Azora Postpones the Liquidation of its European RE Investment Fund

6 March 2018 – Expansión

Strategy / The manager is asking the shareholders of Azora Europa 1, including Sabadell, Bankia, Abanca, Manuel Jove and the President of Ebro Foods, Antonio Hernández Callejas, to extend the divestment period.

With renowned shareholders, the firm Azora Europa 1 has convened an Extraordinary General Shareholders’ Meeting on 21 March, where it is going to address a change of strategy. The company was created by the heads of Azora in 2005 with the aim of looking for real estate investment opportunities. Two years later, when the real estate bubble burst in Spain, the firm started its journey with investments from Sabadell, Bankia, Kutxabank and Abanca, the businessman Manuel Jove – President of the holding company Inveravante and founder of the real estate company Fadesa –, and the President of the listed company Ebro Foods, Antonio Hernández Callejas.

Azora Europa 1 chose Eastern Europe as its primary investment destination and rental properties as its main asset. Thus, between 2008 and 2015, Azora Europa undertook 10 real estate projects in Poland and another one in the Czech Republic. During that period, Azora’s fund closed its investor period with a total volume of €410 million, of which €140 million corresponded to own funds.

Ten years after its launch, its directors terminated the fund’s journey and requested authorisation from its shareholders to initiate the divestment process. Nevertheless, one year on, the company has taken a step back from that initial plan and is going to ask its investors to postpone its complete liquidation. The fund, which at its height accumulated a dozen properties, two for residential use and the rest for office use in Poland and the Czech Republic, has decided to divest the residential complexes and the Galerías Louvre in Prague, and exclusively hold onto its office portfolio in Poland. The reason given is the high returns offered by those assets, say sources at Azora. It is a portfolio leased almost in its entirety and which includes, amongst others, the headquarters of BNP Paribas Fortis in Krakow and the Harmony Office Centre in Warsaw, whose main tenant is Millennium Bank.

Now, the heads of Azora (the company that also manages the Socimi Hispania) are going to have to obtain approval from their shareholders, on 21 March, to extend the initial divestment period. At the meeting, the subject of a capital reduction will also be addressed, for a maximum amount of €6.16 million.


According to the latest published accounts, Azora Europa 1’s real estate investments were worth €260.7 million as at December 2016, compared with €269.5 million a year earlier. In 2016, the fund recorded revenues of €30.6 million, of which €12.8 million proceeded from the sale of properties (compared with €1.8 million generated from the same concept a year earlier). In that year, Azora Europa 1 recorded losses of €3.73 million, primarily due to provisions recorded for the impairment of tax credits.

Original story: Expansión (by Rocío Ruiz)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Hispania Finalises Sale Of Its Office Portfolio To Swiss Life

24 July 2017 – Expansión

Hispania is stepping on the accelerator in its divestment process and is pushing ahead with negotiations to close the sale of its office portfolio. The Socimi in which the multi-millionaire George Soros holds a stake is negotiating exclusively with Swiss Life regarding the sale of more than twenty buildings for a price that will amount to approximately €500 million.

In the final stretch of the process, Swiss Life has fought off the other candidates, including Starwood Capital, and has positioned itself as the favourite to acquire this portfolio, which includes 24 office buildings in Madrid, Barcelona and Málaga, according to market sources.

The operation, which is currently in the due diligence phase, forms part of its asset divestment strategy, prior to its liquidation, which the real estate firm managed by Azora began in June.

The process

Sources at Hispania consulted in this regard say that the operation “is not closed and that the asset sales process is still on-going”.

Hispania’s portfolio includes 24 assets, with a gross leasable area of around 150,000 m2. At the end of the first quarter, Hispania’s office portfolio was worth €526 million.

Hispania closed its first quarter of the year in the office segment with an average rental income of €13.8/m2/month, which represents an increase of 7% compared to the first quarter of 2016. During the first quarter of 2017, the company signed new contracts for 5,085m2 of space, which allowed it to increase its occupancy rate to 82%.

Hispania, which was created in 2014, is scheduled to be sold in March 2020, when it celebrates its sixth anniversary since debuting on the stock market.

As part of this strategy, Hispania announced in June the sale of the Aurelio Menéndez office building, located on the Madrilenian Calle Suero de Quiñones.

That building, which has a gross leasable area (GLA) of more than 4,700 m2, was sold to a family office for €37.5 million, which represents a price of €7,800/m2.

Hispania’s total office portfolio includes 18 buildings in Madrid – representing 75% of the total – and a plot of land to be developed. Notable properties include Edificio Torre 30 – previously known as the NCR Building – located on Calle Albacete, which is leased to Grupo Ilunion and which has a gross leasable area of 11,417 m2. Moreover, the company owns the Cristalia Play building (pictured above), located in the Campo de las Naciones area of the city; the Foster Wheeler building, located in Las Rozas; and the Murano building, on Calle Emilio Vargas.

In addition, the company owns five properties in Barcelona and another one in Málaga.

Asset portfolio

Although the Socimi managed by Azora specialises in hotel assets, it has made significant investments in offices and the residential segment over the years since its creation.

At the end of the first quarter of the year, the company held a portfolio of assets worth €2,024 million. Of the total, €1,292 million corresponded to hotel assets, €526 million to office buildings and €230 million to residential assets.

Original story: Expansión (by Rebeca Arroyo)

Translation: Carmel Drake