British Real Estate Firms May be Forced to Sell their Shopping Centres in Spain

16 June 2019 – Expansión

Two of the largest British real estate companies with interests in Spain are considering selling off some or all of their assets on the Iberian peninsula in light of the challenging climate in the retail sector at home.

The bankruptcy and restructuring of several high-street stores – including the department store group Debenhams and the owner of Top Shop, Arcadia – are leaving many premises in the UK empty. As such, questions are being asked about the debt on the balance sheets of the landlords of those properties, causing a rethink in their overseas strategies.

In this context, Intu Properties and Hammerson have both launched asset sales plans in an attempt to raise GBP 600 million and €500 million, respectively. In Spain, Intu owns 50% of Xanadú (Madrid), Puerto Venecia (Zaragoza) and Parque Principado (Asturias), and is also building a new complex in Málaga. It would likely sell its stakes to its existing partners – TH Real Estate in the case of Xanadú and CPPIB in the case of Puerto Venecia and Parque Principado – although it is also holding conversations with third parties in order to maximise the price of any potential sales.

Meanwhile, Hammerson, which specialises in outlet stores, is considering selling some of its shares in the Las Rozas Village (Madrid) and La Roca Village (Barcelona). It owns direct stakes in both of those complexes, as well as a 25% in Value Retail, a company that holds stakes in 9 outlets across Europe, including Las Rozas and La Roca. In total, Hammerson owns 41% of La Roca and 38% of Las Rozas.

Nevertheless, in parallel, Hammerson is looking to increase its stake in Vía Outlets from 47% to 50%. Vía Outlets is another outlet group, worth GBP 400 million, which owns 11 centres across Europe with 2 in Spain, specifically, in Mallorca and Sevilla.

Original story: Expansión (by Roberto Casado)

Translation/Summary: Carmel Drake

Sabadell’s Board Evaluates 3 Offers Amounting to c. €850M For its Property Developer

28 May 2019 – El Confidencial

On Monday, Banco Sabadell received three binding offers for its property developer, Sabadell Desarrollos Inmobiliarios, from the funds Cerberus, Oaktree and a third unknown candidate, amounting to between €800 million and €900 million.

The board of directors of the Catalan entity chaired by Josep Oliu now needs to decide whether to accept one of them and thereby pave the way for the creation of a new major player in the Spanish property developer sector to compete alongside the likes of Neinor, Metrovacesa, Vía Célere and Aedas.

Oaktree has been the favourite in the bidding for the last few months given its good relationship with Sabadell and with the property developer itself, with which it already operates at least one joint venture. It would represent the US investor’s first operation of its kind in Spain, where it currently has a small platform with just 20 employees.

Nevertheless, Cerberus has been gaining ground. Unlike Oaktree, the US giant already has a property development platform in Spain, Inmoglacier, to which it wants to supply new land (which SDin owns). Cerberus could also benefit from synergies between the two firms.

Meanwhile, the identity of the third candidate remains confidential, but possible contenders include Habitat (Bain Capital), Aedas and the Canadian fund CPPIB, which were all reported to be evaluating the purchase during the preliminary phase.

Initially, Sabadell was hoping to receive more than €1 billion for its property developer, but following uncertainty in the sector in recent months and the sale of several assets, it will have to accept a more modest price if a sale is to be agreed.

Original story: El Confidencial (by Jorge Zuloaga)

Translation/Summary: Carmel Drake

Cerberus & Oaktree in the Final Round to Buy ‘Solvia Desarrollos Inmobiliarios’

5 April 2019 – Expansión

Banco Sabadell is on the home stretch for the sale of 100% of its property developer, Solvia Desarrollos Inmobiliarios (SDIn). The funds Cerberus, through its property developer Inmoglacier, and Oaktree have made it through to the final round of the operation, which could be closed within the next few days or weeks.

The consultancy firm Savills Aguirre Newman has estimated that SDIn’s assets are worth more than €1.3 billion and the entity chaired by Josep Oliu (pictured above) is hoping to record proceeds of around €1 billion from the sale.

