Real Madrid to Invest €525M in the Modernisation of the Bernabéu Stadium

2 April 2019 – Eje Prime

On Tuesday, Real Madrid and the Town Hall of the Spanish capital announced the launch of a project to modernise the Santiago Bernabéu stadium, which will see a total investment of €525 million. The work will begin at the end of May and is due to be completed at the end of 2023, with no planned disruption to the fixture schedule during that period.

According to the club’s President, Florentino Pérez (pictured above, right), Real Madrid has already spent €500 million upgrading its facilities since 2000. Specifically, it has invested €256 million in several updates to the stadium and another €231 million in the construction of the Ciudad Real Madrid training ground in Valdebebas.

The latest project, designed by GMP Arquitectos/L-35/Ribas will involve a new step in the transformation of the stadium, although few details have been revealed at this stage. During the first phase, the La Esquina del Bernabéu shopping centre will be demolished to create a large square and another square will be built next to Paseo de la Castellana.

In total, 23,000 m2 of space will be freed up and distributed between stores and restaurants to complement the museum, which will also be expanded. The capacity of the stadium will also be expanded by 1,000, which will be dedicated in their entirety to people with reduced mobility or some kind of disability.

It is not yet known who will carry out the work or how the project will be financed, but a tender process for the execution of the work is scheduled to open in April. Four companies are predicted to participate: Acciona, FCC, Ferrovial and San José.

Original story: Eje Prime (by M. Menchén)

Translation/Summary: Carmel Drake

Realia Completes its €149M Capital Increase

2 January 2019 – Eje Prime

Realia has completed its capital increase. The real estate firm owned by the Mexican magnate Carlos Slim has completed its €149 million capital increase with a final injection of €42.1 million, according to a statement filed by the company with Spain’s National Securities and Market Commission (CNMV).

In its latest expansion phase, the company has issued 175.4 million new shares in total, for a nominal value of €0.24 and an issue premium of €0.61 per share. The company’s share capital has thereby been consolidated at €197 million, divided into 820 million shares.

Since Slim took control in 2015, Realia has undertaken three capital increases in total. The latest is the operation closed today, which was approved in November to try to decrease the company’s debt, which amounts to €672 million, and to provide a financial boost to its real estate businesses.

Slim controls 70.76% of Realia’s capital, 33% in a direct way and 36.98% through the construction group FCC, which is also led by the Mexican businessman. The real estate company also has an asset portfolio spanning approximately half a million square metres, which includes one of the Kio Towers in Madrid.

Original story: Eje Prime

Translation: Carmel Drake

Realia Launches a €149M Capital Increase

15 November 2018 – El Economista

Realia has launched a capital increase amounting to €149 million, with preferential subscription rights, through which Carlos Slim is going to make a new capital injection into the real estate company that he controls in Spain.

This increase follows another two that the firm has carried out since 2015, when the Mexican magnate took control of the company and which have been used to clean up the firm and reduce its debt.

By virtue of the new operation, Realia is going to issue 175.45 million new shares at €0.85 per share, a price that represents a discount of 7.5% with respect to the firm’s current share price, which closed trading on the stock market on Thursday at €0.923.

The operation is going to be launched once approval has been received from Spain’s National Securities and Markets Commission (CNMV). Current shareholders will have preferential subscription rights, which means that they may request new shares at a rate of three new shares for every eleven that they already own.

Carlos Slim controls 70.76% of Realia’s share capital, 33.8% in a direct way and 36.9% through FCC, a construction group that he also controls. The Mexican businessman has participated in all of the capital increases that Realia has undertaken until now.

Realia is launching a new capital increase after reactivating its construction and house sale business, which has been suspended since the start of the crisis.

The company also has a portfolio of assets spanning a surface area of around 500,000 m2, comprising office buildings and shopping centres, including one of the Kio Towers in Plaza Castilla, Madrid.

