Irea: Investors Spent €184M On 8 Hotels In Málaga In 2016

16 January 2017 – Málaga Hoy

Investors have set their sights on Málaga and are placing a special emphasis on the hotel sector, in light of the visitor and occupancy rate data being registered month after month there, both in the capital as well as along the rest of the Costa del Sol, with the consequent yields that they are generating.

These investors, which include domestic and international companies and funds spent €184 million on eight major hotel operations in the province last year, according to comments made on Thursday by Gonzalo Gutiérrez, Analyst in the Hotels Department at the consultancy firm Irea, in his presentation in Madrid of the Overview of the Hotel Investment Market in Spain in 2016. This amount is less than the €223 million registered in 2015, but Gutiérrez highlighted that all investment records were broken in Spain during 2015, which means that the volume recorded in 2016 “was very good”.

To calculate these figures, Irea includes the sale and purchase of hotels that already exist, as well as of buildings and land that are acquired for conversion into hotels. However, it does not include amounts relating to possible renovations performed at each establishment or for each project. Of the eight operations completed in the province in 2016, six involved the purchase of hotels already in operation and two involved the conversion into hotels of buildings that were previously used for other purposes.

Málaga capital accounted for half of those projects. The Hotel Tryp Málaga Alameda changed hands for the second time in less than a year. Merlin Properties, which recently purchased a portfolio containing several hotels in Spain, including the Malagan establishment, from Testa, sold the same package of hotels to the French investment fund Fonciére des Murs on 30 December, and communicated the sale officially on 2 January. Merlin sold 19 hotels in Spain to the French fund for €535 million. Gutiérrez also said that another hotel was sold in the capital but that he was unable to reveal the name or the amount paid for confidentiality reasons. Also in Málaga capital, the German group Activum purchased the Palacio del Marqués de la Sonora on Calle Granada to convert it into a hotel and another group acquired the building at number 10 on Calle Larios for the same purpose.

In the rest of the province, there were four other major hotel operations in 2016. The most talked about was the sale of the Hotel Byblos in Mijas, which was acquired by the Madrilenian group Ayco for €60 million. The plan is to renovate the property, open it again and restore the luxury tourism market that it used to serve decades ago. The Incosol, another iconic establishment, which had filed for bankruptcy, was acquired by a company owned by Banco Sabadell called HI Partners, for €20 million. Meanwhile, a domestic group purchased Hotel Las Palomas in Torremolinos; and Hotel Costa Park in Torremolinos, which has 388 rooms, was included in the package that Merlin sold to the French group.

Gutiérrez forecasts that 2017 will be positive given that “the Vincci Estrella del Mar was sold for more than €20 million and that other operations are being analysed, which will be closed this year”. The expert noted that Málaga is the fifth most attractive destination for hotel investors after Madrid, Barcelona, the Balearic Islands and the Canary Islands.

Original story: Málaga Hoy (by Ángel Recio)

Transltion: Carmel Drake

Merlin Finalises The Sale Of Its Hotels For €500M+

28 December 2016 – Preferente.com

Merlin, a company listed on the Ibex 35, is finalising the sale of its hotels to the French Socimi Foncière des Régions, for a figure that exceeds €500 million. Advised by CBRE, it will be the largest operation carried out by a Socimi in 2016, excluding the integration of Merlin and Metrovacesa.

The portfolio of properties contains 29 hotels operated by different chains, including the Eurostars Grand Marina in Barcelona and the NH Sanvy in Madrid (pictured above). The hotels that share buildings with offices will be left out of the transaction, such as the Eurostars Torre Castellana, which is located in the Torre PwC, and the Novotel de Barcelona, which is next to Capgemini’s headquarters. The hotels have come from corporate operations with Testa and Metrovacesa.

In 2015, Merlin acquired Testa, the real estate subsidiary of Sacyr, for more than €1,790 million. As part of that transaction, it bought 12 hotels, valued at more than €380 million at the time. As a result of the integration of the tertiary assets of Metrovacesa, a deal that was closed this year, another 12 hotels, worth €258 million, were transfered to Merlin. In total, the Socimi has 4,495 rooms, in establishments operated by Barceló, Meliá, AC Hotels, Tryp, Holiday Inn, NH Hoteles and Exe. The Carris Marineda hotel in A Coruña and the Socimi’s 30% stake in Barceló Costa Ballena in Cádiz have been left out of the transaction. Moreover, Merlin already sold off one hotel in Perpignan (France).

