Eroski to Sell Hypermarkets in Southern Spain

10 July 2019 – Richard D. K. Turner

The Basque chain Eroski is selling a series of hypermarkets due to an agreement with its creditor banks to refinance a debt of €1.542 billion. The markets are all located in southern Spain, whereas the bulk of Eroski’s operations are based in the northern part of the country: Galicia, the Basque Country, La Rioja, Catalonia and the Balearic Islands.

Given the hypermarkets’ geographical disparity, Eroski opted not to mandate a single advisor to complete the sale. Rather, it will work will a series of advisers to sell the individual assets.

Original Story: Idealista

El Corte Inglés Considers Creating a Socimi to List its Real Estate Assets on the Stock Market

15 February 2019 – Modaes.es

El Corte Inglés is looking for solutions for its portfolio of real estate assets. The Qatari sheikh Hamad Al Thani, the third largest shareholder in the Madrilenian department store group, has proposed the creation of a Socimi to manage the rental of its assets.

The plan proposed by Al Thani, who entered the company’s share capital last summer, involves creating a company in which El Corte Inglés would own a 51% stake. The remaining 49% of the shares would be listed on the stock market.

The Qatari investor already proposed this solution to the previous President of the group, Dimas Gimeno, but it was not successful then, according to El Economista. For the time being, the Board of Directors of El Corte Inglés has not received a formal petition regarding the plan.

The real estate portfolio of El Corte Inglés is worth €17.1 billion, according to a report from Tinsa. The department stores and hypermarkets are worth €15.0 billion, whilst the warehouses, offices and mixed-use buildings are worth €1.1 billion. Finally, the high street establishments are valued at €1 billion.

It is estimated that, in the event that the operation proposed by the sheikh goes ahead, the valuation of the assets could amount to half their current value, around €8.2 billion, according to Tinsa.

In parallel, the group is continuing to work on the sale of 130 real estate assets worth €2 billion in conjunction with the consultancy firm PwC. The property that El Corte Inglés wants to divest now comprises land, offices and buildings defined as non-strategic. Those assets also include some logistics centres.

The objective of these divestments is to reduce the group’s debt so that it can obtain a level of solvency that will allow it to raise financing in the capital markets at a lower price. In this sense, Núñez de la Rosa, the President of the group, has committed to reducing the group’s liabilities by €1 billion in twelve months.

Currently, the real estate portfolio of El Corte Inglés comprises 94 shopping centres, which account for 87% of the total value of the company’s assets. Two of those properties are valued at more than €500 million each, and another two are worth between €400 million and €500 million each.

The department store group recorded EBITDA of €335 million during the first half of 2018, up by 4.4% YoY. Between January and August, the company recorded turnover of €7.6 billion, up by 0.4% YoY.

Original story: Modaes.es

Translation: Carmel Drake

Ores Doubles its Portfolio in a Year & Closes 2018 with Assets Worth €357.4M

11 February 2019 – Eje Prime

Olimpo Real Estate (Ores) is establishing itself in the market. The Socimi owned by Bankinter and Sonae Sierra closed last year with a portfolio comprising 34 assets worth €357.4 million. In this way, the company has doubled the valuation of its assets since the end of October 2017, a few months after it made its debut on the stock market. At that time, the firm held a total of 16 investments worth €172.6 million.

At the end of 2018, the value of the Socimi’s portfolio amounted to €357.4 million across 34 assets, comprising mainly hypermarkets (28.5%) and supermarkets (14.7%), retail parks (15.2%) and out-of-town stores (14.4%), as well as premises (8%) located on the main streets of large cities.

During the last four months of 2018, four investment operations were undertaken for a total value of €27.5 million. Specifically, the firm completed the purchase of two supermarkets, an out-of-town store in Santander and a commercial premise in Vigo.

“These operations are in line with Ores’ investment strategy, in urban locations in Spain’s main cities, and with first-class operators as tenants and long-term and stable lease contracts”, said the company in a statement sent to the Alternative Investment Market (MAB).

Ores is a company whose main activity is the acquisition and management of commercial real estate assets, both in Spain and Portugal. The company was created in December 2016 by Bankinter and Sonae Sierra, made its stock market debut at the end of February 2017 and has been increasing its investments and assets ever since.