The real estate firm, which has suspended its dividend since 2009, closed the first nine months of this year with a profit of €24 million and a turnover of €70 million. The firm has total debt amounting to €672 million.

Original story: El Economista 

Translation: Carmel Drake

Blackstone has Created a RE Giant in Spain Worth €20bn

4 September 2018 – Expansión

In just five years, the US fund has become the largest owner of hotels and one of the biggest landlords in the country. Moreover, it manages several major mortgage portfolios.

Blackstone made its first foray into the Spanish real estate market in July 2013, with the purchase from the Municipal Housing and Land Company of Madrid (EMVS) of 18 residential developments, containing 1,860 homes in total, in the Madrilenian neighbourhoods of Carabanchel, Centro, Villa de Vallecas and Villaverde for almost €126 million.

Since then, the US fund, one of the largest investment firms in the world, has turned the Spanish real estate sector into one of its favourite destinations for investment, encouraged by the boom that the market in Spain has experienced over the last five years.

Blackstone’s dominance in the Spanish market is now unquestionable. Since 2012, the US fund has acquired property in the country worth almost €20 billion and it is now the owner of several listed vehicles, as well as of some of the main asset managers in the country.

With that figure, which accounts for 20% of the €100 billion that Blackstone Real Estate has invested around the world, the firm is the country’s largest private manager of real estate assets, including properties and portfolios of mortgages.

In Spain, the fund was one of the first to back the residential segment when the real estate market was still struggling and it has been one of the most active players in the purchase of asset portfolios containing NPLs and REOs from financial institutions.

The fund’s purchase of homes in Madrid from EMVS in 2013 was soon followed by the acquisition of another 1,000 social housing properties from Sareb and FCC. Those homes are owned by Fidere, the fund’s first Socimi, which made its debut on the Alternative Investment Market (MAB) in 2015.

In the same year, Blackstone completed its first major operation with the purchase from Catalunya Caixa of a portfolio comprising 40,000 loans in total, worth €6.4 billion. Blackstone paid €3.5 billion for that portfolio, known as Hercules.

A year later, the US fund purchased the Catalan entity’s real estate manager (without any assets), which was later renamed Anticipa.

Nowadays, that company manages the more than 12,000 rental homes which Blackstone has been purchasing from the banks in different portfolios and which it controls through the Socimi Albirana, which made its stock market debut in 2016, and Torbel Investments.

Popular’s property

Two years after purchasing the Hercules portfolio, Blackstone hit the headlines again with the purchase from Santander of 51% of Banco Popular’s real estate business, with a book value of around €10.3 billion. With that acquisition, Blackstone increased its commitment to Spain and become the most active overseas investment fund in the country. To group together those assets, months later, Blackstone and Santander created Project Quasar Investment, a company that also includes the marketing platform Aliseda (…).

In addition, (…) the US fund has launched itself into the hotel segment, to take advantage of the good times being enjoyed in the tourist sector at the moment. Blackstone’s first incursion into that market in Spain was the acquisition of HI Partners from Sabadell last summer for €630 million. Through that platform, Blackstone owns 17 hotels in Spain comprising more than 4,500 rooms.

Takeover of Hispania

A few months after that acquisition, the US investment firm made a bid for Hispania, the Spanish Socimi specialising in hotels managed by Azora, which owns 46 assets and almost 13,150 rooms in Spain (…). Following that operation, which valued the Socimi at €1.99 billion, the US fund controls almost 91% of Hispania.

As well as hotels, Hispania owns 25 office buildings, with a market value of more than €600 million and residential assets worth €230 million, which now also form part of the fund’s assets (…).

Blackstone is also a star player in the logistics sector. The fund currently controls 10% of the Pan-European platform Logicor, which manages approximately 1.2 million m2 of logistics space in Spain (…).

Also, in July, it purchased five logistics warehouses from the Socimi Lar (…) for almost €120 million.

The fund’s most recent purchase was the headquarters of Planeta, located on Avenida Diagonal in Barcelona, which it acquired from the Lara family for €210 million (…).