The hotels account for around 7% of Merlin’s asset portfolio, worth €9,300 million in total and will generate expected revenues of €450 million following the integration of Metrovacesa approved in September. The properties are home to hotels such as the NH Collection Colón, the Paseo del Arte, Exe Puerta Castilla, Eurostars Gran Madrid, and Barceló Castellana Norte, all in Madrid. In Barcelona, the portfolio includes AC Forum and Tryp Aeropuerto, amongst others. In other locations, Merlin owns the Holiday Inn and Tryp Oceanic, both in Valencia, Playa Capricho (Almería), Costa Park and Tryp Alameda (Málaga), Tryp Jerez, and Barceló Corralejo (Las Palmas).

Original story: Preferente.com

Translation: Carmel Drake

Merlin Considers Creating New Hotel Socimi

15 November 2016 – Expansión

Merlin is going all out following its merger with Metrovacesa and is now busy exploring new market niches. The new real estate giant is analysing alternative options for the sale of its non-strategic assets, and now that it has set the future of its residential business on course, it is searching for a solution for its hotel portfolio – one option includes creating a new specialist Socimi to compete in the market.

“We will analyse the book value of our assets and we will determine whether a block sale from the portfolio is possible. If not, because the cost of capital of the potential buyers is very high, then we will probably opt for a solution that is similar to the one we have applied to the residential business. We will create a subsidiary, we will look for partners and we will constitute a company, in which we hold a majority, minority or equal stake, to serve as an owner of urban hotels”, explains Ismael Clemente, CEO of Merlin.

Following the integration with Metrovecesa, Merlin has gone from having 12 hotels worth €398 million, to owning 24 hotels with a gross value of €654 million. In this way, the new Merlin has multiplied the value of its hotel assets by 1.6x following the integration. By number of rooms, the union between Merlin and Metrovacesa has given rise to a giant hotel company with almost 4,500 rooms and a gross yield of 5.8%, according to the most recent data available.

In terms of its main rival in the sector, Hispania, Clemente says that “if there are any solutions that we can find together, we would be delighted to explore them”.

Merlin is now beginning a new phase in its journey, having created a business with assets worth €9,500 million in just two years. (…).

The listed real estate company, the only one to feature in the Ibex 35 following Colonial’s departure in 2008, faces a difficult year ahead with the major task of integrating Merlin and Metrovacesa’s teams. “By the end of the first quarter, the integrated team will work together in one location, which will not be where either of them are currently based”.

In addition, one of Merlin’s other challenges for 2017 is to dramatically improve the occupancy rate of the offices that it has inherited from Metrovacesa, as well as to perform a “significant” intervention in the shopping centres of both companies. (…).

Growth in housing

In terms of its plans for Testa – the subsidiary that owns the Socimi’s rental homes – Clemente says that, at the moment, the firm is holding conversations with other companies, as well as with its shareholder banks, with the aim of increasing its portfolio by incorporating new assets.

“We think that this vehicle has the potential to become a major player in the professional market for residential rental properties in Spain. The vehicle could own between 9,000 and 10,000 homes by the end of 2017”. (…).

Original story: Expansión (by R.Arroyo and R.Ruiz)

Translation: Carmel Drake

HI Partners Invested €136M In 4 Hotels In July

8 August 2016 – Expansión

In addition to its two purchases in the Canary Islands (IFA Catarina and Hotel Jardín Tropical), it also acquired the luxury Hilton Sa Torre resort in Mallorca (pictured above) and the Hotel Abba Acteon in Valencia.

Four acquisitions in four weeks. That was the result of HI Partners’ activity in July, a month in which the company owned by Banco Sabadell, closed several deals that allowed it to incorporate 1,119 new rooms into its hotel portfolio in one fell swoop. It paid €136 million in total for the four operations, which allowed HI Partners to extend its presence to the Canary Islands and Mallorca for the first time, two of Spain’s main tourist destinations.

The company led by Alejandro Hernández-Puértolas has just completed the purchase of two establishments in Mallorca and Valencia, to add to the two acquired in the Canary Islands half way through the month. With these purchases, the investment and hotel management company’s portfolio of hotel assets now contains 28 properties and 3,352 rooms.

In Mallorca, HI Partners has purchased Hotel Hilton Sa Torre, a luxury resort located in Llucmajor, on a traditional Mallorcan estate that includes buildings dating back to the 14th century. The five-star property has ninety rooms and a spa, as well as several swimming pools, a tennis court and extensive gardens.

In parallel, at the end of July, the firm also acquired Hotel Abba Acteon, a four-star urban property located in the centre of Valencia, with 150 rooms.

These two purchases followed its acquisition of IFA Catarina, located in Maspalomas (Gran Canaria) and Hotel Jardín Tropical, located in Adeja (Tenerife).

