Blackstone Sells an Office Portfolio to Zurich for €163.5M

31 January 2019 – Eje Prime

Blackstone is starting to divest the office portfolio that it acquired as a result of its purchase of Hispania. The US fund has sold the so-called Ilunion portfolio to the insurance company Zurich, according to explanations provided by the latter in a statement. The operation has amounted to €163.5 million.

The insurance company has completed the operation through its real estate subsidiary Rex Spain Zdhl. The portfolio includes five office buildings in Madrid leased to ONCE.

Before Blackstone’s takeover, Hispania was planning to divest its entire office portfolio for more than €500 million. The Socimi had made an agreement for the sale with Tristan Capital Partners, but the entry of the US fund into its share capital suspended that sale.

Original story: Eje Prime 

Translation: Carmel Drake

Fiatc Invests €86M in Nursing Homes for the Elderly

24 January 2019 – Expansión

Fiatc is redoubling its commitment to the nursing home business. The Catalan insurance mutual fund, which currently manages three of its own centres in the province of Barcelona, announced an ambitious investment plan yesterday, through which it plans to reach 1,236 residential places and 305 day centre places, as well as 56 serviced apartments, and a global workforce of 600 people within the next five to six years.

This represents significant growth, given that Fiatc’s existing three centres – located in Mollet del Vallès, Sant Cugat del Vallès and Cornellà de Llobregat – contain 460 beds, 105 day centre places and 32 serviced apartments, with a combined workforce of 247 people.

The company chaired by Joan Castells, undertakes this business through its former subsidiary Inverfiatc – which exited the stock market in 2016 – and operates under the Fiatc Residencias brand.

The insurance group calculates that its new projects for the elderly will require a global investment of €86.3 million between now and 2025 (…).

Original story: Expansión (by J.O.)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Caser Buys an Office Building in Central Madrid

14 December 2018 – Eje Prime

Caser has acquired a prime asset in Madrid. The Spanish insurance company has purchased a building on Calle Velázquez measuring 5,460 m2. The property, which is occupied in its entirety, is home to commercial premises and offices, according to a statement issued by the company.

The property is located at number 94 of the central street in the Spanish capital and its surface area is distributed over the semi-basement floor, the mezzanine floor and six upper floors. The amount of the operation has not been disclosed and the deal has been advised by the consultancy firm Savills Aguirre Newman.

The building, which dates back to 1920, is being incorporated into Caser’s real estate portfolio, which comprises assets located in Madrid as well as in other cities around the country. Of the properties in the Spanish capital, the firm’s headquarters in Las Tablas stand out, as do the assets distributed in strategic locations such as Calle Alcalá, Plaza de la Lealtad and Julián Camarillo, where Eurovision has just leased offices, as revealed today in Eje Prime.

Original story: Eje Prime 

Translation: Carmel Drake

Mapfre Accelerates its Divestments: 250 Properties Up For Sale

9 November 2018 – Economía Digital

Mapfre acknowledged in its annual report for 2017 that its real estate strategy “was focused on the divestment of non-strategic assets”. That strategy has intensified in 2018: the Spanish insurance company has started a major sales operation, involving more than 250 assets, which now have a “for sale” sign hanging over them. The divestment will materialise next year.

According to sources speaking to Economía Digital, Mapfre has engaged Solvia, the real estate firm still owned by Banco Sabadell – which is up for sale itself and which is expected to change hands before the end of the year – to exclusively market 256 real estate assets located across Spain, although they are particularly concentrated in Barcelona, Valencia and Madrid.

The most important assets in this portfolio are six plots in Madrid, Las Palmas and Mallorca, whose sale is expected before the end of this year. The other assets are essentially commercial premises that Mapfre owns as investment assets and leases to third parties. The divestment period will run until 31 December 2019.

The plots and offices that the insurance company wants to sell are located in around a dozen Spanish provinces. Approximately, half of them are situated in three autonomous regions: the Community of Valencia, Cataluña and Madrid, although the firm also has assets in Galicia, Andalucía, Aragón and Navarra.

