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

Iberdrola Puts Torre Auditori in Barcelona Up for Sale

19 March 2019 – Idealista

Iberdrola has put Torre Auditori, which forms part of the BCN Fira District business park in Barcelona, up for sale. The property comprises 21 storeys and spans a surface area of 22,899 m2, generating annual rental income of more than €4.3 million. The current occupancy rate of the property is 98% and its tenants include Cepsa, Ferrovial, Marmedesa, Asus and Iberdrola itself.

The building forms part of the business park that the company is constructing on Paseo de la Zona Franca, which currently comprises Torre Auditori and Torre Marina (which is leased to the pharmaceutical firm Esteve). Iberdrola is building two more properties, which will be handed over during the first quarter of 2021.

Original story: Idealista 

Translation: Carmel Drake

Masaveu Sells Land in the Port of Vigo for €2.8M

31 January 2019 – La Nueva España

Cementos Tudela Veguín, which forms part of the Asturian business group Masaveu, has obtained almost €2.8 million from the sale of land in the Port of Vigo. The plot measures 19,000 m2, was barely being used and is located in Rande.

Cementos Tudela Veguín, which has several warehouses in the Port of Vigo, also owned an area of land that was of interest to the Port authority to improve access and expand the area reserved for logistics. The directors of the Port of Vigo learned of the details of the land purchase operation last Friday, which was closed for €2,783,000, an amount that has already been transferred to the cement producer company.

The Masaveu family is considered to be the richest in Asturias and is amongst the wealthiest in all of Spain. Their wealth is estimated to amount to around €2.1 billion, according to a new list compiled by El Mundo, which analyses the largest 200 fortunes. The Masaveu family occupies 16th position in the ranking, which is led by the President of Inditex, Amancio Ortega, with assets worth €50.4 billion. He is followed by Rafael del Pino from Ferrovial, and Juan Roig from Mercadona (…).

Original story: La Nueva España (by A.O. & J.L.S)

Translation: Carmel Drake

FT: Spain’s Construction Sector Rises From The Ashes

28 September 2017 – Financial Times

When Juan Velayos left his job at the accountancy firm PwC to become chief executive of Spanish housebuilder Neinor Homes two years ago, some people thought he was crazy.

Construction companies in Spain once built more residential homes every year than the rest of western Europe combined, fuelled by cheap debt. But a 35% slump in prices after the 2007 financial crisis left much of the sector bankrupt.

Spain still has half a million new unsold homes, many in surreal empty cities that have become monuments to a speculative property bubble that brought down the country’s banking sector and the wider economy.

“The markets at the time were sceptical about the opportunity [in Spanish house building],” says Mr Velayos. “They were sceptical about the momentum for residential. They were surprised we were buying land so aggressively.”

But Neinor, created by US private equity group Lone Star in 2014, has become a success story, one of the country’s first residential homebuilders able to rise out of the ashes of the ruined sector and build again.

Six months ago Neinor Homes became the first to float on the Madrid stock exchange, with Lone Star selling 60% of the company, which was valued at €1.3bn. Its share price has risen by 13% since then.

“We knew there was an opportunity because the Spanish economy was growing again and for nearly a decade there had been practically no new residential homes built,” says Mr Velayos.

Neinor served as a catalyst for the whole sector, with others entering the market. Companies such as Aedas, Vía Célere, Aelca and Metrovacesa are also building, giving the sector depth for investors.

“Residential construction activity in Spain is finally back,” says Adolfo Ramirez-Escudero, chief executive of the Spanish arm of real estate service firm CBRE. “The demand is there and companies are building again.”

Many of these companies are also now considering initial public offerings. Two people with knowledge of the deal say that Aedas is considering a listing this year. Aedas declined to comment.

This comes as the wider Spanish property market seems to have turned a corner. House prices fell by 35.2% from 2007 to 2015, according to property site Idealista, but are up by 3% this year and rose by 2% last year.

Analysts say this is set to continue as Spain’s economy continues to grow at about 3% a year — one of the strongest in the eurozone.

“The scarcity of new housing in some places and the impulse of demand, supported by employment growth, point to new price increases,” says Jorge Sicilia, the chief economist of BBVA, the Spanish banking group.

Investment into Spain’s property market has come in stages, starting with international funds run by Goldman Sachs, Cerberus Capital Management and Blackstone, which bought bad loans and apartment portfolios as early as 2013.

