Merlin’s Profits Increased By 77% In H1 To €211M

26 September 2016 – Expansión

The Socimi Merlin Properties recorded revenues of €154.6 million during the first half of 2016, up by 136% compared to the same period a year earlier.

The real estate company has seen a significant increase in its revenues thanks to the acquisition of new assets – it completed the purchase of several assets worth around €149 million during the first six months of the year – and the management of them.

Merlin, whose shareholders approved its merger with Metrovacesa in an extraordinary meeting last week, increased its profits by 76.6% during the period, to €211.1 million. In June 2015, the Socimi also agreed to purchase Testa.

The Socimi’s recurrent EBITDA amounted to €135.5 million in H1 2016, up by 130% compared to 2015. “These results reflect the outstanding performance of the asset portfolio. In a record quarter in terms of space leased (in sqm), the company has managed to increase its occupancy rate and rents in comparable terms”, said Merlin.

The real estate company, which debuted on the stock exchange in June 2014 without any assets on its balance sheet, now has a portfolio worth €6,527 million, which represents an appreciation of 7.8% with respect to December 2015.

Financing

The Socimi controlled by Ismael Clemente (pictured above) closed the first half of 2016 with net debt of €3,124 million, which represents 47.9% of the value of its assets.

In April, Merlin completed a bond issue amounting to €850 million. It is planning to complete another similar operation before the end of the year, amounting to around €500 million, to cover a bridge loan currently held by Metrovacesa, which is due to mature in 2018.

Original story: Expansión (by Rocío Ruiz)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Lindorff Buys Aktua From Centerbridge For c. €300M

21 March 2016 – El Confidencial

Aktua, the real estate services company created by the former Banesto, which was acquired by the opportunistic fund Centerbridge Partners in 2012, is about to change owners once again. The Norwegian company Lindorff has reached an agreement to complete the acquisition for almost €300 million, which will turn it into one of the largest landlords in Spain. The Scandinavian company has fought off competition from Apollo Capital Management, the toxic property management arm of Banco Santander, as well as the German firm Activum SG Capital Management.

According to several sources, Lindorff has won the auction led by Barclays, Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Linklaters against those two opponents, and is now putting the finishing touches to the legal conditions so that it can close the operation. It has not been simple because, whilst Aktua was on the market, its parent company, Centerbridge, acquired the real estate arm of Ibercaja – on 2 February – which meant that it had to recalculate the numbers for the potential buyers.

Aktua manages around 42,000 properties worth almost €7,000 million; those assets will be added to those that Lindorff already manages in Spain. The Scandinavian company was one of the pioneers to invest in the real estate and recovery services sector when the crisis first began. In fact, in 2012, it bought Reintegra for €100 million, the subsidiary of Banco Santander dedicated to the recovery of doubtful debts, and in December 2014, it acquired Sabadell’s recovery arm, for which it paid €160 million. Along the way, it also acquired several non-performing debt portfolios, including several from the bank led by Ana Botín.

Currently, Lindorff España, which last year appointed Alejandro Zurbano as its CEO, employs more than 1,100 professionals and has a presence throughout the country, with offices in Madrid, Valladolid, A Coruña, Alicante, Barcelona, Granada, Jerez de la Frontera, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, San Sebastián and Valencia. The multi-national company from the North of Europe has almost 4,000 employees in total, located in its 11 countries of operation, including Norway, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Russia and Germany.

Although the amount of some of its operations have not been made public, Lindorff has invested almost €1,000 million to become one of the largest landlords in the country. Its work involves managing homes and retail premises, owned by the various real estate companies that it has acquired, claiming the payment of unpaid loans from their owners and negotiating the debt to obtain a spread. Once the last details of the purchase have been finalised, Linforff will manage non-performing loans, homes, retail spaces and land owned by Banesto, Ibercaja, Banco Mare Nostrum (BMN), Santander and Sabadell.

The sale of Aktua was essential for the main overseas funds that have become the largest landlords in Spain, because it is a volume-based business that is currently still very atomised. Sources in the market expect to see a process of concentration in the sector, in which almost €10,000 million has been invested, mainly on the purchase of non-performing loan portfolios. Some are already leaving, such as Elliott, which recently sold its recovery management platform to Cabot, and Fortress, which has now put its main businesses in Spain up for sale: the financing company Lico Leasing and the loan management platform Paratus.

