind the business and residential complex La Finca, located in the northwest of Madrid, has put the “For Sale” sign up. Its Board of Directors is now listening to offers for the purchase of 100% of the company’s share capital, which is currently controlled by the heirs of Luis García Cereceda, founder of the family empire who died in 2010. There are already several investors interested in negotiating the purchase of the group.

According to sources close to the company’s Board of Directors, the objective right now is to continue depreciating the assets and to close the sale before the crisis that the company is undergoing hinders the operation.

According to data from the Commercial Registry, the value of Procisa’s assets decreased to €890 million at the end of 2014 (the last year for which accounts are available), an figure that falls well below the more than €1,000 million recorded in 2010. In fact, according to the sources consulted, the firm is currently reported to be worth around €700 million, a figure that concerns the company’s directors.

The key behind the success of this operation is for the majority shareholder, Susana García Cereceda, to give her approval for the sale of 100% of Procisa, something which has been denied until now. In fact, in June, the General Shareholders’ Meeting approved the carve out of the company into several companies, to allow the US fund Värde, which is investing in the Spanish real estate market, to enter the business. The majority shareholder wanted Värde to acquire 40% of the office business and for the entirety of the residential business to remain in the hands of the García Cereceda family.

According to the plans designed by the main shareholder, Procisa’s assets were going to be distributed between the new company La Finca Global Assets (which was going to manage the rental of offices and retail premises), the company Finca Somosaguas Golf (which was going to focus on building a luxury residential area under the Casablanca brand) and La Finca Promociones y Conciertos Inmobiliarios (into which the other assets and debts from the current Procisa company were going to be integrated).

Nevertheless, that operation was blocked by the Commercial Court number 11 of Madrid, in light of the opposition filed by Yolanda García, the sister of Susana and owner of 49% of Procisa. It was in this context that the company’s change of strategy arose, which is now “to listen to offers” in order to complete the sale of all of the company’s share capital. (…).

According to sources, a Chinese investment fund is already willing to make an offer for Procisa, although the sources consulted preferred not to give any more clues about the deal so as not to jeopardise the potential sale. The trump card that the company’s Board of Director have to close the operation is the recovery of the Spanish real estate sector, and the fact that a number of major companies are located in La Finca, both Spanish and multinationals. In addition, the company owns a luxury residential area, which has great potential to appreciate over the medium term.

Original story: Ok Diario (by L. Ramírez and Jaime Acero)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Wanda Sounds Out Market Re: Sale Of Edificio España

4 February 2016 – Expansión

The Wanda Group has started to sound out the real estate market regarding its possible sale of Edificio España. A priori, the group’s only requirement is that the transaction price be at least equal to the amount the Chinese company paid Banco Santander when it acquired the property in 2014, in other words, €265 million.

However, unless those terms are relaxed, the operation has little chance of success. According to the first round of preliminary conversations, investors with a potential interest in acquiring the skyscraper would be willing to pay between €180 million and €220 million. That amount could increase to €240 million if the Local Heritage Committee changes its mind and allows the demolition of the building’s façades; however, that is unlikely, at least until there is a change in the Government of the Community of Madrid (which chairs and holds a large majority on the board of that body), but in any case, the figures fall well short of the amount set originally by the holding company led by Wang Jianlin.

Although the sale of Edificio España is now its preferred option, Wanda has not yet ruled out the possibility of pushing ahead with the renovation of the property, which would involve the construction of around 300 luxury homes, a 200-room hotel and a five-storey shopping centre, with a budget of €700 million. The last meeting with the representatives of the capital’s Town Hall was held last Wednesday, and the only message to emerge from it was that the company’s spokespeople did not declare that they are planning to abandon the project, despite weeks of speculation to that effect.

There is also a third hypothetical scenario, assuming that the sale of the building does not go ahead and that Wanda rules out the option of renovating the property without demolishing the façades. This option, which Jianlin’s company is currently evaluating, would involve keeping the property in its portfolio for four years, whilst they wait for a change in Madrid’s government, which may result in urban planning actions that would not require it to conserve the skyscraper’s external structure.

Real estate sources indicate that the only option that the Chinese tycoon is not considering is that of abandoning the operation as he does not want to send the message that he has lost money. They also say that Edificio España is still a very attractive asset, thanks not only to its location, but also to the combination of authorised uses (hotel, residential, commercial). (…).

Although the renovation project has not been ruled out completely, the company has now rescinded the contracts that it had signed with several architectural firms and legal advisors in Madrid. It is keeping its sales office open in the hope that it may help the group achieve its goal of transferring the skyscraper to a new owner.

Meanwhile, Grupo Wanda suffered a further setback yesterday, in addition to the huge losses it has experienced on the stock market since the start of the Chinese crisis last summer: the ratings agency Fitch lowered its credit rating to BBB from BBB+, on the basis of lower sales forecasts for 2016 and 2017.

Original story: Expansión (by Luis M. De Ciria, M. Belver and R. Bécares)

Translation: Carmel Drake

HNA Seeks To Strengthen Its Position On NH’s Board

15 June 2015 – Expansión

The Chinese giant, which holds a 29.5% stake in the NH Group and has four directors on the Board, will ask the other shareholders to fix the number of board members at 11, in order to limit the advances of foreign funds.

HNA, the primary shareholder of the NH Group, with a 29.5% stake, will ask the hotel group to fix the number of members on the Board of Directors at 11, at the AGM on 29 June. HNA justifies the proposal, which has been included as an additional item on the meeting agenda, as being “in the interest of greater legal certainty”.

With this proposal, HNA is flexing its corporate muscles and seeking to close the door on NH’s foreign fund investors, by making the incorporation of new directors conditional on existing positions becoming vacant.

Currently, NH’s Board of Directors comprises 11 people, even though the company’s bylaws provide for a minimum of five members and a maximum of 20…The Chinese group already holds four seats on the Board and the Hesperia investor group has two. There are three independent directors and the Chairman (Rodrigo Echenique) and CEO (Federico González) also hold a seat each (…).

In order to stand up to NHA, three overseas fund managers (Oceanwood Capital, BlackRock and Henderson) purchased most of Banco Santander’s shares, which were sold on 21 May. Soon afterwards, Oceanwood, which holds a 7.7% stake, formally requested to join NH’s board (…).

The fear of the funds (minority shareholders) is that, if there is no increase in the number of independent directors, then HNA will strengthen its control over NH without having to launch a takeover bid (OPA) for the shares (…).

On the other side of the table is HNA, an Asian giant, which has demonstrated its desire to take control of the Spanish chain, since it first acquired a stake in the group in 2013. It seeks to continue as a major shareholder, but without acquiring 100% of its shares (…).

In parallel, HNA has opened the door to the Asian market to its investment company. Both companies created a joint venture with a Chinese majority, which will allow NH to debut in the country. In 2015, the Spanish chain will manage six hotels (in China) and the aim is to exceed 30 properties under management over the medium term.

Meanwhile, NH is continuing to improve its results. Between January and March, it generated revenues of €272.3 million and reduced its net losses by 24.7% to €29.1 million. On Friday, NH’s share price was down by 1.63% to €5.11.

Original story: Expansión (by Yovanna Blanco)

Translation: Carmel Drake