Blackstone Buys La Llave de Oro’s Project in 22@ for €100M

17 January 2020 – Idealista

Blackstone has agreed to purchase an office building that La Llave de Oro is currently constructing in Barcelona’s 22@ district, in a deal that is expected to be closed for €100 million. The property is located on Calle Sancho de Ávila and will have a gross leasable area of 17,400 m2, on a plot spanning 3,300 m2.

The purchase of office buildings off-plan is becoming a bit of a habit in the Catalan capital’s 22@ technological district after the German bank Commerzbank paid €132 million in December for two offices that Conren Tramway is constructing there.

Original story: Idealista 

Translation/Summary: Carmel Drake

Sabadell Places €1,000M In 10-Year Mortgage Bonds

20 April 2017 – Expansión

It has taken Sabadell just four months to debut on the debt market this year. Yesterday, it completed the placement of €1,000 million in mortgage bonds with a maturity of 10 years, to leave Popular as the only entity that, given the uncertainty surrounding its specific situation, has not resorted to the capital markets to raise finance or secure resources for its capital buffer.

For these bonds, Sabadell is offering a coupon of 1%, in other words, 33 basis points above the mid-swap rate, the reference rate for issuances of fixed income securities in euros. The mortgage bonds are the safest debt that an entity can issue, given that, in Spain, they are guaranteed by all of the mortgage loans of the issuing bank, which serve as collateral in the event of bankruptcy. There has never been a default of this kind in Spain.

To carry out the operation, Sabadell has received help from Barclays, Commerzbank, Crédit Agricole, Lloyds and Natixis, as well as from its own investment banking team. Demand for the bond issue amounted to €2,400 million, in other words, more than twice the amount awarded.

Santander Totta

Meanwhile, Santander Totta, the Portuguese subsidiary of Santander, launched an order yesterday to place 7- and 10-year mortgage bonds. According to sources in the market, the operation will close tomorrow and will serve to raise cheap financing. Besides Santander, the following entities are participating in that operation: Unicredit, Deutsche Bank and Société Générale.

Original story: Expansión (by A. Stumpf)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Mastercard & Commerzbank Move Into Torre de Cristal

13 September 2016 – El Confidencial

The Cuatro Torres district is the new “City” in Madrid and is one of the areas where the leading real estate players have been operating with the most intensity over the last two years. The company chaired by Ignacio Garralda, Mutua Madrileña, fired the starting gun in February 2015, when it signed an agreement with KPMG to lease 18 floors in the Torre de Cristal, a third of the entire building, in an operation that allowed it to boost its occupancy rate from 42% to 70%.

Just four months later, Grupo Villar Mir put Torre Espacio up for sale, which the Philippine Group Emperador ended up buying for €558 million. By then, the skyscraper where PwC has its headquarters – the black tower that is also home to the Eurostars Hotel – had already changed hands, thanks to Merlin’s acquisition of Testa, and the sheikh Khadem al Qubaisi had already started putting the feelers out to sell Torre Cepsa, the skyscraper for which Amancio Ortega has offered to pay €490 million, according to El Confidencial.

Amidst this game of Monopoly being played out at the north of Paseo de la Castellana, two overseas financial entities, Mastercard and Commerzbank, have decided to transfer their offices to Torre de Cristal, the highest building in Spain, which measures 250m tall and contains 52 floors.

The credit card company has already moved into the skyscraper, whilst the German bank is currently undertaking refurbishment work ahead of its move before the end of the year.

But these two entities are not the only ones who have decided to move into the building owned by Mutua Madrileña. In recent months, following the arrival of KPMG with its 1,900 professionals, Torre de Cristial has seen a significant increase in the number of itstenants, after sealing several agreements with companies such as Red Hat, Cerner and Gesternova, which has allowed it to increase its occupancy rate to more than 82% and lease out a further 5,000 sqm.

Hardly any free floors left

The direct impact of the appetite for these skyscrapers from tenants and owners alike means that there are hardly any free floors left in the Cuatro Torres district (…).

Tower Sacyr (now owned by Merlin) is the only fully occupied tower, but it had to drastically reduce its rental prices to reach an agreement with PwC in 2011, during the worst years of the crisis, in order to acheive that.

Bankia also demanded that Cepsa occupy 100% of Torre Foster, but the oil company has now decided to put eight vacant floors up for rent. Those floors have a surface area of 13,000 sqm, a figure that is slightly higher than the 10,200 sqm that is also being marketed in Torre Espacio, the skyscraper where the main tenant is Grupo Villar Mir, which occupies half of the building.

These numbers show that the average occupancy figure for the Cuatro Torres district now exceeds 80%, a ratio that it has reached at a time when Azca, the traditional financial district in Madrid, is seeing a significant number of its properties undergo profound transformations.

The Cuatro Torres area will be further consolidated as a business centre with the upcoming construction of the so-called Fifth Tower, a skyscraper being developed by Grupo Villar Mir, in partnership with the fund Corestate, which Instituto de Empresa will occupy along with the health group Quirón, according to experts.