This was followed by the creation of real estate investment trusts — known in Spain as Socimi — which shortly afterwards started looking at the commercial property and rental markets.

Four big Spanish Socimis — Axiare, Merlin Properties, Hispania and Lar España — are already up and running. Combined profits for the four groups in the first quarter of 2017 were up 50% from the same period last year.

But the return of the residential building sector on top of commercial suggests that the market is maturing and returning to normal after a decade of crisis that saw big players such as Reyal Urbis and Martinsa Fadesa file for bankruptcy.

“In commercial and residential property, everyone has the same thesis,” says Fernando Ramirez, head of investor relations at Merlin. “Spain is recovering and property is still cheap.”

The return of Spanish construction is good for the wider Spanish economy, particularly job creation. The construction sector once employed more than 2.5m people, compared with just 1m after the crash.

A rise in house prices is also positive for the banking sector, which has benefited from the influx of institutional money that has pushed up the prices of their portfolios of distressed property assets and provided a market to sell.

However, the story is not all positive.

Spain’s biggest listed construction groups such as ACS or Ferrovial are unlikely to benefit from higher property prices, as they are focused on large infrastructure projects, which are still in short supply as the government holds back on spending.

The recovery is also concentrated in big cities such as Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia, as well as the tourist hotspots such as Málaga and the Balearic Islands. In much of more rural Spain, the recovery has not happened.

This is partly due to the overhang of half a million unsold new houses in parts of Spain. “In Madrid and Barcelona, there is nowhere near enough houses and demand is outstripping supply,” says Fernando Encinar, the chief executive of Idealista.

“If you drive 40km from Madrid through to Valdeluz there are still thousands of empty properties and that market is a long way from recovering,” he says.

Mr Velayos adds that while the market is coming back, the country is a long way from the pre-financial crisis boom — adding that the frothy exuberance of those years is unlikely to return.

In effect, the market is developing on a different model from before the financial crisis, with building financed by equity rather than debt. “The days where the builder and the buyer were both 100% debt financed are long gone,” he says.

Original story: Financial Times

AEW Acquires Office Building On C/Francisco Silvela 106

22 September 2017 – El Confidencial

The fund AEW Europe has recently joined the growing number of investors who are backing the Madrilenian street Principe de Vergara, one of the main thoroughfares in the Chamartín neighbourhood. The road has witnessed a proliferation in the volume of important real estate operations involving corporate headquarters in recent years.

And it is on the corner of that street, at its intersection with Francisco Silvela, at number 106 on the street that bears the name of the historical Spanish politician, that a private investor, advised by Aguirre Newman, has sold a building with a surface area of 6,300 m2 to AEW for €30 million, according to sources familiar with the transaction.

This operation follows several other important transactions that have been closed recently in the area, whose proximity to the Avenida de America transport hub, makes for easy access to the airport and whose proximity to both the Salamanca neighbourhood and the Paseo de la Castellana business district, have caused interest from owners and tenants to soar.

One example is the recent sale of the building at number 42 Calle Suero de Quiñones, the new headquarters of the law firm Uría y Mendéndez, which Hispania sold to the businessman José Lladó, owner of Técnicas Reunidas. The Socimi agreed that sale in the spring, a few months before the construction work was due to finish. The doors of that office are expected to open in November, whereby enabling the law firm to expand the headquarters that it already has nearby at number 187, Principe de Vergara.

Meanwhile, the property at number 108 on the same street, right next door to the building that AEW has just acquired, is also owned by Hispania, which purchased it just over two years ago for €25 million. The next one along, number 112, is owned by Colonial, which bought the whole building two years ago; it has since invested €45 million in the complete renovation of the 11,400 m2 property.

Opposite, at number 125 Principe de Vergara, the insurance company Reale purchased the entire building from Banco Sabadell two years ago and has now installed its new headquarters there. Acciona also expressed interest in that property at the time, as it had wanted to move its headquarters there, just a few metres away from the central offices of its rival, Ferrovial.

With this operation, AEW completes its seventh investment in Spain in two years. The fund has made a strong commitment to the country, where it has just acquired the historical Mercado de Fuencarral, which it has already leased in its entirety to Decathlon. It also opened an office in Madrid in January, which is being led by Carsten Czarnetzki.