The portfolio comprises 270 buildable plots for the construction of around 15,000 homes, half of which are in Cataluña, although it also contains plots in Madrid, Andalucía and Valencia.

It has been reported that two other investment funds may have also been selected for the final round (out of Apollo, Goldman Sachs and CPPIB) but Oaktree is understood to be the favourite. Rothschild is advising the divestment process.

Original story: Expansión (by R. Sampedro and S. Saborit)

Translation/Summary: Carmel Drake

CPPIB Wants to Acquire 100% of Puerto Venecia & Parque Principado

19 March 2019 – Expansión

Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) has emerged as the favourite to acquire the stakes owned by Intu Properties in the Spanish shopping centres Puerto Venecia (Zaragoza) and Parque Principado (Asturias) after the British group announced its plans to sell up in the country.

Intu is contemplating the sale of its 50% stakes in the two complexes, in a deal that could be worth €450 million, with the British group valuing its investments in Puerto Venecia and Parque Principado at €268 million and €161 million, respectively.

CPPIB owns the remaining 50% in both shopping centres and has the right of first refusal if Intu does decide to divest. Preliminary discussions are already underway between the two parties.

Meanwhile, in Madrid, Nuveen could be interested in taking control of the Xanadú shopping centre, which it owns jointly with Intu (50% each).

Original story: Expansión (by R. Casado)

Translation/Summary: Carmel Drake

Intu Considers Selling its 4 Shopping Centres in Spain to Pay Off Debt

6 March 2019 – Expansión

The British retail giant, Intu Properties, is considering putting up for sale its real estate assets in Spain in order to pay off some of its debt. The company’s stock market value has plummeted to €2 billion in recent months, and its debt amounts to more than €5 billion, following two unsuccessful takeover bids for the company last year.

The firm has reportedly received expressions of interest for its Spanish portfolio, which is worth €1 billion in total, from several large international investors. The assets in question are Xanadú (Madrid), Puerto Venecia (Zaragoza), Parque Principado (Asturias) and a mega-project currently under construction in Málaga.

No formal sales process has been initiated yet but a number of unsolicited offers have been received. Nevertheless, legal sources state that the firm would have to offer the right of first refusal to its shareholder partners in each case, namely CPPIB in the case of Puerto Venecia and Parque Principado, and Nuveen (previously TH Real Estate) in the case of Xanadú, before opening any sales process to the wider market.

Other potential suitors include Castellana Properties (the firm backed by the South African investor Vukile) and the Slovenian group J&T.

Original story: Expansión (by Roberto Casado & Rebeca Arroyo)

Translation: Carmel Drake

CPPIB Awards Altamira the Mandate to Manage BBVA’s Former €1.5bn Portfolio

1 March 2019 – Voz Pópuli

The Canadian pension fund (CPPIB) has delegated the management of the Ánfora portfolio, purchased from BBVA, to the servicer Altamira, according to financial sources consulted by this newspaper. Altamira has declined to comment on the reports.

It is a striking decision given that the fund decided to sell its stake in the servicer to DoBank in January, along with Apollo.

Between them, the two funds used to own 85% of Altamira. Santander owns the remaining 15%, although that stake could also end up being sold to DoBank. This operation shows that the Canadian fund continues to trust in Altamira, despite its exit from the company.

Agreement with BBVA

BBVA signed an agreement to sell the aforementioned loan portfolio, which mainly comprises mortgage loans (primarily doubtful and non-performing loans) with a live balance of approximately €1.49 billion to CPPIB in December. That operation formed part of the bank’s strategy to reduce its exposure to real estate risk to a minimum.

In the last two years, BBVA has closed a series of operations that form part of that real estate strategy, including the transfer of its real estate business in Spain to Cerberus, which was announced in November 2017 and closed last October.

The acquisition of 100% of the share capital of the servicer has been valued at €412 million in business value terms, according to Oliver Wyman, strategic advisor to the operation.