Original story: El Confidencial (by Ruth Ugalde)

Translation: Carmel Drake

BBVA Issues 5.5-Year Bonds Worth €1,250M

11 November 2015 – El Economista

Yesterday, BBVA completed the placement of mortgage bonds amounting to €1,250 million, with a five and a half year term, on which it will pay interest of 0.625%, the lowest coupon in the bank’s history for this kind of debt.

According to market sources, the strong demand from overseas investors allowed the bank to lower the price of the issue to 38 basis points above the midswap rate, the reference rate for this kind of issue.

The underwriting banks for the operation were BBVA itself, plus Commerzbank, Credit Agricole, HSBC and Natixis. The last time that BBVA carried out an operation of this kind was on 12 January 2015, when it also placed €1,250 million in mortgage bonds, although they had a 7-year term.

On that occasion, the entity paid interest of 0.75%, the lowest coupon on that kind of debt at that time, thanks to the fact that the operation attracted investors from all over the world, whose demand exceeded €2,500 million.

Following in the footsteps of CaixaBank

BBVA has launched this bond issue just one week after CaixaBank closed its own operation to issue 5-year mortgage bonds amounting to €1,000 million. Demand in that case almost doubled supply.

The price of that issue, which was closed on 4 November, amounted to 43 basis points above the midswap rate, and the bonds carry a coupon of 0.625%.

Original story: El Economista

Translation: Carmel Drake

Sabadell Launches €1,000M 5-Year Bond Issue

28 October 2015 – Cinco Días

Banco Sabadell has issued 5-year mortgage bonds amounting to €1,000 million, with a coupon of 0.625%, after applying 0.48 percentage points to the midswap index (the interest rate on risk-free money over a certain period). Commerzbank, Goldman Sachs, Lloyds Bank and Société Générale were the underwriters of the issue.

Sabadell initially planned to place €750 million, but requests were received for €1,500 million, and so the company decided to increase the volume. Sources close to the placement also highlight the quality of the orders.

The requests have been made by more than 80 international investors. Sources at the underwriting banks explain that Sabadell has become “the first bank in the south of Europe capable of undertaking an issue amounting to €1,000 million; in recent weeks, the maximum size has been €750 million”.

This bond issue comes a week after Cajamar completed its own debt issue, also placing 5-year mortgage bonds. That issue amounted to €750 million, whereby exceeding its initial objective of €500 million.

Cajamar set the placement price of the issue at 80 basis points above the midswap index (the benchmark rate for long-term issues) to offer a fixed annual coupon of 1% and a yield for investors of 1.22%. The underwriters in that case were Santander, JP Morgan, Natixis, Nomura and Deutsche Bank.

Original story: Cinco Días

Translation: Carmel Drake

Lone Star Puts ‘Rivas Futura’ Retail Park Up For Sale

9 July 2015 – Cinco Días

The opportunistic fund Lone Star has put the Rivas Futura retail park, in the Madrilenian town of Rivas Vaciamadrid, up for sale. The retail space covers an area of more than 40,000 m2 and includes around 30 large stores, such as Toys’r’us, Leroy Merlin, Media Markt, Decathlon, Kiab and Prenatal.

The retail park opened in May 2006. In 2008, the insurance company Axa Reim purchased it from Avantis for €81 million. Subsequently, it was included in Eurohypo’s secured loan portfolio.

The asset was subsequently included in the so-called Project Octopus, loans that were sold by Commerzbank (after its acquisition of Eurohypo), which Lone Star ended up purchasing.

This retail park currently has an occupancy rate of 80% and market sources say that the sales price could stand at around €70 million. The transaction has been brokered by Knight Frank, which has declined to comment on proceedings.

In Spain, Lone Star also acquired Kutxabank’s real estate arm, Neinor, last December, for €930 million and obtained control over the former Basque cajas’ property management platform. This fund, led by Juan Pepa in Spain, is committed to the residential market, through Neinor, and has plans to invest up to €1,000 million in land.

Original story: Cinco Días (by Alfonso Simón Ruiz)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Lone Star Aspires To Become The Largest Property Developer In Spain

12 February 2015 – Cinco Días

The American fund plans to make the most of the land and assets it acquired last year from Kutxabank and Eurohypo

“We are working to become the leading residential developer in Spain, the largest home builder in the country”, said the European Director of the American fund Lone Star, the Argentinian Juan Pepa, on Wednesday. “We are buying land directly”, he said, explaining that although “in 2012, everyone said that land was worthless”, we are now beginning to see opportunities for obtaining profits from its development.

“We do not regard ourselves as a foreign investor, but as an industrial agent that invests its dividends in the construction of homes”, said Pepa, claiming that 50% of the group’s efforts in Spain over the next decade will focus on the creation of thousands of jobs in the sector, which suffered significant job cuts during the crisis. Pepa was speaking at the presentation of a study conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) about trends in the real estate sector in Europe, which show that the appetite for residential assets is growing.

To achieve its objectives, Lone Star will rely on the two large transactions that it has signed since entering the Spanish market in 2012: the mega-purchase of Eurohypo’s assets and the acquisition of Kutxabank’s real estate arm, Neinor; these were the two largest transactions in their respective fields during the crisis.