When consulted by this newspaper, Mapfre and Solvia did not deny the operation but they did decline to comment. Sources at the insurance company have explained that the company is constantly rotating its real estate assets and searching for others of more value, although they have not explained whether the company is currently investing or not.

Mapfre’s real estate sales

The truth is that in 2016 and 2017, Mapfre completed some major real estate divestments, but it did not get rid of anything close to 250 assets in either year. Last year, it sold properties for €130 million, mainly corresponding to four large assets: a plot in Madrid for €5.5 million; a building also in Madrid for €72 million; and two plots in Palma de Mallorca for €22.5 million. With these sales, the company chaired by Antonio Huertas (pictured above) obtained capital gains of €65 million.

In 2016, the entity’s property sales were clearly impacted by the sale of a majority stake in Torre Mapfre in Barcelona. First, it tried to sell that property to an investor who wanted to convert it into a Four Seasons hotel, but after failing to obtain the necessary permits due to Ada Colau’s moratorium, it sold 66% to the Fundación Mapfre for €175.4 million and renovated it.

Mapfre’s real estate risk amounts to around €3 billion. Specifically, it closed 2017 with properties that had a market value of €2.945 billion, around €170 million lower than in 2016. More than €1.2 billion correspond to own-use properties, such as headquarters and offices, whilst almost €1.7 billion are investment assets, including the portfolio that the entity has put up for sale through Solvia (…).

Original story: Economia Digital (by Xavier Alegret)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Reale Seguros Reorganises its Properties to Obtain Higher Returns

15 October 2018 – Expansión

Reale Seguros is reorganising its real estate investments with the aim of achieving higher returns.

The insurance company, the Spanish subsidiary of the Italian firm Reale, has removed from its balance sheet properties with a combined market value of €67 million, which it has transferred to Igarsa, a real estate company belonging to the Reale group, under the formula of a capital increase.

The properties are not linked through provisions to the activity of Reale Seguros. The main asset is located on Vía Augusta in Barcelona and is occupied by Deutsche Bank as the tenant. The package also includes smaller offices, which Reale Seguros could divest.

The assets contributed by the insurance company to Igarsa will join those already owned by that company, with a market value of €80 million, says José Ramón López, Director General of Resources and Media at Reale Seguros. Its main assets are two properties located on Paseo de la Castellana and Paseo de Recoletos in Madrid, which are leased to Condé Nast, the editor of Vogue, and Garrigues, respectively.

The relocation of the real estate assets of Reale Seguros is the starting point for starting to apply an active management of these properties with purchases and sales depending on the opportunities in the market.

The divestments are expected to focus on the smaller offices and in terms of acquisitions, “we are looking at alternatives, although we do not have anything concrete on the table at the moment”, said López.

To move forward with this project, the insurance firm has signed an agreement with the real estate arm of the group in Italy, which has assets under management amounting to €1.5 billion and “which will help us to undertake an industrial management of our portfolio, with the possibility of selling assets to funds as well as looking for opportunities”, said the director of Reale Seguros.

Igarsa, which is headquartered in Madrid, is controlled (95%) by the Italian firm Mutua Reale, whilst the Spanish firm Reale Seguros owns the remaining 5% stake.

The properties linked to the commitments of Reale Seguros remain on the company’s balance sheet. They include its headquarters in Madrid, located on Calle Príncipe de Vergara, a building that was purchased from Sabadell.

Reale recorded premiums of €456 million during the first half of 2018, up by 2.5% compared to the same period in 2017.

Original story: Expansión (by E. del Pozo)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Catalana Occidente Finalises Purchase of Gaudí’s Torre Bellesguard for €30M

20 July 2018 – Idealista

Catalana Occidente is adding a new asset to its portfolio. The real estate investment arm of the insurance company Catalana Occidente is finalising the purchase of Torre Belleguard, constructed by Antoni Gaudí at the beginning of the 20th century, for €30 million. The Town Hall of Barcelona, the Generalitat and the Regional Council of Barcelona have declined to exercise their right of first refusal and preferential acquisition.

The Catalana Occidente Group, which is headquartered in Sant Cugat del Vallès, has expressed its interest and is willing to pay the owners €30.1 million, excluding taxes, such as the property transfer fee, which would increase the consideration to at least €33 million, according to El País.