Original story: El Confidencial (by Ruth Ugalde)

Translation: Carmel Drake

DonPiso: Invests €22M In Residential & Plans To Have 120 Offices By 2018

29 June 2017 – Eje Prime

It is one of the survivors of the property crisis, but with differences. DonPiso, founded in 1984, has lived through several economic crises and has seen itself both grow and contract. It has changed hands several times and has reached a new economic cycle, in which, finally, the real estate business seems to be getting a break. (…) It plans to have 120 offices operational this year and invest more than €22 million on the construction of around fifteen residential developments, as Emiliano Bermúdez, Deputy General Manager of DonPiso, explained to EjePrime.

DonPiso was one of the first real estate agencies to be founded in Spain, along with Grupasa, although it was not until 1997, that it began its expansion through franchises, achieving penetration across the whole of the Spanish market. Its mixed model, based on intercalating the opening of own offices with franchises, allowed it to leave Barcelona and begin expanding across the national market. “The results broke all expectations”, recalls Bermúdez.

In 2001, DonPiso was acquired by Ferrovial and, in 2006, it changed hands once again, on this occasion to be controlled by the real estate group Habitat. It was then, when the firm had a network of almost 400 offices, that the economic crisis hit its business, forcing Habitat into creditor bankruptcy and, whereby, leaving DonPiso in a delicate situation.

“Luis Pérez, José Antonio Pérez, Miguel Ángel Vázquez and I (Emiliano Bermúdez) joined forces and took control of DonPiso for €1.8 million”, said the Director. The distribution network was cut to fifty offices.

“We now find ourselves in a new era for DonPiso” – added the Director, “We have been born again and we have managed to weave a network of 90 establishments”. “The company is smaller, but it is not unreasonable to think that, at some point, we could be as large as we were ten years ago”, said the Director.

Roadmap 

In this way, DonPiso has set itself some ambitious objectives for the next few years. According to the company, the optimal outcome in 2017 would be to reach a network of 115 operational offices across Spain, which would mean opening 25 more in the next six months. Bermúdez sees that as “more than feasible, thanks to the pace that we are enjoying”.

Besides second-hand homes, the company’s plans also include a sizeable business relating to the new home segment, with its residential developments. It is currently marketing seven developments. “This year, we will build six more, at least, depending on the buildable land that we are able to access and in 2018, we plan to build between 5 and 6 additional developments”, added the Director.

According to DonPiso, each development requires an initial investment of €1.5 million. Then, according to the Director, you have to add the other expenses “which tend to be financed through debt and partners joining the project”. “The average DonPiso development sees around fifty homes coming onto the market”, said Bermúdez.

Thanks to all of these plans, DonPiso has also set itself the objective of increasing its turnover. In 2016, the company sold €309.6 million in terms of production, with 2,048 units and the business margin was €1.55 million. “The forecast for this year is optimistic: sales of more than 2,500 units and a growth margin of 25%”, said Bermúdez.

Original story: Eje Prime

Translation: Carmel Drake

Ferrovial, FCC, Acciona & ACS Are Building Houses Again

25 May 2017 – El Confidencial

A decade after they sold or wrote off their real estate arms, the country’s largest construction companies are now returning to the residential property development sector. Ferrovial, ACS, Acciona and FCC have regained their appetite for property and although they have different paces and strategies in mind, they have all definitively decided to revive their real estate divisions.

In the case of the group chaired by Rafael del Pino, which sold Ferrovial Inmobiliaria to Habitat for €2,200 million at the end of 2006, it will lay the first stone of this new strategic phase in Valdebebas. It owns plot 128A there, in what is one of the most important urban planning developments in the north of Madrid, and it plans to build between 200 and 300 homes on the site.

And that is just the tip of the iceberg, given that as the group’s CEO, Íñigo Meirás, acknowledged to this newspaper, the firm “is willing to become a property developer once again”. (…).

This strategy, combined with the gradual recovery in the real estate sector, has allowed residential construction work to account for 5% of the group’s total building portfolio, having closed last year at €442 million, up by 31.7% YoY. The group aspires to increase those numbers, by resuming its property development activity, which has caused it to analyse land operations in different areas to the north of Madrid.

