Habitat will Invest €500M in Land Purchases by 2021

23 October 2018 – Expansión

Habitat, the property developer controlled by the investment fund Bain Capital, is planning to invest €500 million in land purchases between now and 2021.

The company, which has unveiled its business plan for the next few years, expects to hand over 2,000 homes per year from 2021 onwards. Currently, Habitat owns 800,000 m2 of land for the construction of 9,000 homes.

“Bain has provided sufficient capital to finance the purchase of land with own funds. There is no debt except for property developer loans”, explained Juan María Nin (pictured above), President of the real estate company.

To date, the firm has invested €70 million in the purchase of land and it is planning to invest an additional €50 million over the coming months with the aim of continuing its growth.

Brad Palmer, Managing Director and Head of Bain in Europe, said that following the entry of the fund, the company is “healthy and ready to grow”.

Palmer indicated that, for the time being, the fund is not thinking about an IPO, but rather is focusing on the purchase of land, constituting a good professional team and offering a high-quality product for its clients.

Similarly, he indicated that, in a market as fragmented as Spain, consolidation between real estate companies is possible, although it is too early to say what role Habitat will play in that process.

The CEO of Habitat, José Carlos Saz, indicated that although most of the portfolio is buildable land, the property developer is also opening the door to buying land under management.

Saz also said that the property developer plans to close the year with revenues of almost €100 million and a positive gross operating profit (EBITDA).

Original story: Expansión (by Rebeca Arroyo)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Urban Hubs: The Future Pillars of the Last Mile are Seducing the Real Estate Sector

22 October 2018 – Eje Prime

Blackstone, Goldman Sachs, Prologis and Amazon have started to invest in urban hubs. The future pillars of e-commerce logistics are still in an embryonic phase, but the large real estate investors have started to track these types of assets, whereby sparking interest from other players. Forgotten old warehouses and factories (and even office buildings) in inner cities are now seducing these giants, which regard them as the new urban nuclei for handling same-day deliveries, and even, same-hour deliveries, which are demanded by e-commerce nowadays. Spanish investors are already beginning to study opening logistics centres in the heart of Madrid and Barcelona.

The Spanish market is still at the tail of the e-commerce market in Europe, where it represents just 4% of all retail sales, compared with 12% in the United Kingdom and 16% in the United States, according to the ratings agency Moody’s. Nevertheless, experts forecast that e-commerce in Spain, and on the rest of the planet, will continue to make inroads to ultimately account for one third of all retail sales.

This drastic transformation of retail is challenging for the traditional logistics system, comprising regional distribution platforms located away from urban centres that supply different local warehouses to delivery to different businesses. The new system is supported by an e-fulfilment centre (a fully automated platform), which directly supplies several urban hubs located inside cities, which make deliveries to consumers (…).

Blackstone, one of the largest real estate investors in the world, has invested around €4 million in small urban warehouses in Europe since the beginning of 2018. Unlike large warehouses on the outskirts of cities, urban hubs are smaller facilities with a lower risk in terms of their development.

The sovereign Singapore fund, GIC, has also entered the segment. The investment group even has a specific division for building logistics facilities on urban land (…).

Nevertheless, they are difficult assets to find and mould for their new function. On the one hand, because cities have grown and transformed over the last few decades, with housing replacing former industrial land (…). On the other hand, because, these facilities need to be rethought for the constant entry and exit of goods.

The future urban hubs will be built on land still classified as industrial inside cities, which is much cheaper than residential. And, given the difficulty of expanding width-wise due to the lack of land, the plans involve constructing properties with various storeys. In large cities in Asia, where land prices are very high, multi-storey warehouses are already typical.

In addition to industrial land, another option for urban hubs is to use office buildings. To the extent that new business areas in new parts of cities are created, so empty and underused spaces are being left in city centres.

Currently, new technology-based distribution companies, such as Paack and Stuart, are shaking up the market, by accelerating e-commerce deliveries using logarithmic calculations. Meanwhile, traditional express transport companies, such as Seur and MRW, amongst others, have also started to adapt to expedite last mile deliveries with small warehouses in the centre of large cities.

Small signs in Spain

Sources in the real estate sector indicate that some investors specialising in retail have started to study the implementation of these types of logistics structure to complement the flagship stores in the centre of Madrid. Specifically, some players have started to analyse the option of installing urban hubs in office buildings.

In Barcelona, we have already seen one case along those lines. In 2016, Amazon opened a warehouse in the former headquarters of the publishing house Gustavo Gili, on Calle Rosselló in the El Eixample neighbourhood, to introduce its Prime Now service offering deliveries within the hour. Nevertheless, sources in the sector indicate that Amazon may have started to question the suitability of that platform since it has not managed to make the prices of the urban land profitable (…).

Aitor Martínez, Head of Industrial & Logistic are Savills Aguirre Newman, points out that in some cities, such as London and Málaga, pilot tests are being carried out regarding deliveries of the future. A common denominator in all of them are the urban hubs. In the logistics of the future, these new logistical nuclei, will not only speed up deliveries, but they will also respond to other challenges in the sector, such as the introduction of greater restrictions over the entry of vehicles into city centres and the prohibition of polluting vehicles from the roads (…).