The first transaction, signed with JP Morgan last spring, enabled Lone Star to purchase Eurohypo’s mortgage portfolio from Commerzbank for €3,500 million, when the bank valued the portfolio on its own books at €4,500 million. The acquisition will allow the fund to access significant portfolios of land and property that serve as collateral for the loans.

The second transaction, which was signed last December, for €930 million, gave the fund control of Kutxabank’s property management platform, including 90 dedicated employees, as well as 50% of the entity’s real estate assets. The assets mainly comprise land, as well as some completed developments primarily located in the Pais Vasco, Madrid, Barcelona, Murcia and Andalucía.

“The cycle in Spain is just beginning” said Juan Pepa, who spoke about a promising period lasting 10 years…; it is “becoming increasingly difficult to enter the market” and exit as a winner. “We almost missed out completely in Spain” he admits, explaining that the fund arrived in the country in 2012 but did not invest until last year, even though 2013 was “a very good year to make investments”.

For PwC partner Enrique Used, Lone Star’s project is a clear example that investments made two years ago are now beginning to bear fruit,  “cranes are the best sign that activity is returning”. In this context….we are beginning to detect interest from new investors – although interest from opportunistic funds is still evident – and the appetite for residential assets is growing, in the face of the thriving office market.

Meanwhile, the vice-president and CEO of the Alternative Investment Market (Mercado Alternativo Bursátil or MAB), Jesús González, said that he expects to see six new real estate investment companies (Socimis) float their shares before the summer.

Original story: Cinco Días (by Juande Portillo)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Lone Star & JPMorgan Acquire Octopus of Eurohypo For €3.5 Bn

20/05/2014 – Expansion

The sale of the large loan portfolio of Eurohypo raised the real estate fever of investors to the limits. Yesterday, the German giant Commerzbank  announced coming to a pre-agreement with Lone Star and JPMorgan on transfer of the credits for €3.5 billion.

At the auction, the winners outbid the offer submitted by the Blackstone and Deutsche Bank consortium. Lone Star and JPMorgan bought the “Octopus” portfolio with a 25% discount on its nominal value (€4.5 billion).

It is worth to remind that the loan package contains such precious collateral property as the Ritz or the Gran Meliá Fénix hotels, the Zielo de Pozuelo or the La Vaguada shopping centers in Madrid and the MN4 in Valencia, as well as debt of large real estate managers like Bami, Inmobiliaria Chamartín, Testa or Realia.


Original article: Expansión (by Jorge Zuloaga)

Translation: AURA REE

Goldman & Värde Join Forces to Bid For Eurohypo

25/04/2014 – Expansion

The sale of Commerzbank´s affiliate in Spain may still topple over. So far, it has been taken for granted that the €4.5 billion lot of non-performing loans linked to property will be sold as a whole but now it turned out that the portfolio might be chopped into pieces and sold separately to funds.

Eurohypo will be transferred to hands of one of the bank-fund alliances created with view to acquistion of the credit package. The latest deal was made between Goldman Sachs and Värde Partners. At the bidding, they will face up to Apollo allied with Santander, Blackstone with Deutsche Bank, Lone Star with JPMorgan and Cerberus that could attend together with Credit Suisse or Bank of America.

At the moment, the “Octopus Project” is the largest credit portfolio on sale in Europe. The investors shall present their binding offers up to 5th May.

Last year, Goldman Sachs and Azora bought 3.000 houses in the Community of Madrid for €201 million. In turn, Värde Partners with Kennedy Wilson acquired Aliseda from Popular for €810 million.



Original article: Expansión (by Jorge Zuloaga)

Translation: AURA REE

Funds & Banks Join Forces to Bid For Eurohypo

10/02/2014 – Expansion

The sale of Eurohypo in Spain is reserved for high-flying vulture funds only. As the nominal value of the transaction reaches €4.500 million, some of the competitors, not used to the several-million investments, will have to seek partners. Them they find in banks.

Blackstone, the biggest private equity firm, alliated with Deutsche Bank. The U.S. Lone Star will pull together with Wells Fargo and its rival Bank of America is looking for a fund for itself. Also, Apollo (already having its own bank, Evo), Fortress, Cerberus and HIG are calling for attention.

The reason for the temporary alliances is not only the transaction´s scope (that is said to reach even €2.000 million), but also the content of the porfolio: up-to-date credits, that will have to be managed by a financial institution.

The Content

The portfolio is compound of €3.000 million in up-to-date loans and €1.500 in unpaid credits, inherited by Commerzbank´s real estate after the bubble burst.

The opportunistic investors lurk the assets at the edge of bankruptcy as they will end up as real estate property in collateral.

The Operation Octopus includes debts of Bami, Martinsa-Fadesa, Inmobiliaria Chamartín and huge shopping malls, like Zielo de Pozuelo or H2O de Rivas Vaciamadrid, both found in Madrid. The transaction will be advised by Lazard.

Other assets put on sale by Eurohypo are the ABC Serrano shopping center and the offices of the Unidad Editorial on the Avenida de San Luis Avenue, acquired by IBA Capital for €96 million at the end of 2013.


Original article: Expansión (Jorge Zuloaga)

Translation: AURA REE