Lar España Raises €104M To Finance New Purchases

16 March 2017 – Expansión

Lar España has signed two financing agreements with ING and BBVA amounting to €103.9 million. The Socimi intends to use the funds raised to acquire new assets over the next few months.

Following the signing of these agreements, the Socimi now has debt amounting to €558 million, of which €418 million corresponds to bank loans, with the remaining €140 million relating to a bond issue carried out at the beginning of 2015.

In this way, Lar España’s net gearing ratio currently equals 33% of the gross value of its assets and will rise to 38% once the latest funds have been invested. The Socimi has highlighted that “it still has a long way to go” before its financing increases to 50% of fixed leverage.

Meanwhile, Credit Suisse’s funds have acquired a 4.31% stake in the Socimi Lar to become one of its significant shareholders alongside the US manager Pimco, which owns a 20% stake, Franklin Templeton (15%), Brandes Investments (5%), Bestinver (4.1%), Blackrock (3.6%) and Threadneedle Asset Management (5%).

Original story: Expansión

Translation: Carmel Drake

Derby Hotels’ Assets Are Worth €800M

23 June 2016 – Expansión

Family owned chain / The Group chaired by Jordi Clos owns 12 hotels and 10 apartment buildings, and has a gearing ratio of 11.2%.

The Catalan businessman Jordi Clos, owner of Derby Hotels and the Egyptian Museum of Barcelona, and the Chairman of the Barcelona Hotel Association, has created a real estate empire from scratch that is now worth €800 million. Few hotel chains in Spain are so asset rich, given that the group owns all twelve of its hotels and all ten of the tourist apartment buildings that it operates. Its gearing ratio is also unusually low: 11.2% of the total asset value, at around €90 million.

In addition to the properties for tourist use, which are located in London, Paris, Madrid and Barcelona, the group also owns several office buildings, homes and car parks, which it holds purely for real estate investment purposes.

Derby Hotels, which moved its headquarters from Barcelona to Madrid a few months ago, recorded revenues of €74.3 million in 2015, up by 6.4% compared with the previous year. Of that amount, €67 million was generated by the hotel business and the remainder, from the operation of the tourist apartments.

The only building in this family-owned chain that precedes Jordi Clos is the Hotel Derby, which his father-in-law opened in Barcelona in 1968. The businessman has opened all of the other properties, over a thirty year period from 1983 until 2013.

In some cases, Clos acquired his properties with investment partners, before going on to buy out their stakes years later. Such is the case of the Caesar Hotel in London, which he purchased together with the Metropolis real estate fund in 2004 for €30 million (each party acquired a 50% stake). In 2009, he joined forces with that fund again to acquire the Hotel Banke in Paris for €75 million. In 2013, Clos purchased the shares that Metropolis held in those two hotels in an operation that valued the assets at €120 million in total.

A similar case was that of Hotel Bagués in Barcelona, which he opened in 2010 with the Bagués Masriera family, owners of the building that the jewellers of the same name had occupied for decades. Last year, Close purchased the remaining 40% stake that the jewellers still held for €3.8 million.

Searching for new properties

Now, having digested the purchase of the 50% stakes of the hotels in London and Paris, Derby wants to continue to expand its empire in Europe. “Barcelona has been ruled out due to the hotel moratorium there and, we already have two five-star hotels in Madrid”, explained Clos. “Instead, we want to continue to diversify our risk by opening hotels in other cities, such as Amsterdam and Munich, although we are also looking at Copenhagen and Stockholm”.

The terrorist attacks in Paris in 2015 directly affected the Group’s hotels in the French capital. Clos estimates that the occupancy rate there fell by 15% and average prices decreased by 20%. “If we weren’t a diversified chain with a low gearing ratio, it would have been hard for us to survive the winter in Paris”, he added.

Indeed, Hotel Banke had just increased its rating from four to five-stars following the remodelling of its 91 rooms. Now, the group is planning to raise the category of its hotel in London too, to a superior four-star property. To this end, it plans to increase the size of its rooms and reduce the total number from 140 to 120.

Original story: Expansión (by Marisa Anglés)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Rothschild Launches Fund To Invest €400M In EU Hotel Sector

13 April 2015 – Expansión

The wealth management specialist creates a real estate (investment) vehicle.

Edmund de Rothschild, the group that specialises in the management of large fortunes, is breaking into the hotel sector. Aina is the name of the real estate fund that Rothschild has launched with the aim of purchasing four- and five-star hotels, (of between 90 and 150 rooms and between 150 and 450 rooms) in Europe.

Managed by Jaume Tapies, the former Chairman of the international network Relais & Chateaux, Aina is seeking to raise more than €400 million, and more than half of that amount will relate to debt. The roadmap predicts the signing of around 20 transactions with an average value of around €20 million to €25 million.

Aina has identified 29 cities of interest, due to their potential for tourism and business, where there is no excess supply or barriers to entry. The list includes two Spanish cities, Madrid and Barcelona, and two others may join them, namely Sevilla and Bilbao. “Spain is a priority country and now is a good time to invest there, as well as in Italy and Portugal, and in the major capital cities such as London, Paris and Amsterdam”, says Tapies.

Aina, whose investment plan will take two years to complete, has a process open with institutional investors to secure €200 million in funding, which is about to close. Edmund de Rothschild will be responsible for the administration and custody of the funds. The minimum investment required to participate is €1 million. The fund will have a life of seven years and the investment period will be three years. The gearing ratio will range between 40% and 50% of the total portfolio value, and on an exceptional basis, may reach up to 60% for a single asset.

Profitability

The strategy also centres on risk diversification. One single hotel may account for 25% of the investment, at most, and no single country may account for more than 40%. On the other side of the scale, profitability will also be high, at 15% p.a., based on the profitability of the rental income and the potential for the increase in the value of the assets.

The fund will focus on finding properties with discounts of between 25% and 40% of their market value. Subsequently, it will increase their values by between 25% and 30% by redesigning their operating models and will obtain a similar percentage from the sale of these properties to investors that have lower long-term profitability requirements.

So far, investors from Spain, South America, Australia and Asia have all expressed their interest in participating in Aina.

In addition to the management team led by Tapies, Aina has an advisory board, which includes, amongst others, Charles Petrucelli, former Chairman of the travel division of American Express; Antoine Corinthios, former Chairman of Four Seasons in EMEA; and Jean-Jacques Gauer, for Chairman of Leading Hotels of the World.

Gabriel García is also advising the fund; he owns the Hotel Orfila in Madrid and is the Chairman of Relais & Chateaux in Spain.

Original story: Expansión (by Yovanna Blanco)

Translation: Carmel Drake