FCC Real Estate also wants to make a similar move. The division, led for the last year and a half by Xavier Fainé Garriga, has decided to start developing half a million m2 of land that it owns in the Madrilenian town of Tres Cantos. The company has owned the plots for years, and its construction division will also participate in their development, along with the real estate subsidiary Realia, which will collaborate on the marketing side. (…).

Meanwhile, Acciona has a more ambitious plan, after it tried, two years ago, to divest its real estate arm, by listing it on the stock market or selling a stake in it to a fund – it has now ended up deciding to return to development. That was recognised by the firm’s Corporate Development Director, Juan Muro Lara, in March, when he announced the launch of 16 housing developments: 13 in Spain and the rest in Mexico and Poland.

In parallel, the group is finalising the transfer of its rental properties to Merlin, in a deal disclosed by El Confidencial in October, which will see the former’s exit from the real estate business. It also wants to push ahead with the sale of its hotels and office buildings through individual operations.

In the case of ACS, the firm is carrying out its strategy in the development segment through Cogesa, the historical subsidiary of the group, which stands out because it is the owner of the group’s two main corporate headquarters, the office buildings located in Las Tablas and on Avenida Pío XII in Madrid, and for owning sizeable land portfolios in areas such as Montecarmelo, Arroyo Fresno, Las Tablas, Carabanchel and Ensanche de Vallecas.

The turning point for this subsidiary, which is led by the brother of Florentino Pérez, Enrique, came two years ago, when it carried out a capital increase amounting to €44 million and then acquired one of the last plots of residential land in Montecarmelo for €2,200/m2. That figure turned the operation into one of the most onerous since the burst of the bubble, but is now seen in a very different light. (…).

Original story: El Confidencial (by Ruth Ugalde)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Donpiso Will Open 50 New Offices In 2017

30 January 2017 – Expansión

The real estate broker Donpiso will open between 40 and 50 new offices this year, with the aim of strengthening its commercial network in the Spanish market. The company opened 30 new offices last year and brokered operations worth €375 million in total, up by 76% compared with the previous year (€213.4 million). In 2014, its brokered volumes amounted to €139.4 million. The company brokered 2,503 operations last year, almost twice as many as during the previous year.

Donpiso’s plans include having 120 offices in its network by the end of the year. Most of the new offices will be opened in the Community of Madrid, the Community of Valencia, País Vasco, Andalucía and the Canary Islands.

Last year, the most significant increase in terms of office numbers was seen in Cataluña, where the firm’s central headquarters are located.

The company’s expansion is based on a mixed model. Of the new offices opened in 2016, eight were owned offices and 22 were franchises. This year, the firm wants to maintain the same proportion, and whereby exert full control over c. 25% of its offices.

Donpiso, which recorded turnover of €7.5 million last year, will invest €2.5 million on its expansion plans, of which €500,000 will be allocated to opening its own offices and the remainder to its franchises. The company will recruit 120 workers during this process.

The company is also constructing 13 urban developments, all of which are in different phases of progress. Its developments are mainly located in Barcelona, as well as in towns in the Catalan capital’s metropolitan area, such as Badalona, Sabadell and Cornellà.

Recovery

The firm has enjoyed a progressive recovery since 2009, when the current Director General, Luis Pérez, acquired the Donpiso brand for €1 million.

The company, which was owned by Ferrovial until 2006 and by Habitat for the next three years, had a network of almost 400 offices across the Spanish market before the crisis hit.

Original story: Expansión (by E. Galián)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Corestate Buys Old Hall Of Residence In Madrid For €14M

16 November 2016 – Expansión

A new investor has made its debut in the Spanish real estate market. The investor is Corestate Capital Holding, a large investment fund headquartered in Luxembourg, which owns a broad portfolio of assets, mainly located in Germany and Austria. Corteste has combined forces with an investment partner to acquire a former halls of residence, located at number 42 on Calle Juan XXIII, in the Moncloa district, the heart of Madrid’s university area.

Corestate arrived in Spain last year when it teamed up with Inmobiliaria Espacio – part of the Villar Mir group – to launch a jointly owned company called Iberian Corestate Capital Advisors. In September 2015, that company announced that it is going to construct a fifth tower in the Cuatro Torres office complex in Madrid, on Paseo de la Castellana.

