Aquila Wants to Invest €800M in Logistics & Residential Assets in Spain

6 April 2018 – Eje Prime

Aquila Capital is displaying its charms in the Spanish market. The investment fund, which has already invested more than €500 million in Spain, is going to allocate another €800 million to the purchase of logistics and residential assets over the coming years. Moreover, as sources from the company explained, Aquila Capital plans to spend some of its investment on new residential developments.

Aquila’s new plan of attack focuses on the entire European market but is looking very closely at Spain and its real estate market given that it is now fully recovered having survived one of the worst economic crises of recent times. The fund is going to launch three funds specialising in different types of assets, with the first dedicated to logistics properties.

That fund will be the one that looks at more markets, above all those in the south of Europe. Aquila is going to raise between €200 million and €250 million from institutional investors and will have a gearing ratio of 50%, which means that the total investment capacity allocated to countries such as Spain, Portugal and Italy will amount to €500 million.

Aquila, which has operated in Spain since 2012 through an office located on Paseo de la Castellana (in Torre Europa) in Madrid, is going to allocate the assets that it buys (which must be core or core plus) through this fund to short-term rentals.

Moreover, the group is preparing two other funds, both of which will specialise in the residential business. The first is going to specialise in the purchase of residential rental properties in cities such as Madrid, Barcelona and Málaga. The second is going to focus on the construction of residential projects.

For those two funds, Aquila has set the challenge of raising between €200 million and €300 million to buy new residential buildings in association with property developers and to purchase assets that are already rented out. To carry out these plans, the group has doubled its workforce in Spain, which has gone from 17 people to a team of 30 professionals over the last year.

Projects in progress 

Aquila Capital’s interest in Spain is nothing new. At the end of last year, the company acquired six plots of land in Málaga and Huelva, which represented the German group’s first foray into Andalucía.

That transaction comprised almost 120,000 m2 of land on which around 1,300 homes will be constructed, according to El Economista. Specifically, the acquired portfolio constitutes six plots of land located in the centre of Málaga, Estepona, Rincón de la Victoria and Huelva.

With this acquisition, the asset manager is continuing its expansion in the Spanish market, where it is currently building more than 1,500 homes, as well as two hotels in Madrid, through alliances with local partners. Aquila Capital is currently managing thirteen real estate projects in Spain with a total investment volume of more than €500 million.

Original story: Eje Prime (by C. Pareja)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Corpfin Launches a Socimi to Invest €400M in High Street Assets

5 April 2018 – Expansión

The real estate manager Corpfin Capital Real Estate is accelerating its commitment to retail with the launch of a new Socimi through which it plans to invest €400 million in high street assets (retail premises at street level) between now and 2021. €200 million of that amount will proceed from own funds raised and the remaining from gearing.

The President and Founding Partner of Corpfin Capital Real Estate, Javier Basagoiti (pictured above), said that the fundraising process began in February and is expected to conclude in December or whenever the €200 million threshold is reached. In terms of investment timeframes, the manager calculates that the process will finalise in 2021 or whenever the target investment volume of €400 million has been reached.

In terms of the structure, this vehicle will comprise a Socimi from which four other Socimis will depend, in turn, which will be listed on the stock market, a formula known in the jargon as the “inverted comb”. The estimated date for the stock market debut of the four Socimis is September 2019.

Basagoiti explained that the objective is to acquire high street assets with a surface area of between 1,000 m2 and 2,000 m2, which involve, in many cases, the purchase of entire buildings that will require managing and will include mixed uses – residential, offices and hotels -. In any case, the value of the retail element of the asset must always exceed 60% of the total.

Corpfin is holding advanced negotiations to buy assets in País Vasco, Madrid and Valencia at prices ranging between €5 million and €52 million.

Original story: Expansión (by Rebeca Arroyo)

Translation: Carmel Drake

The Socimi VBA Will Debut On The MAB In November

16 August 2016 – El Confidencial

Another new Socimi, VBA Real Estate, is planning to list on the stock exchange and has decided to accelerate its debut. It is now working against the clock ahead of its listing on the MAB (Alternative Investment Market) in November. But that is just the beginning, given that the company hopes to move onto the main stock market and to start competing with the large Socimis in the field, in other words, with Merlin, Hispania, Lar and Axiare.

In fact, its strategy on the stock market partially replicates those adopted by these large vehicles, given that the reason why VBA is debuting on the MAB is not just to comply with the legal requirements imposed on Socimis to benefit from their special tax regime. In this case, VBA also wants to raise money to finance new purchases and grow in size, a policy that would involve future capital increases, and that means that its upcoming debut on MAB will be structured as an IPO (Initial Public Offering or Oferta Pública de Suscripción or OPS).

To accompany it on its stock market debut, the Socimi has hired Renta 4 and Aguirre Newman, and has also hired professionals from firms such as PwC and McKinsey to comprise its management team, with David Calzada at the helm, as the CEO of VBA.

The Socimi already owns assets for rent in its portfolio, comprising 166 homes, 17 parking spaces and 68 storerooms, spread over four complete buildings; as well as others, scattered across several properties. It has performed these operations with a net direct profitability of 5%, without gearing, and a discount of between 10% and 30% on the market value, which has allowed it to accumulate an increase in its asset value of 34%.

To build this portfolio, VBA has invested €14 million, after having analysed operations worth €420 million and having raised €16.2 million, as well as having closed financing amounting to €3 million. With its upcoming debut on the stock market, the Socimi hopes to secure another €15 million, which will allow it to continue to progress towards its investment objective of €100 million.

According to its roadmap, the company hopes to have a gearing or Loan to Value (LTV) ratio of close to 50%, an ambitious challenge, given that it currently amounts to 16%.

Diversified shareholding

To give credibility and transparency to these numbers, VBA subjects its accounts to a quarterly review and publishes the corresponding financial statements, along with a valuation of its assets, a policy that adopts in order to provide a period point of references to investors interested in investing in its shares. This approach means that it is already complying with the practices of the (main) stock market, even though the obligation does not apply to MAB-listed companies.

Currently, the Socimi’s share capital is owned by 35 different shareholders, from Israel, USA and Spain, and none of them owns more than 15% individually. Part of its decision to accelerate its debut on the stock market (it could have waited until 2017) was based on the fact that several investors are interested in buying its share capital, but they will only do so once the company is listed.

Madrid, Málaga, Valencia, Sevilla and Bilbao are the cities where VBA has set its sights. It tends to close its investments in specific areas and neighbourhoods outside of the centre of those capitals, focusing instead on more popular areas, where rental prices are more affordable.

Original story: El Confidencial (by R. Ugalde)

Translation: Carmel Drake