Social Housing is in Very Short Supply in Málaga

17 March 2019 – Diario Sur

Social housing is in very short supply in Málaga. More than 27,000 families are registered on the waiting list for VPO properties, to purchase or rent, of whom 18,723 have been waiting for at least five years. 4,768 new families were added to the register last year alone. But only two out of every 100 families ever receive the good news that they have been selected to be awarded a home. Over the last few years, just 345 homes have been handed over.

Why are VPO homes not being constructed? There are several reasons, but one of the main ones is the lack of funding from the State and the Junta de Andalucía for public and private property developers. The most recent housing plans have focused on subsidising rental payments and undertaking renovation work rather than on the construction of new homes.

The Town Hall of Málaga has projects in the pipeline for the construction of 1,001 public housing units on land to the west of the extension of the Teatinos campus. The European Investment Bank (EIB) is willing to finance half of those homes, worth around €120 million, but the cost of that loan alone would have to be passed on to tenants in the form of rentals of €255 per month, which when combined with the cost of the financing the remaining 50% would not be affordable. Seven out of ten people waiting for a VPO home for rent earn less than €537 per month.

77% of applicants for a VPO home would prefer to rent, given that the option of buying is becoming increasingly less affordable. 72% of the applicants are aged under 35 years old. Public housing policies all but disappeared during the crisis and rents have risen significantly since then, hence the rise in the number of applicants on the register. In fact, the real demand for VPO homes is much higher as many families do not even bother to register given the limited chances they have of being awarded a property.

Across the province, according to data from the local council, 8,457 people are registered on the waiting list for a VPO home, with 1,613 in Torremolinos, 1,365 in Marbella and 1,359 in Estepona. Nevertheless, just 247 families have been awarded a home in any of the Málagan municipalities over the last seven years.

Original story: Diario Sur (by Jesús Hinojosa)

Translation/Summary: Carmel Drake

Vitalia Buys 2 Plots for the Construction of Private Nursing Homes

5 February 2019 – Alimarket

The nursing home management group Vitalia Plus has confirmed to Alimarket its intention to continue incorporating new projects and acquiring residences in operation in Spain. In recent days, Vitalia has signed agreements for the purchase of two plots of land in Valencia and Salamanca, cities where the firm has not had a presence until now. In the case of Salamanca, Vitalia is planning to build a private nursing home in the city with 130 beds and 30 day spaces. Meanwhile, in Valencia capital, the group will build 128 residential spaces and 30 day spaces. Two other plots are expected to be added to those two new projects, whose purchase the group is currently negotiating in two other Spanish cities.

The new projects form part of a second phase of investments planned by Vitalia, worth more than €100 million, which the group will finance with own funds (more than €50 million) and a €50 million loan, requested recently from the European Investment Bank (….).

Currently, besides the new homes announced in Valencia and Salamanca, Vitalia has 22 other nursing homes in different phases of completion – including the Vitalia Expo in Zaragoza, Vitalia Toledo and the expansion of one of its centres in Teruel (…) – which contain 3,443 beds in total (3,701 beds including the new projects in Valencia and Salamanca). These centres will be added to the 44 nursing homes that the group manages in Spain, with 6,461 beds (…).

Since March 2017, the group Vitalia Plus has been controlled by the investor CVC Capital Partners (which owns an 80% stake), whilst the investor Portobello Capital owns 10% and the executive President and founder José María Cosculluela Salina holds the remaining 10%. In 2017 – the most recent data available – Vitalia recorded a consolidated turnover of €91.05M with 2,850 workers.

Original story: Alimarket (by Eva de Frutos)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Hispania Receives a €100M Loan from EIB

12 January 2018 – Expansión

Hispania has signed a loan with the European Investment Bank (EIB) for €100 million to update its hotel portfolio and bring its assets in line with better technical standards, including energy efficiency measures.

Specifically, the investment will be used to improve tourist accommodation that the Socimi controlled by George Soros owns in tourist regions such as the Canary Islands and Andalucía.

The EIB is the European Union’s long-term financial institution, which grants long-term loans to investment projects aimed at promoting the implementation of EU objectives.

The loan to Hispania contributes to improving the competitiveness of the Spanish hotel sector, according to the EIB, through the incorporation of technical standards at its facilities. In this way, the investment supports the growth of less developed regions, where most of the hotels are located, explains the institution.

Hispania whereby joins Axiare, which received €16 million from the EIB last month to improve energy efficiency and the general features of its buildings with the aim of making them more sustainable.

Largest owner

Hispania is currently the largest owner of hotels in Spain with more than 13,100 rooms across the country.

At the end of last year, the company agreed to purchase the remaining 24% stake in BAY from Barceló for a total of €172.4 million. Moreover, it acquired Hotel Barceló Guadalmina from the Mallorcan hotel chain for €19 million. With these acquisitions and the investment plan to improve and reposition its portfolio, Hispania committed all of its financial capacity at the end of last year.

In February, the Socimi, in which George Soros holds a stake, announced its intention to maintain its initial objective of selling all of its assets before March 2020, the date that will mark six years since its debut on the stock market.

Original story: Expansión (by R. A.)

Translation: Carmel Drake