Grupo Pinar & Baupost Agree Purchase of Levitt & Create New Property Developer Giant

19 February 2018 – El Confidencial

The most coveted property developer of recent times may change hands within the next few days. Levitt is holding advanced talks with Q21 Real Estate, a company created by the joining of forces between the former Grupo Pinar and the US fund Baupost, to close its sale this week and, in any case, before the end of February, according to several sources familiar with the operation.

The agreement will put an end to almost two years of to-ing and fro-ing with different interested parties in acquiring the property developer, a reference player in the market for premium homes, and will also create a new giant in the sector within the convulsive Spanish residential market.

As El Confidencial revealed, it was in 2016 when Levitt first started to listen to offers as a formula for dealing with its problem of generational succession, following the death of the group’s founder and alma mater, José María Bosch Aymerich, without any direct descendants.

Owner of one of the best land portfolios in Madrid, with land in locations such as Alcobendas, Las Rozas, Pozuelo and Boadilla del Monte, Levitt has proved tempting over the past two years for giants such as Goldman Sachs, Apollo, Värde and even the fund Baupost itself, which was on the verge of acquiring the property developer last year.

But on the home straight, those negotiations were called off due to differences over price, as well as over the continuity of the project and Levitt’s team. After closing that door, the fund found another window open through Q21, the property developer that has placed a better offer on the table than the one put forward by the US fund, and one that ensures the survival of Levitt.

Who is Q21?

Constituted in July 2014, Q21 Real Estate has a brand that is still new and a workforce of just 17 employees – both features have facilitated its agreement with Levitt, with which it shares its vision of high-quality developments.

Currently, Q21 has nine developments underway, mostly in the Community of Madrid (Boadilla del Monte, Valdebebas, Getafe and Mostoles), but also in Málaga and Valencia. Altogether, the firm is working on 1,500 homes.

With assets worth €6.3 million and net equity of €3.58 million in 2016 (the last year for which audited figures are available), Q21 generated revenues of €5.27 million, an operating profit of €3.5 million and a profit of €2.76 million.

Its numbers are well below those recorded by Levitt, whose turnover amounted to €62 million and net profit €6.3 million. Moreover, Levitt owns a portfolio worth €200 million, its brand is recognised in the market and its history spans almost fifty years in Spain after it arrived in 1971 to introduce the US residential urbanisation model.

Original story: El Confidencial (by R. Ugalde)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Vía Célere, Aedas, Neinor & Aelca are Open to Corporate Operations

22 January 2018 – Expansión

Spain’s large property developers are warning that the shortage of land and the slow pace at which licences are being processed will lead to a rise in house prices.

Following the start of the concentration of the large Socimis, with the takeover of Axiare by Colonial as the main exponent, the real estate sector is looking to other companies in the sector to star in the new corporate operations, namely, property developers led by investment funds.

With a land portfolio spanning almost 5 million m2 and more than 10,000 homes under construction, Neinor Homes, Aedas, Vía Célere and Aelca are the leading property developers to have emerged from this current real estate cycle. With the first two listed on the stock market and the second two with plans to that end, their directors say that the commitment from large investment funds and the creation of new property developers is positive, despite the competition. “Competition motivates and helps us. It improves processes, which leads to a better purchase experience for the end customer”, explains Javier Gómez (pictured above, top right (on the left)), CEO and founding partner at Aelca, speaking at the New Housing Industry conference, organised by Expansión and its supplement magazine ‘Su Vivienda’ (Your Home), both part of the El Mundo group.


Although companies and funds, such as Harbert, Patrizia and ASG, have their own growth plans in the residential market, the shortage of available land for all of them implies that they will have to form alliances between them. “We are in a privileged position. We hold land on our balance sheet for the development of our business plan over the next five years. Having said that, we are obliged to analyse operations that add value for our shareholders, including corporate operations”, said Sergio Gálvez, Director of Business Development at Aedas.

In this context of corporate operations, Vía Célere, which is preparing to debut on the stock market in 2018, and Aelca, have something in common, which, nevertheless, also pushes them apart: their largest shareholder is the US fund manager Värde Partners. “There has been a lot of talk about whether Aelca and Vía Célere could work together, but the structure of and funds and the assets they own are different and that could lead to conflict. We would need to resolve that first”, said Juan Antonio Gómez-Pintado (pictured above, top left), founder and CEO of Vía Célere.

“We think that Spain is a market that is going to be consolidated, where there is space for between five and ten large players and where size is a significant advantage”, reveals Juan Velayos (pictured above, bottom left), who, nevertheless, recognises that it is difficult in his case, since his firm does not have a single controlling shareholder, following the gradual departure of its founder, Lone Star, from the company’s share capital over the last few months.

Original story: Expansión (by Rocío Ruiz and Jesús de las Casas)

Translation: Carmel Drake