Change of Heart: Slim Suspends Sale of Torre Realia in Barcelona

15 January 2018 – Eje Prime

Carlos Slim has changed his mind about Torre Realia in Barcelona. The real estate company owned by the Mexican magnate has decided to suspend the sales process of its most iconic asset in the Catalan capital, according to explanations provided by sources close to the process. Realia has received offers for more than the asking price (€140 million), however, the company has decided not to sell, citing changes in the company’s strategy.

Last June, Realia entrusted JLL and BNP Paribas with the mandate to sell this asset, equivalent to Torre Kio in Madrid. The tower is located in one of the fastest growing areas of the Catalan capital in terms of the office sector, in Plaza Europa, which is set to become the city’s new business district.

Although sources at the group claim that the decision is linked to a change in strategy, given that the offers that Realia had on the table were “higher than the price set by the real estate group”, it seems that the political situation and the climate of instability may have also been triggers for Slim’s group to decide to postpone the sale to a later date.

Realia’s trophy asset in Barcelona has 24 floors and a surface area of 31,960 m2, as well as 399 parking spaces. The property, which comprises two buildings, was designed by the architect Toyo Ito, in collaboration with Fermín Vázquez, from the B720 Arquitectos studio. Torre Realia is 110 m tall and its ground floor houses a shopping arcade that joins the two towers.

In terms of its real estate activity, at the end of the first half of 2017, Realia primarily owned offices and shopping centres for rent, which spanned a combined surface area of 405,842 m2 and had an occupancy rate of 93.5%. Moreover, at that time, it also owned an asset measuring 18,324 m2, in the form of the Los Cubos building in Madrid, which it ended up selling to the French group Therus for €52 million.

Realia’s stock of offices for rent spans a surface area of 226,729 m2, with an occupancy rate of 94.7%. Moreover, the company owns 41 residential plots for family homes, destined for self-promotion, which it has put up for sale. Realia’s current land portfolio spans a buildable surface area of 1,851,392 m2, of which 49% is located in Madrid and the central region of Spain, according to data from the group.

Plaza Europa, on the rise

The sale of Torre Realia comes at a time when the area in which it is located is enjoying a real boom. As the headquarters of KPMG in Barcelona, Realia’s asset has seen its value rise in recent months thanks to the large number of operations that have been closed in this enclave and to the growing number of large corporations that are moving their head offices to this new financial district, in L’Hospitalet de Llobregat.

One of the main players in the area is the Puig family, which has joined forces with the Catalan Socimi Colonial to build a 14,000 m2 tower at Plaza Europa 46, right opposite Grupo Puig’s corporate headquarters, which it just purchased from BBVA for around €60 million.

Original story: Eje Prime (by Custodio Pareja)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Slim Commissions Sale Of Torre Realia In Barcelona For €140M

7 June 2017 – El Confidencial

(…). Torre Realia BCN is the jewel in the crown of FCC’s subsidiary in Cataluña and, moreover, it is located in a thriving area which has been witness to some of the most interesting real estate operations of recent times: Plaza Europa, the new business district within the Catalan capital’s area of influence.

With this cover letter, the group controlled by Carlos Slim has decided to put the skyscraper on the market and has engaged JLL and BNP Paribas to find a buyer, according to several sources close to the operation.

A spokesman for Realia refused to confirm the operation, which has reportedly been orchestrated directly by Gerardo Kuri Kauffman, one of the right-hand men of the Mexican magnate in Spain and the CEO of the real estate company.

The decision to sell this genuine trophy asset comes just after the real estate company signed a new syndicated loan amounting to €582 million, aimed at refinancing the €678 million debt that expired in April and which threatened the viability of the group.

To finish sorting out the financial situation, the company was also planning to sell the Los Cubos building in Madrid, an operation that never ended up being closed due to Slim’s high price expectations.

New business district

Realia is hoping to obtain €140 million for this sought-after property, which measures 112 m tall, over 24 storeys, with a gross leasable area of 31,960 m2 and 399 parking spaces. It is aware of the growing interest that exists amongst the large real estate companies to establish themselves in the new business district.

The skyscraper is, precisely, one of the most iconic buildings in this thriving area and is the image that identifies the zone. The property houses the headquarters of KPMG in Barcelona and has seen its value rise in recent months, thanks to the wave of operations that have taken place in this enclave and the growing number of large corporations that are moving their headquarters to this new financial district, in L’Hospitalet de Llobregat.

The main player in two of the operations that are transforming the area is the Puig family, one of the most important corporate sagas in Cataluña, which has completed a double whammy, by teaming up with Colonial to promote a 14,000 m2 tower in Plaza Europa 46-48, which is right opposite Grupo Puig’s headquarters, a building that it has just purchased from BBVA for around €60 million.

Arcano has also been active in the area with its acquisition of an office building located at Plaza Europa 22-24 for €13 million. That property has a gross leasable area of 7,335 m2, plus another 452 m2 of storerooms, 83 of its own parking spaces and 164 administrative concession parking spaces, which it plans to completely remodel after the summer.

Original story: El Confidencial (by Ruth Ugalde)

Translation: Carmel Drake

BBVA Completes Sale Of Torre Puig To Grupo Puig

7 June 2017 – La Vanguardia

BBVA has completed the sale of Torre Puig, in Plaza Europa, L’Hospitalet de Llobregat (Barcelona) to Grupo Puig, which has occupied the building in its entirety, as a tenant, since 2014. Aguirre Newman has managed the operation, which has now been signed, after it was announced on 24 April.

The building, constructed in 2014 and designed by the prestigious architect Rafael Moneo, measures 14,288 m2 and has 199 parking spaces.

A group of international investors with varying profiles participated in the sales process, including family offices – firms that manage the investments of wealthy individuals -, insurance companies and institutional funds, although in the end the best offer was made by Inmo, the real estate company owned by the Puig family, which participated in the process like any other interested investor.

“It has been a long and complex process given the characteristics involved, but in the end, we have closed the deal to everyone’s satisfaction”, said Hipólito Sánchez, Director of Investment at Aguirre Newman, in a statement. He is convinced that this will be “one of the most important operations of the year in the investment market in Barcelona”.

Original story: La Vanguardia

Translation: Carmel Drake

BBVA Finalises Sale Of Torre Puig To Grupo Puig

22 May 2017 – BBVA

BBVA has finalised the sale of Torre Puig to Grupo Puig, one of the largest real estate operations in Barcelona. The sales prices is reportedly in line with pre-crisis levels.

The property is a tower located in Hospitalet de Llobregat, one of the largest real estate expansion areas. The building has 21 floors and covers a surface area of 14,300 m2. The Grupo Puig has occupied the property to date.

The building was constructed by the former Catalunya Caixa (CX) for the perfume group Puig. The building was designed by architect Rafael Monea and GCA Arquitectos. The headquarters was completed three years ago, coinciding with BBVA’s purchase of CX.

BBVA’s real estate strategy

The sale of these types of portfolios is one of the channels established by the bank to reduce its real estate exposure, a strategic objective for BBVA’s Strategy and M&A area. In line with this strategy, in March, BBVA completed its second sale of a wholesale portfolio in 2017 (Project Boston), following the divestment of 3,400 properties (Project Buffalo) in February.

Original story: BBVA

Translation: Carmel Drake