Investment in renovation

The four hotels have increased the size of the HI Partners Value Added vehicle, which contains the jewels of the investor group’s crown. The division now owns eight assets. Alongside the two hotels in the Canary Islands and the new properties in Mallorca and Valencia, the fund also includes Hotel Silken in Málaga, the Terramar in Sitges (Barcelona), the Prestige Coral Plajta de Roses (Girona) and the future Hotel Axel in Madrid, which is currently under construction on Calle Atocha.

HI Partners plans to allocate an addition €20 million to the renovation and improvement of the properties it has acquired. All of them have received financing from Banco Sabadell, in other words, they form part of the €850 million hotel debt portfolio managed by HI Partners.

Original story: Expansión (by Sergi Saborit)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Hispania Multiplies Its Profits By 11x To €120M In H1

28 July 2016 – Expansión

The Socimi Hispania generated an attributable profit of €120 million during the first half of 2016, which represents an eleven-fold increase in earnings compared with the same period last year.

These “solid” results reflect the “excellent progress” of the firm’s hotel portfolio, improvements in the occupancy rates of its office buildings and the continuous appreciation of its residential portfolio.

Net operating income increased eight-fold, to €48.2 million. The recurrent gross operating profit (EBITDA) amounted to €39.3 million, compared with a negative EBITDA of €124 million in the same period in 2015.

The net turnover figure stood at €60.18 million, i.e. six times higher than in H1 2015, when it amounted to €10.6 million. By segment, €48 million (+1.375%) of the Socimi’s turnover corresponded to hotels; €9.1 million (+68%) to offices; and €3 million (+55%) to residential assets.

Hotel success

According to the Socimi, its hotel portfolio has performed “very positively” during the first half of the year, driven, primarily, by its hotels in the Canary Islands.

The firm’s share price rose by 1% on the stock market yesterday to €11.50.

Original story: Expansión

Translation: Carmel Drake

The Salazar Family Sells Hotel Velázquez For €63M

26 July 2016 – El Confidencial

Beset by debt, the Salazar family, the former owner of SOS-Cuétara, has spent the last three years trying to get rid of its vast hotel and real estate empire, an emporium whose last great jewel was the Gran Hotel Velázquez in Madrid, a property for which it has just received an irresistible offer.

Corporacion Hispano Hotelera, the company owned by the Salazar-Bello family, has reached an agreement with the Didra Group, famous for having constructed the luxurious residential areas of Montepríncipe and El Encinar, to sell the property for €63 million, according to several sources close to the deal.

The Ardid Villoslada family, which is behind Didra, has been linked to the property development business for decades and was made famous due to the marriage of one of its members, Rafael, to Mariola Martínez Borduí, the granddaughter of the dictator Francisco Franco. One of their sons, Jaime Ardid Martínez Bordiú has closed this agreement, with a view to opening a luxury 5-star hotel.

On 23 August 2016, Corporación Hispano Hotelera will present this sale for approval by the General Shareholders’ Meeting, with the aim of wrapping up the final sale in January, once the Salazar family has also received the blessing from its creditor banks, led by Banco Popular.

With its privileged location, in the heart of the neighbourhood of Salamanca, just a stone’s throw from the Retiro Park and the capital’s golden mile, the Gran Hotel Velázquez is a sought-after establishment. Nevertheless, it needs to be completely refurbished, according to experts in the sector.

In fact, Didra is expected to invest between €15 million and €20 million refurbishing the property. It plans to retain the image of a more bourgeois Madrid that characterises it, and always under the maxim of reserving the right to manage it, meaning that the Ardid family’s plans do not include opening a large hotel chain.

Didra maintains a close relationship with brands such as AC and NH, with which it operates some of the properties in its hotel group Nevertheless, the plans that the Ardid family have in mind for the Gran Hotel Velázquez more closely resemble the concept of the Hotel Palacio de Villapanés in Sevilla, a 5-star property located in the neighbourhood of Santa Cruz, in a former seventeenth century palace, which Didra manages itself.

With this sale, Corporación Hispano Hotelera will be reduced to an empty shell, after selling off the majority of its hotels in just over two years. The house of cards first started to topple in the Spring of 2014, when it had to close down Hotel Ada Palace, located on Gran Vía in Madrid, after it was evicted by the owner of the property, Real Gran Peña, which denounced the company for not paying the rent.

A year later, Hotusa purchased the Hotel María Elena, located 50m from Puerta del Sol, and renamed it the Eurostars Casa de la Lírica; meanwhile, Platinum Estates acquired the Hotel Asturias, in Plaza de Canalejas for €21.5 million. (…).