Original story: Expansión (by Rebeca Arroyo)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Realia Refinances the €120M Debt Owed by its Property Development Arm

22 June 2018 – Eje Prime

Realia has today refinanced the debt owed by its property development arm, amounting to €120 million. The liability was due to mature on 30 June 2018, according to a statement filed by the real estate company, in which FCC and Carlos Slim hold stakes, with Spain’s National Securities and Exchange Commission (CNMV).

The new financing is due to mature on 31 December 2020. Realia has also indicated that “(the new financing) has been subscribed under competitive market conditions”. At the end of 2017, the company had gross bank debt amounting to €763 million, down by 10% compared to a year earlier.

Realia ended the year 2017 with a net profit of €30.5 million, 73.7% less than in 2016. The decrease was caused by the extraordinary results registered in 2016 due to discounts associated with another debt refinancing.

Original story: Eje Prime 

Translation: Carmel Drake

The Would-Base Developer of 13,000 Homes in Sevilla is Declared Insolvent

29 May 2018 – ABC Sevilla

Desarrollo Urbanístico Sevilla Este (Duse), the company that was going to build more than 13,000 homes on a 330-hectare site next to the airport, Parque Alcosa and Sevilla Este, has filed for creditor bankruptcy in Mercantile Court number 1 of Sevilla after accumulating debt amounting to €300 million. The company has filed for liquidation after waiting fifteen years for the Town Hall to execute general infrastructure work, for which it had paid the Town Hall €60 million when Alfredo Sánchez Monteseirín was mayor.

Just when it seemed that we had seen the last of the bankruptcy proceedings involving major companies in Sevilla, the demise of Duse comes as a wake-up call for the local real estate sector. The liquidation of this company means the suspension of the urban development that was set to become one of the great areas of expansion in Sevilla: Santa Bárbara.

Duse is owned by Sando Proyectos Inmobiliarios (53.9%); Realia Business (30.5%), linked to FCC; the investment fund Vertrauen Corporate, to which Unicaja sold its 5.99% stake in 2016; Bankia (2.7%) and Bankinter (1.12%), according to the Mercantile Registry. The company owns two plots spanning more than 330 hectares on the Santa Bárbara estate. Some of this land was expropriated in the 1970s and returned to its former owners over the subsequent decades, including the heirs of Augusta Peyré, which ended up selling their land to Sando in 2002.

Urban planning agreement

Before the new PGOU was agreed in 2006, the owners of those plots signed an urban planning agreement to collaborate with the Town Hall of Sevilla to execute the urban development plan. Thus, in 2003, at the height of the real estate boom, urban planning agreements were signed between Sando and the Leaders of the Urban Planning Department for the development of the two plots spanning more than 330 hectares.

In those agreements, the Town Hall undertook to establish a certain buildability ratio for the plots and the owners agreed to bear the acquisition cost of the general infrastructure work (involving the construction of streets, avenues, roundabouts…). The PGOU established that a maximum of 2 million m2 could be built in Santa Bárbara, which would allow for the construction of 13,853 private and social housing units (…).

In exchange for that buildability, Duse paid the Town Hall €15.4 million for the acquisition of land for the external general infrastructure and €42.6 million for the execution of the construction work. In total, Duse paid the Town Hall €58.1 million, according to sources consulted by ABC (…).

The municipal Government received that money but failed to execute the general infrastructure work following the end of the economic crisis (…).

In 2017, Duse filed a claim against the Town Hall for €75.4 million – the €58.1 million it had handed over plus €17 million to cover interest, damages and harm – for the breach of the urban planning agreements (…).

In order to execute the project, Duse signed a loan with Caja Madrid for more than €200 million, which has now risen to an outstanding balance of €300 million due to the non-payment of the principal and interest. As a result of the reordering of the banking sector and the transfer of toxic assets to the so-called “bad bank”, Caja Madrid’s loan for the development of Santa Bárbara ended up in the hands of Sareb.