Original story: Eje Prime (by S. Riera & P. Riaño)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Aedas Homes has a Landbank Covering 4+ years of Visibility

8 October 2018 – Nasdaq

Aedas Homes, a leading property developer in the new real estate cycle in Spain, already has enough land in its portfolio to cover deliveries until 2022, as well as a significant part of 2023, thereby confirming the delivery targets set out in its IPO prospectus. The company’s landbank (close to 90% is classified as ready-to-build) will allow it to develop up to 14,521 homes in Spain’s key residential markets and is considered by analysts to be the best in the country.

So far in 2018, the publicly traded company, with CEO David Martínez at the helm, has completed the construction of 222 homes scheduled for delivery this year, 190 of which have already been sold.  As of August 31, the company had 6,287 active units, 55% more than in December 2017, and of those, 1,623 were already under construction. These figures reflect the strength of the property developer’s operating capacity during its first year.

In 2019, the developer plans to deliver almost five times as many homes, with a delivery target of 1,055 residential units; 1,071 homes are currently under construction and 761 have been sold. In 2020, Aedas Homes will deliver 1,986 homes and reach its cruising speed in terms of launches (3,000). The plan for 2021 is to deliver 2,438 homes and begin 2,471 new projects. 2022 will mark the moment when the developer reaches its cruising speed in terms of deliveries, with plans to put 3,063 homes in the hands of customers and launch another 3,000. In 2023, the number of homes being delivered will reach 3,326.

Martínez highlighted the company’s strict compliance with the goals announced at its IPO, noting that the company returned a profit one year ahead of schedule. Specifically, the property developer earned €3.7 million during the first half of 2018, making it the first of the new large developers in Spain to become profitable, and doing so only eight months after being listed on the Madrid stock market.

“We designed a realistic business plan, meaning that we will reach our targets in the coming years: by 2020, for example, we will have delivered more than 3,200 homes. Right now, we have almost 6,300 active units across 117 developments which gives us the visibility we need in terms of our objectives,” Martínez explained.

About Aedas Homes

The property developer Aedas Homes became a listed company on 20 October 2017 in Madrid, with a market capitalization of over €1.5 billion. Aedas is an industry leader at the national level and aims to play an important role in the new cycle of the Spanish real estate sector, which must be marked by professionalism and an adherence to rigorous standards.

Aedas Homes has a fully permitted residential landbank with more than 1.5 million buildable square metres (the highest quality landbank in Spain, according to analysts). This will permit the development of 14,500 residential units in the key markets, and their surrounding areas (both in terms of real estate and finance) where Aedas operates: the Centre, Cataluña, the East & Mallorca, Andalucía and the Costa del Sol.

Original story: Nasdaq 

Edited by: Carmel Drake

Aelca to Invest €200M Per Year in Land Purchases

28 February 2018 – Expansión

Aelca is moving forward with firm steps and already forms part of the new generation of listed property developers controlled by funds or, in its case, is on the verge of making its stock market debut. The firm constituted in 2012 by Javier Gómez and José Juan Martín, now the joint CEOs of the group, closed last year with a profit before tax (PAT) of €25.5 million, up by 154% YoY, and revenues of €132.2 million, up by 27%. And, it is preparing to continue growing through purchases.

“In 2018, we are going to have a production capacity, both in terms of construction work as well as pre-sales, of around 6,300 homes and, in 2019, we should reach cruising speed, with the delivery of around 2,000 or 2,500 homes. We have been working on and handing over developments since 2014, and growing at sustainable rates”, explains Javier Gómez to Expansión.

Specifically, the company sold 1,118 units in 2017 and handed over almost 500 homes. This year, pre-sales are expected to exceed 1,600 homes and revenues are expected to amount to around €160 million or €170 million.

Aelca wrote a new chapter in its history in the middle of 2016 when the US fund Värde purchased a 75% stake in the property developer from Avintia for €50 million and gave a boost to the business. “Investment in the company over the last 18 months since then has been significant, with more than €400 million spent on land purchases. Over the next few years, we plan to invest between €150 million and €200 million per year in land”, explains the director.

After several capital increases, Värde currently controls 80% of Aelca, whilst the remaining 20% remains in the hands of the founders.

In terms of the stock market debut, Gómez acknowledges that going public is a natural exit for the funds and expects that it could be an option in 2019. For the director, although Aelca is already the right size to list, the group’s plans involve continuing to grow and taking advantage of opportunities.

Gómez acknowledges that to debut on the stock market after its competitors may be a risk, but adds “we have a history of deliveries, a strong track record and a set of results that support us”.

Madrid and Andalucía

Specifically, the group has purchased land in Dos Hermanas (Sevilla), mostly from CaixaBank, for a mega-project involving 2,100 homes.

