Bain Relaunches Habitat to Compete with the Large Real Estate Firms

30 January 2018 – Expansión

With 2.5 million m2 of land and the US investment fund Bain Capital Credit as its largest shareholder, the historical real estate company is working to regain its position as one of the largest property developers in the country.

Founded in 1953, the property developer Habitat is facing a new stage hand in hand with its new shareholder: the US investment firm Bain Capital Credit.

This firm – the subsidiary of a fund created in Boston by the former Republican White House candidate Mitt Romney amongst others – completed the purchase of Habitat on 22 December after fighting off competition from other investment firms such as Oaktree and Apollo.

The arrival of the new shareholder gave oxygen to one of the historical real estate companies in the sector. Created by the Catalan businessman Josep Maria Figueras and Josep Ildefons, the company purchased the real estate arm of Ferrovial in 2006 for €2 billion. Two years later, it filed for creditor bankruptcy with a debt amounting to more than €2.8 billion.

With a proposal to pay up to 80% of the amount owed, the property developer emerged from insolvency in April 2010. Nevertheless, the economic crisis was still raging in Spain, and that caused the Figueras family, led by the son of the founder, Bruno, to lose control of Habitat to funds such as Goldman Sachs, Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Capstone, amongst others. And it was they who hung the ‘for sale’ sign up over the company last summer (…).

Habitat owns a land portfolio spanning 2.5 million m2, which makes it the second largest owner of this precious asset in the country, behind only Metrovacesa (which owns 6 million m2) and ahead of companies such as Neinor, Aedas and Vía Célere. Its portfolio is split almost equally between developable land and plots that require management, say sources at the company.

To this portfolio, new acquisitions that Habitat is currently evaluating will soon be added, either through purchases from third parties or incorporations of foreclosed assets and loans from Bain’s portfolio. Habitat’s objective is to look for opportunities in the major markets where it is already present, namely: Madrid, Barcelona and Sevilla.

Managing the land portfolio is not the firm’s only task for 2018. This year, the company also plans to deliver the first of more than 1,000 homes that it currently has up for sale. Of those 1,000 homes, more than 700 are currently under construction and of those, more than 80% have already been sold.


Thanks to these deliveries – the first 60 units in Alcobendas (Madrid) will be handed over during the first quarter of the year – the company expects to increase its revenue so that the figure for 2017 will be similar to that recorded in 2016 (€44.5 million).

For this new period, Bain Capital will keep in place the management team that joined the company last year. In this way, the most senior executive will be Eduardo Carreño, the Director General of Habitat, who has been managing the executive functions of the real estate company since the departure of Bruno Figueras in June 2016.

In January, the company moved its headquarters to Madrid, although it will continue to hold onto its offices in Barcelona as a regional delegation.

Amongst the alternatives that Bain is considering for its future divestment of Habitat include its placement on the stock market, as Lone Star did with Neinor Homes, or a merger with another group.

Original story: Expansión (by Rocío Ruiz)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Habitat Considers Moving Its HQ To Madrid Due To Cataluña Crisis

7 November 2017 – El Confidencial

The historical property developer Habitat Inmobiliaria is on its way to becoming the next iconic Catalan company to abandon its region of origin in order to avoid the risks associated with the current crisis being caused by the independence challenge. The company’s shareholders, led by Capstone Equities Management, have been discussing the possible transfer of its corporate headquarters from number 458 Avenida Diagonal in Barcelona to Madrid for several weeks now; they want to reduce any risks to the sales plans being developed by its commercial network (in other parts of the country).

The company, founded in 1953, was owned by the Figueras family until November 2015, when it was taken over by Capstone and a group of funds, including Värde, in an operation that included a multi-million debt discount and in which Goldman Sachs and Bank of America also participated. The change in ownership led, in turn, to an about-turn in its management. Rafael del Valle took over the role of President and a significant part of the operations were moved to Madrid, although the registered address of Promociones Habitat, as the company is known formally, was maintained in Barcelona.

Now, the owners have initiated a sales process and the private equity firms Apollo, Oaktree and Bain are all competing in the final round, according to El Confidencial. In this context, the uncertainty generated in Catalaña could give the final push to move, however, the debate is on-going internally, which sources from the real estate company freely admit.

The problem for Habitat is not so much its exposure to the Catalan market itself, but more a question of its image in the commercial network across the rest of Spain. Of the 11 real estate developments that it currently has up for sale, only one is located in Cataluña, specifically, in Cornellà de Llobregat, called Parc de Can Mercader. The rest are located in Madrid (four developments), the Community of Valencia (four), Andalucía (three), Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and Portugal (one each). In other words, the problem facing the company is the opposition that its products may receive given the fact that it is a Catalan company, a phenomenon that is being seen in other sectors.

If this change of registered address comes about, Habitat will be the second large real estate company to abandon Cataluña for political reasons after the Board of Directors of Inmobiliaria Colonial also decided, on 9 October, to move from Avenida Diagonal in Barcelona to Paseo de la Castellana in Madrid.

Original story: El Confidencial (by Víctor Romero)

Translation: Carmel Drake

A Group Of Funds Takes Control Of Catalan Firm ‘Habitat’

29 May 2015 –

A group of investment funds has taken control of the Catalan real estate company Habitat, after the judge gave the green light to the proposed agreement that they had submitted.

According to reports by El País, the company will now end up in the hands of firms such as Goldman Sachs, Bank of America Merril Lynch, Capston, Marathon and SC Lowy; whilst the Figueras family, which founded the real estate company, will retain a minority stake. The new owners will retain the current management team.

The company, whose debt initially amounted to €1,800 million, sought refuge in the new bankruptcy law at the end of last year after it proved impossible for it to adhere to the repayment calendar established under the previous agreement.

The investment funds have acquired Habitat after purchasing Habitat’s loans at a significant discount from banks and Sareb, the so-called bad bank, and they presented another proposed agreement to the Commercial Court number 3 in Barcelona, which was approved in the end.

The funds will become the new owners of the real estate company by converting their debt into equity.

Original story:

Translation: Carmel Drake