Altamira offers NPL services, including the sale, development and administration of real estate assets, advisory services and portfolio administration activities. In 2017, it had a market share of 15% in Spain, with assets amounting to more than €140 billion and a workforce of 2,200 employees.

Original story: Voz Pópuli (by David Cabrera)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Lone Star & Cerberus Increase their Commitment to Spanish Property

21 February 2019 – Expansión

The need for the banks to reduce their exposure to property and the funds’ appetite for the Spanish real estate sector have converged in recent years leading to the transfer of portfolios of debt and foreclosed assets worth millions of euros. Blackstone, Cerberus, Lone Star, the Canadian pension fund (CPPIB), Bain, Axactor and Lindorff are the funds that have been behind most of the major transactions involving portfolios of bank debt secured by real estate collateral during that period.

Emilio Portes, Director of Quantitative & Risk Management at JLL for Southern Europe, said that, following a frantic 2017 when more than €55 billion was transacted, last year saw portfolios sold with a gross value of more than €45 billion (…).

In 2018, the indisputable star was Lone Star, which took control of a portfolio worth around €12.8 billion from CaixaBank. Specifically, CaixaBank sold that portfolio along with Servihabitat to a company called Coral Homes in which Lone Star owns an 80% stake. Cerberus was also active last year with the purchase of several portfolios from Sabadell, Santander and CaixaBank with a total gross value of €12.5 billion. Behind it, came CPPIB, Axactor, D.E. Shaw and Lindorff, according to data provided by JLL.

“The sum of the transactions recorded over the last two years exceeds €100 billion, which places Spain as one of the countries with the largest transaction volume in Europe and the most liquid in terms of real transactions”, says Portes. In those portfolios, there are various types of assets, mainly residential, but also land, offices, premises and hotels.

The year ahead

During 2019, the banks will continue to divest assets, although with smaller portfolio sales. “In 2019, we expect a transaction volume of €20 billion, in addition to whatever Sareb ends up doing”, revealed Portes. He explains that most of the large Spanish banks have now reduced their NPA (non-performing asset) ratios to below 5%.

Following the activity undertaken by the large banks, all eyes are now focused on the medium and small-sized entities, particularly those with the greatest property exposure and therefore most pressure, as well as on Sareb, which has assets worth more than €35 billion still left to sell (…).

The heirs of the banks’ property, having purchased at significant discounts, have an average investment horizon of five years before they undo their positions (…)

Original story: Expansión (by Rebeca Arroyo)

Translation: Carmel Drake

BBVA Sells its Stake in Avantespacia to Manuel Jove’s RE Company

8 January 2019 – El Economista

BBVA is continuing to divest property. This time with the sale of its stake in Avantespacia Inmobiliaria, the company that it constituted in 2016 to undertake real estate projects in Spain.

The entity has sold its remaining 30% stake in the firm to Inveravante, the holding company owned by the businessman Manuel Jove, the founding partner of the real estate company, who now owns the entire firm.

With this operation, Avantespacia “is strengthening its commitment to the residential real estate sector in Spain, with housing developments in the prime areas of the main provincial capitals of our country”, said the company in a note.

This operation forms part of a company restructuring process of the real estate division of Inveravante with the aim of “charting a global strategy, in accordance with the challenges that the sector poses for the future in both the domestic and international spheres”.

Jove’s company, founded in 2007 in A Coruña, divides its activity into different business areas, since in addition to real estate, it also works in the hotel segment, in selected agri-food products, and in the energy sector. Currently, the company has an international presence and operates in Morocco, Mexico, Brazil, Panama, the Dominican Republic, Canada, Germany and Romania.

BBVA has been one of the most active entities in the sale of loan portfolios, signing its most recent operation on 26 December with the sale of Project Ánfora to an entity managed by the Canadian pension fund CPPIB. Specifically, it sold a portfolio of loans comprising mainly doubtful and non-performing mortgage loans, with a live balance of approximately €1.49 billion (…).