The owner of OHL was awarded the plot that runs alongside the four Madrilenian skyscrapers back in April, after the city’s Town Hall decided against building a Conference Centre on the site. The company controlled by Juan Miguel Villar Mir was awarded the concession, which gives it the right to operate on the land for 75 years, after it submitted the highest offer. Specifically, OHL agreed to pay an annual fee of €4 million, outbidding the second-best bid, led by Hispania and Ferrovial, who offered around €2.6 million. The Town Hall had asked candidates to submit bids for an annual fee of at least €1.9 million.

In September last year, Corestate announced that it was going to join the project through the company Iberian Corestate.

It is expected that Iberian Corestate will invest €240 million in the fifth tower project, which will involve the construction of a skyscraper that will house an IE Business School campus and a Quiron group medical centre. Corestate declined to comment on the plans for the Castellana project, but did confirm that it has purchased the Madrilenian hall of residence. According to sources in the sector, Corestate paid around €14 million for the property.

Until now, the asset acquired has housed a Spanish-Mexican secondary school – Santiago Galas de Arce. The building, which has been operating for almost half a century (44 years), will undergo a profound transformation with its new owner, given that Corestate is preparing an ambitious plan to restore the property and renovate the 4,022 m2 space, which will house 260 rooms and 302 beds.

Corestate’s idea is to demolish the existing complex and construct a new building that seeks to be one of the best equipped halls of residence in Madrid. The project will include several services such as a reception and concierge, common areas, such as a restaurant, gym and laundry facilities, as well as recreation areas in the form of patios and terraces.

Original story: Expansión (by Rocío Ruiz)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Duro Felguera Puts Its Non-Core Properties Up For Sale

4 November 2016 – Expansión

Liquidity crisis / The engineering group has two large corporate headquarters in Madrid and Gijón, which it is looking to sell to cover its financial commitments whilst it resolves several legal disputes overseas.

Duro Felguera explained yesterday during the presentation of its results for the 9 months to September 2016 that it has ordered the sale of its “non-productive assets” to avoid the deterioration of its cash balance whilst it resolves legal disputes overseas for unpaid invoices amounting to more than €300 million. According to the sources consulted, the assets under analysis include the company’s two major headquarters in Madrid and Gijón, the proceeds from which could amount to several tens of millions of euros.

For the time being, the company has issued a sales mandate but has not specified which formula it will use for the divestment. In recent years, many of Spain’s large corporations have sold their headquarters through sale and leaseback contracts, whereby the company sells the property but remains as the tenant for a certain number of years. Ferrovial, Acciona, Prisa, Telefónica, Santander, Gas Natural and Endesa, amongst others, have all used this formula in recent years.

Duro Felguera’s office building in Madrid has been on the company’s balance sheet for two years, after it acquired it for €20 million in 2014. The previous owner was the real estate company GMP. The headquarters is located on Vía de los Poblados, in the north of Madrid, alongside the M-40 ring road and the Campo de las Naciones business park.

Duro Felguera’s headquarters in Madrid has a useful surface area of 13,791 m2. It is an eight-storey building – five of the floors are used for offices, two are used for parking and one contains an undercover space for storage and other facilities.

In Gijón, the company chaired by Ángel Antonio del Valle owns of one of the best complexes in the city’s Scientific and Technological Park. That building has a surface area of more than 9,000 m2.

Legal disputes

Duro Felguera will have to use the proceeds from its divestments to cover several urgent obligations. In December, for example, the company is due to repay a loan amounting to €35 million.

In parallel, the group is looking to encompass its financial commitments into the process of recovering its unpaid invoices overseas. Yesterday, the company stated that “it is holding negotiations with various credit institutions (Bankia, Santander, Popular, BBVA, Sabadell and CaixaBank) to adjust the maturity dates of its debt to bring them in line with the expected resolution dates of these conflicts.

In Australia, the group is fighting against one of its client, the Korean firm Samsung C&T, for overruns on the mining project Roy Hill. The court of arbitrage in Singapore calculates that DF may recover almost €140 million (the last invoice amounted to €40 million, plus €90 million in avals). The Australian courts are claiming €46 million, of which €9 million has been already recovered. In Argentina, Duro is claiming another €150 million for overruns at the power plant in Vuelta Obligado. Finally, in Venezuela, the Government led by Nicolás Maduro still owes the Spanish group €101 million.

Original story: Expansión (by C. Morán)

Translation: Carmel Drake