Original story: Eje Prime

Translation: Carmel Drake

CBRE: Investment in High Street Premises Will Exceed €1.1bn in 2018

5 July 2018 – Eje Prime

Commercial premises, especially those located on the most prime streets of Spain, are proving highly sought-after. According to CBRE, the high street investment market is going to achieve record figures in 2018, up to a total of €1.1 billion. The culprits? The German fund Deka and Inditex, in addition to the strength of secondary cities in the country.

During the course of the last two years, investment in high street assets remained stable at around €800 million per year, after peaking at €1.01 billion in 2015. In 2018, according to calculations from the real estate consultancy CBRE, the investment volume will exceed the €1 billion threshold again, primarily due to the impact of the sale to Deka of a batch of 16 Zara stores for €400 million and the boost from activity beyond Madrid and Barcelona.

Deka has whereby become a catalyst for the retail investment market in Spain, together with Generali and Union Investment, which also starred in major investment operations during the first few months of 2018.

Deka’s €400 million operation was the largest in the last year and a half, followed by the purchase by Hines of number 17 Paseo de Gracia for €113 million and the acquisition by Generali of number 9 Preciados for €107 million.

Institutional investors are the main drivers of the investment market in this segment, according to the Retail keys in Spain report in CBRE. “In recent years, several overseas institutional investors have entered the Spanish market and many have been active in 2017 and 2018”, according to the document, which points out that Socimis such as Tander, Ores and Silicius have also been interested in the sector.

Madrid and Barcelona are continuing to be the main magnets for high street investment in Spain and, together, they account for 79% of the total expenditure. “Nevertheless, other cities in Spain are booming and demand is rising for investment products in cities such as Bilbao, Valencia, Sevilla and Málaga”, says the document.

The displacement of demand to other cities is a consequence of product shortages and low returns. On the one hand, according to CBRE, operators have accentuated their preferences for prime streets, which has strengthened the shortage of products. “Premises with recently signed contracts are sparking a lot of interest, given that if they reflect market rents, they become a very stable long-term investment”, says the document.

On the other hand, the pressure on returns remains strong and in 2017, they were compressed further still, reaching levels of 3.25% in Madrid and 3.50% in Barcelona for the most prime products. The “historically low” values are repeated in other European cities, with 3.25% in Berlin, 3% in Milan, 2.75% in Paris and 2.25% in Munich.

As a result of those two elements, investor interest is extending to other cities in Spain, although the operations closed tend to be of greater importance, “given that the premises and the rents are lower and the returns are higher”.

With investment of €170 million outside of Barcelona and Madrid in 2017, several purchases stand out such as M&G’s acquisition of the H&M store on Reyes Católicos in Granada as well as of the El Corte Inglés building in Plaza la Magdalena in Sevilla.

Valencia and Bilbao are the markets that, typically, generate the most interest from investors due to the size of the two cities, the importance of their high streets and the role of tourism. The tradition of investment in the segment by local family offices means that returns there are compressed to 4%.

Retail and shopping centres

High street premises accounted for 25% of the total investment in retail in 2017, well behind shopping centres, which accounted for 51% of the total, but ahead of retail parks (15%) and portfolios of supermarkets and hypermarkets (9%) (…).

In Spain in 2017, investment in the Spanish retail market amounted to €3.3 billion. CBRE forecasts that the figure will amount to €2.9 billion in 2018, boosted by high street investment (…).

Original story: Eje Prime (by P. Riaño)

Translation: Carmel Drake

ICG Makes €105M Investment in Eroski Spanish Hypermarkets

31 May 2018 – Property Magazine

Intermediate Capital Group (ICG) will invest €105 million in six Spanish hypermarkets. ICG has partnered with Inmobiliaria Armuco S.L., a real estate company 45% owned by Eroski, a food retailer in Northern Spain, to acquire five of its hypermarkets and one more completely owned by Eroski in a primary sale and leaseback transaction underpinned by 21-year, CPI-linked, triple-net leases.

The assets are located in the Basque region of Spain and each rank in the top quartile in terms of Eroski’s trading performance. According to Savills, Spain has enjoyed a return to growth in excess of 3% for the last three consecutive years and is predicted to outperform the Eurozone, in terms of GDP, for the next three years.