Original story: El Economista (by Alba Brualla)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Apollo Negotiates the Sale of Altamira to Dobank (Fortress) for €500M

21 December 2018 – El Confidencial

The sale of Altamira, the historical real estate arm of Banco Santander, is facing its most decisive moment. The Italian group Dobank has positioned itself as the primary candidate in recent days to purchase the platform owned by Apollo and Santander, amongst others, by submitting an offer for between €500 million and €550 million, according to financial sources consulted by El Confidencial.

The offer is somewhat lower than Apollo and its other two partners in Altamira’s share capital, the Canadian pension fund CPPIB and the Abu Dhabi fund ADIA, had expected. Between the three of them, they control an 85% stake, whilst the remaining 15% is in the hands of Santander.

The shareholders engaged Goldman Sachs to coordinate the sale with the aim of obtaining proceeds of €600 million. Nevertheless, the lack of competition has decreased the price in recent weeks. The deal was also influenced by the withdrawal of Intrum, which decided not to buy Altamira after winning the bid to acquire Solvia, according to the same sources.

That price difference means that Apollo and Goldmans are taking their time over the completion of the operation. Apollo, CPPIB and ADIA paid €664 million for the 85% stake in the real estate firm back in the day. Despite that, they do not have to reach that figure to recover their investments, given that they have received various dividends in recent years that compensate their profitability figures.

Dobank is the Italian platform owned by Fortress, the US fund that used to operate in Spain in the recovery of financial assets, through Paratus, Geslico and Lico Corporación.

The platform has been interested in entering the Spanish market for a while and regards Altamira as the ideal partner, given that it is the property manager that has been the most committed to internationalisation. It already operates in Portugal, Cyprus and Greece and the next major market into which it wants to expand is Italy.

Santander has not yet decided what it will do with its 15% stake in Altamira, whether to sell it together with the stakes of the other shareholders or to hold onto it to retain some control over the future of the platform, which still manages some of its assets.

Original story: El Confidencial (by Jorge Zuloaga)

Translation: Carmel Drake

BBVA Sells its Last Large Problem Portfolio to CPPIB

17 December 2018 – El Confidencial

The Canadian fund CPPIB has been awarded BBVA’s last major portfolio of problem assets. The investor, which manages the money of the public pensions in the North American country, is negotiating the final details of its purchase of €2.5 billion in unpaid real estate loans from the Spanish entity, according to financial sources consulted by El Confidencial. BBVA declined to comment.

The sale, framed as Project Ánfora, is going to close within the next few days.

CPPIB has won the bid, fighting off competition from two major US investors: Cerberus and Lone Star. The auction has been coordinated by Alantra and, according to average market prices, must have been closed for a price of around €1 billion.

For BBVA, this same represents almost the conclusion of the clean up of its real estate inheritance. Together with Project Ánfora, the entity, which is still chaired by Francisco González, agreed to sell €12-13 billion in property to Cerberus (Project Marina) a year ago. The final details of that operation are still being closed with the Deposit Guarantee Fund (FGD).

Before the sale of Ánfora and Marina, BBVA had a net real estate exposure of €5.5 billion, based on data as at September 2018. The aim is for the real estate inheritance to be reduced to almost zero by the end of the year.

The Ánfora portfolio also contains refinanced loans amounting to €900 million, a new type of asset in this type of process.

For CPPIB, this is the second batch of problem assets that it has purchased from BBVA this year. It already acquired Project Sintra, containing €1 billion in unpaid loans to property developers.

The Canadian fund broke into Spain a few years ago with the acquisition of Altamira, together with Apollo and the ADIA sovereign fund, the main investor vehicle of Abu Dhabi. CPPIB’s interest in Spanish real estate means that it cannot be ruled out that it will end up being the buyer of Altamira following the current sales process. Large vehicles such as the Canadian one use alternative assets such as properties to diversify their portfolios and reduce their dependence on stock market and bonds.

Original story: El Confidencial (by Jorge Zuloaga)

Translation: Carmel Drake