Sareb’s unpaid loan

In March, the loan in question matured, and so Duse offered Sareb the option to renew it, now that the economic recovery has reactivated real estate demand, or take over the plots as “dación en pago”. According to sources close to the operation, Sareb rejected both proposals. The economic crisis and the failure by the Town Hall to execute the general infrastructure work have ended up economically suffocating the property developer, which has finally thrown in the towel and filed for credit bankruptcy, starting liquidation proceedings.

What will happen to those plots now? In all likelihood, they will go up for auction. If nobody is awarded them, they will end up in the hands of Sareb, which is now the counterparty of the almost €300 million loan that Duse has outstanding (…).

Original story: ABC Sevilla (by María Jesús Pereira)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Gorbea Puts FCC’s HQ on the Market for €150M

30 November 2017 – El Confidencial

The headquarters of FCC, located in the Madrilenian neighbourhood of Las Tablas is on the verging of changing hands. Its owner, Gorbea Arrendamientos, has decided to cash in its holding and, to this end, has engaged CBRE to launch an express sale process. The intention is to choose a winner before the end of the year. Sources at the consultancy firm declined to comment.

This operation is set to be the most important of the year in the office segment, since the vendor aims to close the sale for around €150 million, according to market sources. That amount has not been reached so far by any of the other office transactions closed in 2017.

Gorbea Arrendamientos is owned by the Hernández-Beitia family, which acquired the land where the headquarters of the company controlled by Carlos Slim is now located for €80 million from FCC seven years ago.

Then, the infrastructure group signed a 20-year lease contract, of which almost 13 years still remain. Specifically, this rental commitment is the main feature of the operation, given that it guarantees the future buyer a stable income in one of the fastest growing areas of Madrid.

When Gorbea acquired FCC’s headquarters, a return of 7% was estimated on the basis of the rental contract. However, the new buyer will see that yield decrease to around 3%-4%. That range that makes this purchase a classic operation for conservative investors, such as insurance companies and pension funds.

Cinematographic fortune

The Gorbeas, as the family behind this real estate group is popularly known, amassed their real estate portfolio as owners of important cinemas in Madrid, including Roxy B on c/Fuencarral, Lido on c/Bravo Murillo and Renoir on c/Narváez. From there, they leapt into the office segment, where they are known for naming many of the buildings they own after their parent company, Gorbea.

Despite the box office crisis that caused so many cinemas to close, this family group still owns several subsidiaries linked to the world of cinema, such as Cines Floridablanca, Cines Retiro and Cines Princesa, in the centre of Madrid, as well as several multiplex companies in Majadahonda, Zaragoza and Guadalajara.

Construction of FCC’s headquarters, which cost €48 million to build, was completed five years ago and, since then, the building has housed more than 1,000 employees from the infrastructure group.

The building has a surface area of 21,000 m2, spread over 3 inter-connected buildings, which occupy an entire block and form an H-shape. They have two basement floors and a ground floor, with capacity for 400 parking spaces, as well as six office floors and a rooftop.

Original story: El Confidencial (by Ruth Ugalde)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Realia Sells ‘Los Cubos’ Office Building To Therus For €52M

23 October 2017 – Expansión

The real estate company Realia, owned by Inmobiliaria Carso and FCC, which are both controlled by the Mexican businessman Carlos Slim, has sold the office building known as Los Cubos, located in Madrid, for €52 million.

The buyer is the French real estate company Therus, which is co-investing with the British investment group Henderson Park, according to several sources.

The property, which owes its name to its unique architecture, has a leasable area of 18,324 m2 and 334 parking spaces.

The real estate company put this building, located in the vicinity of the M-30 ring road, up for sale at the end of last year, as reported by Expansión at the time. The building has been vacant since the end of 2015. Before its sale, the company considered renovating it on several occasions to improve its appeal in the market.