Chris Nichols, Managing Director of ICG Sale and Leaseback, commented: “We are pleased to have partnered with Eroski on this transaction and to have acquired six assets in strategic priority locations for Eroski. We have a pipeline of deals, and are actively looking for further opportunities in this space, both in Spain and across the wider European market”.

ICG was advised by Savills and Eversheds.

Original story: Property Magazine

Edited by: Carmel Drake

ASG Purchases 19 Gas Stations in Northern Spain from Axa

6 February 2018 – Eje Prime

Activum SG is backing alternative investments. The company, which operates in Spain under the name ASG, has acquired 19 gas stations in the north of Spain, which had been owned until now by Axa Real Estate.

The assets are located in areas adjacent to large shopping centres and hypermarkets and are linked to long-term lease contracts with Eroski and Carrefour. The purchase has been carried out through Fund V, which ASG has just closed and which forms part of its diversification strategy, according to El Confidencial.

In 2011, Axa Real Estate acquired a portfolio of 28 gas stations from Eroski for €55 million. Following that operation, the supermarket group continued its gas station activity on the basis of a 20-year rental regime.

ActivumSG is expanding rapidly in Spain. At the beginning of the year, the company announced the creation of a new €500 million fund for real estate investments across Europe, as Eje Prime revealed. Of those, three are located in the Spanish market.

Original story: Eje Prime

Translation: Carmel Drake

MDSR Buys A Portfolio Of Hypermarkets For €150M

21 September 2017 – Expansión

The fund MDSR Investments has completed another purchase in Spain. The firm has acquired a portfolio of hypermarkets leased to Carrefour and Eroski, which were owned until now by Tristan Capital. The operation, which has been closed for a value of approximately €150 million, represents the largest transaction in Spain involving hypermarkets and shopping arcades so far this year.

The portfolio has a gross leasable area of 86,836 m2. Located in Segovia, Jaca, Fuengirola, San Javier, Tomelloso, San Sebastián and Ribadeo, the first four operate buildings under the Carrefour brand. Moreover, the operation also includes shopping arcades in Segovia, Jaca and Tomelloso.

This is the seventh operation to be undertaken by the firm, which is managed by an Israeli group and financed by US investors, since it arrived in Spain a year and a half ago. Moreover, it is the firm’s second transaction in recent months, given that, in March, it acquired a portfolio of five Eroski hypermarkets, owned until then by Joparny, for around €30 million.

In October 2016, MDSR Investments acquired the Travesía de Vigo shopping centre for €49 million.

In this operation, MDSR has been advised by Savills on the real estate side and Dentons for legal aspects; whilst Linklaters has advised the seller on the legal side.

Original story: Expansión (by Rocío Ruiz)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Carmila Secured 91 New Tenants During H1 2017

29 August 2017 – Expansión

Carmila, Carrefour’s real estate subsidiary, has closed the first half of the year having signed 213 commercial operations in Spain, according to a statement issued by the company.

Specifically, the company led by Sebastián Palacios signed 91 new rental operations during H1, corresponding to an increase in the gross leasable area of more than 10,000 m2.

In addition, Carmila signed 122 rental contract renewals with operators that decided to continue their agreements with the company, covering another approximately 10,000 m2 in terms of surface area.

By retail sector, the largest volume of space secured was recorded in the restaurant segment, with 13 new contracts. Specifically, brands such as Burger King, Gino’s, Lizarrán and La Tagliatella signed up to join Carmila’s centres.

That segment was followed by the fashion sector, with the signing of new contracts with brands such as Zara, Bershka and Free Base.

For the second half of the year, Carmila forecasts “very favourable” results, not only in terms of new contracts but also renewals.

In this sense, during the second half of the year, the company will launch the renewal of the rental contracts for eight shopping centres, including the Los Patios Shopping Centre in Málaga.

Carmila was constituted in April 2014 by Carrefour, which controls 42% of its capital, with the aim of obtaining value from the shopping centres located next to its hypermarkets. The other shares in the company are held by large institutional investors.

According to the latest published data, Carmila owns 70 assets in Spain worth €1,100 million.

