29 August 2017 – Expansión
Banco Sabadell is studying the best solution for its hotel manager HI Partners. To this end, the financial entity has engaged the investment bank Lazard to analyse the private sale of its subsidiary or to search for a shareholder to acquire a majority stake in the company, according to market sources.
In this way, Sabadell is opening a window of opportunity to those who may be interested in taking full or majority control of its hotel management company, whilst it continues, in parallel with the IPO of the same entity.
These two options will allow Sabadell to make cash on the one hand and undo its positions, taking advantage of the current investor appetite in the real estate sector and, specifically, the interest in hotel assets, and secondly, to find a partner to take a majority stake and whereby deconsolidate the business from its balance sheet.
The operation, known in the market as a dual-track deal, allows the company to launch a sale and the search for interested parties in parallel to and at the same time as it undertakes the stock market debut process.
In this way, Lazard’s commission is independent of the contract that HI Partners signed to evaluate the feasibility of listing the company on the stock market.
Sources at the bank consulted by Expansión have indicated that this represents a “very preliminary sounding out” of the various deconsolidation and value-generating options. (…).
In this sense, the CEO of Sabadell, Jaime Guardiola, said during the presentation of the bank’s most recent results that the vocation of the financial entity is not to remain as managers over the long term: “we want to exit and we have a very good opportunity ahead of us”, he explained.
HI Partners is led by Alejandro Hernández-Puértolas (pictured above centre), CEO of the company, who, together with Sergio Carrascosa (pictured above left) and Santiago Fisas (pictured above right), two other former executives of Reig Capital, comprise the management team.
The group was created in 2015 following the transfer of around twenty hotels by Banco Sabadell. The financial entity had foreclosed those assets during the crisis following the non-payment of debts. Moreover, HI Partners is responsible for managing the bank’s hotel debt.
To control these assets, the hotel investment and management arm of Banco Sabadell created two companies: one to hold the best hotels in the chain, HI Partners Holdco Value, and another containing smaller hotels in secondary locations, HI Partners Holdco Gestión Activa, with the intention of improving their management to then sell them on.
For the time being, Sabadell is not ruling out any of the options and is continuing to analyse the debut of its hotel management and investment subsidiary on the stock market.
Before the summer, the bank engaged the investment banks Citi, JPMorgan and Credit Suisse to sound out the market and analyse the feasibility of listing its hotel management subsidiary on the stock market (…).
In the event that the bank decides to debut the company on the stock market, the operation will focus on the company that controls the most strategic assets: 14 high-end hotels located in the main tourist areas and which, as at 30 June, had a combined appraisal value of €689 million, with more than 3,700 rooms in the portfolio.
Original story: Expansión (by R. Arroyo and J. Orihuel)
Translation: Carmel Drake