Original story: El Confidencial (by Ruth Ugalde)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Som Hotels Acquires Hotel Millor Gardens In Mallorca

20 June 2016 – Preferente.com

Som Hotels, the hotel chain led by Joan Enric Capellà and Vicenç Miralles (two former directors of the Piñero Group who launched the Som Hotels chain), has purchased the Hotel Millor Garden (Cala Millor, Mallorca), which they have renamed the Som Llevant Suite. As such, the Mallorcan chain adds a fourth property to its portfolio.

Som Hotels’ latest acquisition has 86 rooms and following a refurbishment, which “will begin in November and last the whole winter”, will increase its category to become a four star hotel.

Although the purchase of Millor Garden has already been completed, “the former owner will continue to operate the property this year and we will take over the management from next year onwards”, said Capellà, who indicated that “the Hotel Som Llevant Suites will open its doors in April 2017”.

The hotel chain, which opened its first property, Som Fona (S’Illot, Cala Millor), in the Balearic Islands last year is in the middle of an expansion process. Just a month ago, it opened two more hotels, Hotel Som Far (Aucanada, Alcudia) with 45 rooms and Son Llaüt Boutique Hotel (Can Picafort) with 24 rooms, both four star properties on the beachfront.

Original story: Preferente.com

Translation: Carmel Drake

Hotusa Incorporates 
More Than 400 Associated Hotels

9 February 2016 – Expansion

Hotusa strengthened its hotel portfolio in 2015 with 403 associated establishments. Out of these, 130 are in Spain and the remaining 273 are spread over 29 countries in Europe, America, Asia and Africa. With these incorporations, the consortium of independent hotels of Hotusa Group totals more than 2,700 associates worldwide. 
Most hotels oncorporated outside Spain are located in Europe. Specifically, 210 establishments in 15 countries. Ahead are Italy and France, with 73 and 68 hotels, respectively. 
The company chaired by Amancio López also had a good growth in North Africa, especially in Morocco, with 11 new associates. Its evolution in Chile is also significant – with 12 new associates, and in the US, where it has added 10 locations. 
Hotusa is the largest tourist group in Catalonia, with a turnover of EUR 744 million in 2014, a figure that includes own hotels, marketing of third parties establishments and the division of tourism services. 
Hotusa has 147 hotels in 17 countries under Eurostars and Exe brands. And also Keytel booking central and Hotelius on-line portal.

Original story: Expansion

Translation: Aura Ree

Testa Becomes A Socimi & Puts Its Residential Portfolio Up For Sale

29 September 2015 – Expansión

The real estate company Testa is making progress with its integration with the Socimi Merlin Properties. Yesterday, the company held an extraordinary shareholders’ meeting to approve a change in the corporate structure of the real estate company into a listed real estate investment company (Socimi).

The decision comes after an agreement was made between Sacyr and Merlin in June to sell Testa for €1,793 million. Currently, the Socimi led by Ismael Clemente (pictured above) controls 77% of Testa’s capital and is expected to own 100% of the shares before the end of June 2016.

The Socimi-conversion will apply (retrospectively) from 1 January 2015, which means that Testa may benefit this year from the tax advantages afforded to this kind of company, although they have yet to be quantified.

At the meeting yesterday, the shareholders approved the appointment of Ismael Clemente as a Director of Testa; he currently also serves as the Chairman and CEO of Merlin Properties. In addition, Miguel Ollero, a Director of Merlin, was also appointed as an independent Director of Testa, following the resignation of Juan María Aguirre Gonzalo.

Following the entry of these two new Directors, Testa’s governing body comprises seven members, including the Chairman, Fernando Rodríguez Avial and the CEO, Fernando Lacadena.

Once the purchase of the whole company has been completed, the two companies will merge into a single Socimi. The new Merlin Properties will have assets worth around €5,000 million.

Having taken control of Testa, the Directors of Merlin have decided to divest the real estate company’s residential portfolio, which contains around 1,500 homes. They have engaged two consultancy firms to coordinate this process, which is expected to begin within two weeks.

Potential purchasers of the portfolio include other Socimis and investment funds.

In addition to the sale of this package of properties, which generates annual rental income of €10.5 million, Merlin has also announced that it will sell the portfolio of hotels currently owned by Testa, before the end of the year.

Merlin’s shares closed trading on the stock exchange yesterday at €10.72 per share, up 0.33%, taking its market capitalisation to €3,461.3 million, whilst the market capitalisation of Testa is €2,055.5 million.

Original story: Expansión (by Rocío Ruiz)

Translation: Carmel Drake