Moreover, like its rivals such as Neinor, Aelca is looking at the possibility of buying up non-finalist land and is analysing operations worth between €50 million and €70 million. “We are analysing the option of acquiring land under development, at the most advanced stage possible, in Madrid and Andalucía”, he explains.

Currently, Aelca has a land portfolio spanning 1.3 million m2, worth more than €1 billion and with capacity to launch around 13,000 homes.

The company has six regional offices in País Vasco, Cataluña, Madrid, Málaga and the Comunidad Valenciana and is not planning to expand its footprint at this stage. “There are still great opportunities in those locations”.

Original story: Expansión (by Rebeca Arroyo)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Amazon Constructs New Logistics Centre In Paterna (Valencia)

18 July 2017 – Eje Prime

Amazon is continuing to expand its logistics business in Spain as it strengthens its activity. The US company has started work on a new logistics centre in Paterna (Valencia), at the same time as launching three new warehouses in Spain’s central region: one in Illescas (Toledo) and another two in the Madrilenian towns of Los Gavilanes de Getafe and Alcobendas.

For the time being, Amazon has submitted a statement of compliance to the Town Hall of Paterna, prior to the launch of its “logistics warehouse” activity, according to El Mundo. The document submitted by the US company will allow it to open and begin its activity within a maximum period of one month, provided that no objections are raised by the municipal technicians during that time.

The operation affects a plot that has the option of being extended considerably and which may become one of the group’s first strategic sites in the Comunidad Valenciana with regards to the future of its logistics network in the country.

In recent months, Amazon has stepped on the accelerator in terms of logistics with the investment of €30 million in a plant in El Prat del Llobregat (Barcelona) and the expansion of its Madrilenian centre in San Fernando de Henares. The group has also launched three new facilities in Cataluña: two centres to provide support for urgent deliveries and one logistics centre in Castellbisbal.

Original story: Eje Prime

Translation: Carmel Drake

Amazon’s Rise Boosts Logistics Leasing In Madrid

12 July 2017 – Cinco Días

Amazon has become the indisputable star of the new wave of expansion being seen in the logistics real estate sector in Spain. By way of example, in the last six months, the US e-commerce giant has starred in two of the largest operations in the sector. The first, involving a warehouse measuring 34,000 m2 in Martorelles (Barcelona) and the second, the largest during H1, in Getafe (Madrid), where it has leased 58,125 m2 of space in total (…).

According to the consultancy firm JLL, the volume of space leased in Madrid, including this deal, has doubled in one year in terms of square metres, to exceed 380,000 m2. Meanwhile, Barcelona continues at the same high rate seen in 2015 and 2016.

“In Madrid, a significant amount of demand has been contained in the market – it was forecast in previous years and has now flourished”, explained Pere Morcillo, Director of Industrial and Logistics at JLL. “All of the large users of logistics space were aware that their warehouses had very high occupancy rates and that the need for new space was imminent”, he added. Another reason is the economic dynamism in the country, after the hard years of crisis, together with the new models of consumption.

“The record level is due to the growth of the Spanish economy, which is based on the growth of exports and domestic consumption, as well as on imports and the growth of online businesses”, said Luis Lázaro, Director of Logistics at the Socimi Merlin Properties.

It is precisely these listed real estate investment companies (Socimi), created from 2014 onwards, and international funds, that have provided the sector with the necessary investment to undertake new projects to construct logistics warehouses. (…). According to the head of JLL: “We have seen Socimis such as Lar and Axiare, and in particular, Merlin, enter the market to buy land. Their logistics investment objectives are so ambitious that they are having to create the stock that didn’t exist before to be able to incorporate it into their portfolios”.

Besides the Socimis, funds such as P3 Logistics Parks, Rockspring, GreenOak, Logicor (sold by Blackstone to China Investment) have starred in the majority of the transactions and new developments seen in Spain in recent months.

Indeed, P3 Logistics will be responsible for Amazon’s macro turn-key project in Illescas (Toledo), a plan that should see the light within the next few weeks with the award of the work tender.

Data from the consultancy firm Cushman & Wakefield (C&W) also reflects the record investment in Madrid. “Logistics operators are responding to a general climate of major activity in consumption and industrial production”, says the report issued by the consultancy. “The new lease contracts are focusing on the first and third rings (around Madrid). Parcel distributors are active in the first ring, primarily in Getafe and San Fernando. Meanwhile, in the third ring, operators are looking for large spaces (spanning more than 20,000 m2) with good locations for high volume logistics. In this segment of the market, the rental price plays a key role”.

This ring contains several key sites, such as Cabanillas del Campo, on the A-2 motorway close to Guadalajara. Similarly, Illescas, on the A-42, which is starting to establish itself through the Amazon project and other warehouses, such as those leased to Toyota and Michelin. In Cataluña, C&W highlights the sites at Camp de Tarragona and Vallès Oriental, which account for two-thirds of the space leased in Barcelona’s area of influence.

In terms of forecasts, the director at Merlin believes that the trend in the logistics sector will continue to be positive. (…).

Original story: Cinco Días (by Alfonso Simón Ruiz)

Translation: Carmel Drake