For Centerbridge, the sale of Aktua is going to generate a sizeable profit, given that it acquired the platform for around €100 million in 2012 and is now selling it for almost €300 million. The real estate platform of the opportunistic fund employs 400 people and generates a gross operating profit or EBITDA of around €50 million.

Original story: El Confidencial (by Agustín Marco)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Sidorme Puts 7 Hotels Up For Sale For €25M

28 December 2015 – El Economista

The hotel chain Sidorme is negotiating the sale of a portfolio of seven assets with an asking price of around €25 million. According to Jairo González, the CEO of Sidorme, the objective is to sell the hotels in a single transaction; and interested parties include large investment funds and Socimis. For the time being, “we have not reached any agreements in terms of price, but we are negotiating the returns”, says González.

Through this operation, the group, which is currently in the middle of a growth phase, may deleverage its balance sheet in order to target new investments, but it acknowledges that it is not in any rush, given that it is currently obtaining yields “that it feels very comfortable with”.

Besides these seven hotels that it owns, the chain also has another three hotels that it leases, which together contain 1,230 rooms. It is also constructing another three hotels.

The company’s hotel location strategy is proving key to its success, with the tenth hotel recently opened to the public on Calle Fuencarral 52 (Madrid) and the eleventh hotel currently under construction on the central street of Calle Montera 10-12 (also Madrid).

A twelfth hotel is also under construction and is located between the airport of Donostia San Sebastián and the Guipúzcoan capital; and a thirteenth hotel will open in January in San Sebastián de los Reyes (Madrid), close to La Moreleja and Terminal 4 at Madrid’s Barajas Airport.

The company is going to spend €10 million on the opening of its new hotels, in addition to the €45 million that it has already spent to create its existing portfolio since it began operations back in 2006, with the opening of its first hotel in Mollet del Vallès. With these investments, the chain expects to record turnover of more than €10 million in 2015, with an EBITDA of more than €2.7 million and a net profit after tax of more than €1.3 million, according to González.

The success of this chain is due to its commitment to intelligent accommodation. Its “smartsleep” concept seeks to maximise the simplification of the product offered, eliminating anything that is superfluous for guests and optimising all of the services to reduce operating costs as much as possible, without affecting the quality of its customers.

Thus, its hotels offer modern rooms with simple designs, large beds, showers with a sauna effect and free wifi. They are have offices with fruit and coffee available for clients, but they do not have internal cafeterias or restaurants, although they have reached agreements with nearby restaurants to offer room service at some of their hotels. These savings comes in addition to the fact that the hotels are constructed to require very little maintenance and to consume minimal energy.

Original story: El Economista (by Alba Brualla)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Socimi Saint Croix’s Portfolio Worth €312M, Up By 16%

21 October 2015 – El Mundo

The portfolio of real estate assets owned by the Socimi Saint Croix Holding Inmobilier was worth €312.1 million at the end of September 2015, according to a statement issued by the company. That figure represents an appreciation of 16.4% with respect to the end of 2014, based on independent appraisal values.

In this way, the portfolio has generated latent profits amounting to €51.23 million, after adjusting for the investments and divestments made by the Socimi so far this year.

Saint Croix Holding Inmobilier closed the first nine months of the year with a profit of €12.84 million, an amount that represents almost five-times the figure recorded a year earlier, thanks to its asset purchases and an improved financial result.

Revenues increased by 31% between January and September, to reach €13.70 million, representing rental income from its hotels, offices and commercial spaces.

Meanwhile, EBITDA amounted to €12.10 million, which represented an increase of 41% with respect to 2014.

Original story: El Mundo

Translation: Carmel Drake

Hotusa’s Revenues Rose By 14% In 2014 To €744M

8 June 2015 – Expansión

The hotel chain Hotusa, headquartered in Barcelona, recorded revenues of €744 million in 2014, an increase of 14% from the previous year, and obtained an EBITDA of €30 million. The Chairman of the company, Amancio López, expects the group to grow by 15% in 2015.

Original story: Expansión

Translation: Carmel Drake