In the end, Realia has sold the building for €52 million, compared to the initial asking price of €57 million. The sale of Los Cubos is the latest in a long line of high profile real estate investment operations closed in Spain in recent months. The investment volume in the real estate sector during the 9 months to September amounted to €10,300 million.

Original story: Expansión (by R. Ruiz)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Realia Commits To Returning To The Residential Segment

29 June 2017 – Eje Prime

The real estate company in which the Mexican magnate, Carlos Slim (pictured above) holds a stake, is shaping Realia once again. The company has set itself the objective of gradually returning to the residential business, with around twenty developments. Realia is currently marketing 185 homes in three developments in Madrid, Palma de Mallorca and Barcelona.

At a meeting of its shareholders, Gerardo Kuri, CEO of Realia, said that the company’s priority over the last few months has been to clean-up and restructure its debt, according to Cinco Días. In fact, in one year, its liabilities have decreased from €1,145 million to €731 million, based on data as at May 2017.

“The most important event of last year was the financial restructuring that took place” – said Kuri – “the company had a major debt problem”. Slim has strengthened Realia’s financial lungs, with capital increases and a discount on the exchange of a loan for shares.

Moreover, last April, the company refinanced a loan amounting to €678 million.

“This year, there has been a major boost in the property developer business, with milestones, such as the debut on the stock exchange of Neinor” – explained the Director. “We are evaluating new projects and starting to construct homes because we want to have a significant real estate business”. Realia, which has traded on the stock market since 2007, is controlled by Slim through Inversora Carso (33.8% of the share capital) and FCC (36.9%).

Original story: Eje Prime

Translation: Carmel Drake

Slim Commissions Sale Of Torre Realia In Barcelona For €140M

7 June 2017 – El Confidencial

(…). Torre Realia BCN is the jewel in the crown of FCC’s subsidiary in Cataluña and, moreover, it is located in a thriving area which has been witness to some of the most interesting real estate operations of recent times: Plaza Europa, the new business district within the Catalan capital’s area of influence.

With this cover letter, the group controlled by Carlos Slim has decided to put the skyscraper on the market and has engaged JLL and BNP Paribas to find a buyer, according to several sources close to the operation.

A spokesman for Realia refused to confirm the operation, which has reportedly been orchestrated directly by Gerardo Kuri Kauffman, one of the right-hand men of the Mexican magnate in Spain and the CEO of the real estate company.

The decision to sell this genuine trophy asset comes just after the real estate company signed a new syndicated loan amounting to €582 million, aimed at refinancing the €678 million debt that expired in April and which threatened the viability of the group.

To finish sorting out the financial situation, the company was also planning to sell the Los Cubos building in Madrid, an operation that never ended up being closed due to Slim’s high price expectations.

New business district

Realia is hoping to obtain €140 million for this sought-after property, which measures 112 m tall, over 24 storeys, with a gross leasable area of 31,960 m2 and 399 parking spaces. It is aware of the growing interest that exists amongst the large real estate companies to establish themselves in the new business district.

The skyscraper is, precisely, one of the most iconic buildings in this thriving area and is the image that identifies the zone. The property houses the headquarters of KPMG in Barcelona and has seen its value rise in recent months, thanks to the wave of operations that have taken place in this enclave and the growing number of large corporations that are moving their headquarters to this new financial district, in L’Hospitalet de Llobregat.

The main player in two of the operations that are transforming the area is the Puig family, one of the most important corporate sagas in Cataluña, which has completed a double whammy, by teaming up with Colonial to promote a 14,000 m2 tower in Plaza Europa 46-48, which is right opposite Grupo Puig’s headquarters, a building that it has just purchased from BBVA for around €60 million.

Arcano has also been active in the area with its acquisition of an office building located at Plaza Europa 22-24 for €13 million. That property has a gross leasable area of 7,335 m2, plus another 452 m2 of storerooms, 83 of its own parking spaces and 164 administrative concession parking spaces, which it plans to completely remodel after the summer.

Original story: El Confidencial (by Ruth Ugalde)

Translation: Carmel Drake