Original story: Expansión (by R. Arroyo)

Translation: Carmel Drake

The 4 Largest Socimis Will Specialise By Asset Type

31 January 2017 – Cinco Días

Hotels, logistics assets, offices, shopping centres. The four largest Socimis – Merlin, Hispania, Lar España and Axiare – are entering their third year of life, and as they do so, they are embarking upon a new phase of specialisation by type of asset – the aim is to make their management more effective and ensure that they remain attractive to large international funds. (…). 

Between them, Merlin, Hispania, Axiare and Lar España now own assets worth almost €14,000 million – they have created small empires out of nothing.

Hispania looks set to become one of the major stars of 2017 with a series of operations planned to strengthen its already high degree of specialisation in hotels. The Socimi, in which the magnate George Soros owns a 16% stake, has a portfolio worth €1,793 million (including its most recent purchases at their acquisition prices). 61% of the portfolio value relates to hotels and most are located in the Canary Islands (70%) and the Balearic Islands (16%).

The experts forecast that this company, managed by Azora and led by Concha Osácar, will put the majority of its offices and residential assets on the market, and at the same time, will continue to buy up hotels. (…). 

Meanwhile, Merlin has taken steps to divest its residential and hotel assets, transferring them to Testa and Foncière des Murs, respectively, and is continuing to expand its core portfolio with its recent purchase of the Torre Agbar office block in Barcelona for €142 million. The Socimi’s portfolio currently comprises offices (48%), shopping centres (18%) – Merlin is now one of the major players in this segment – retail premises (22%) and logistics assets (5%). Experts consider that the latter have enormous potential to generate higher returns for this Socimi.

Axiare, led by Luis López Herrera-Oria, has already focused heavily on offices, which account for 73% of its €1,300 million portfolio. It has enhanced its presence significantly in recent weeks through its acquisitions of the headquarters of PSA, Cuatrecasas, McKinsey and Vocento for €242 million in total.

The Socimi’s high decree of specialisation in offices has led Colonial to take advantage of the fund Perry Capital’s departure from its share capital to acquire 15% of the Socimi. Some in the sector view this move as a precursor to a possible takeover bid, but the Catalan real estate company has denied the claim repeatedly. (…). 

Finally, Lar, led by José Luis del Valle and Miguel Pereda, has managed to specialise mainly in shopping centres, which now account for 75% of its €1,201 million portfolio. With shareholders that include Pimco and Franklin Templeton, the company owns 17 assets including shopping centres, retail parks and hypermarkets.

In just three years, Lar España has risen up the ranks to become the third largest owner of shopping centres in Spain, behind Unibail and Merlin. (…).

Original story: Cinco Días (by Alfonso Simón Ruiz)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Carmila Signed 437 Lease Operations In 2016

26 January 2017 – Cuatro

Carmila, the real estate subsidiary owned by Carrefour, has completed its third year of activity in Spain, during which time it has signed 437 commercial lease operations, according to a statement made by the company.

Specifically, the company led by Sebastián Palaciones signed 206 new operations corresponding to a gross leasable area (GLA) of 20,662 m2, and also secured the continuation of 231 strategic clients with contract renovations covering a total surface area of 22,655 m2.

Similarly, the firm, which has more than 1,100 specialty leasing contracts in its portfolio, confirmed the company’s commitment to this retail format, which includes the opening of stands, promotional events for leading brands and the innovative concept of pop-up stores, amongst other activities.

The most active regions in terms of rental space leased in 2016 were Andalucía, accounting for 27% of the operations signed, followed by the Community of Valencia (17%), Madrid (14%), Galicia (7%) and Castilla La Mancha (6%).

By retail sector, the largest share of surface area was leased to restaurants, with 45 new contracts, followed by fashion stores, with 25 contracts, whilst telephone companies were ranked in third place, with 20 contracts.

Carmila was constituted in April 2014 by Carrefour, which controls 42% of its capital, with the aim of generating value from the shopping centres located next to its hypermarkets. The other shares in the firm are owned by major institutional investors.

In Spain, the company owns 70 shopping centres, spread across 32 provinces in high-end strategic locations. Its assets are worth more than €1,000 million and the company also manages almost 2,500 stores and medium-sized outlets.

Original story: Cuatro

Translation: Carmel Drake