The acquisition of this property (which has been classified as an Asset of National Cultural Interest since July 1969) is pending “a few finishing touches” and the intention is for the building “to continue to be open to the public because we are aware of its importance and great heritage value”, explain sources at the company.

Torre Bellesguard was threatened in 2008 when deteriorations caused by the passage of time forced its owners to undertake a comprehensive restoration project and invest €600,000 (a cost shared equally between the family, the Generalitat and the Town Hall).

The high cost of the renovation led the family owner of the property to open it to the public in 2013, organising guided tours inside the tower. It also opened its gardens for the celebration of cultural and social events.

Following this purchase, Catalana Occidente would increase its asset portfolio. The insurance group has invested up to €208 million in the purchase of properties in Spain over the last two years. In total, the company has acquired six offices buildings located in Madrid and Barcelona.

The largest purchase made by the company, which is itself controlled by the Serra family, was the acquisition last year of two properties (Luxa Silver and Luxa Gold) in the 22@ district of Barcelona for which it paid €90 million to the fund Stoneweg.

Moreover, at the end of 2016, the insurance company purchased the building at number 55 Paseo de la Castellana, in Madrid, for which it disbursed €60 million. The asset, which was sold by Standard Life with a 100% occupancy rate, has a surface area of 5,625 m2.

The €27 million that it paid for a second property in the Spanish capital, located in the Montecarmelo area (…) completes the number of acquisitions made by the group’s parent company since 2016.

With these investments, Catalana Occidente’s real estate portfolio in Spain amounted to €1.265 billion at the end of the first quarter of 2018. This line of business generates gains of €476.6 million for the group, in which the real estate component of the investment portfolio (€12.2 billion) amounts to 11.3%.

Original story: Idealista

Translation: Carmel Drake

Fiatc to Invest up to €18M in a New Nursing Home in Tarragona

7 June 2018 – Eje Prime

Fiatc is attacking the residential sector. The insurance company, led by Joan Castells, now owns land in Tarragona for the development of a project in the ‘services for the elderly’ sector. The group’s intention is to construct a 160-bed nursing home, with an investment that will range between €14 million and €18 million.

The plots acquired by the mutual are located next to the Reus motorway, opposite a shopping centre, in an area that also houses sports facilities for the upcoming Mediterranean Games. The complex will have a constructed surface area of 12,000 m2, including 4,000 m2 of space underground.

Through its subsidiary Inverfiatc, the insurance group owns three nursing homes for the elderly, which it operates directly. Those nursing homes are located in Cornellà de Llobregat, Sant Cugat del Vallès and Mollet del Vallès and contain more than 450 beds.

Castells says that Inverfiatc is on the lookout for sites for new nursing homes and that in its analysis, it takes into account factors such as the existence of demand for beds in the area and the price of land, according to Expansión.

The urbanisation work will begin once the Mediterranean Games are over (the event is due to finish on 1 July) and the facilities could be fully constructed by the end of next year. Fiatc recorded turnover from insurance premiums of €577.19 million in 2017, up by 7% compared to 2016.

Original story: Eje Prime

Translation: Carmel Drake

MGS Acquires 6,700m2 of Buildable Land in Sant Cugat del Vallés (Barcelona)

 8 May 2018 – Eje Prime

MGS has secured a plot of land in a prime area of Barcelona. The insurance company has purchased a plot with a buildable surface area of 6,700 m2 in Sant Cugat del Vallés. The acquisition of this asset (…) forms part of the company’s real estate investment plan.

The company, which specialises in the supply of insurance products, has been increasing its activity in the real estate sector in recent months, where it is undertaking purchases to increase its portfolio. This operation has been advised by BNP Paribas.

The National Director of the Land Department at the consultancy firm, Araceli Burgos, highlighted that this operation, involving land that may be used for alternative investments, “shows that this market is reaching the same level of maturity that has already been achieved in the rest of Europe”.

Original story: Eje Prime 

Translation: Carmel Drake

Mapfre Divested Non-Strategic Assets Worth €130M in 2017

7 May 2018 – Eje Prime

The insurance company Mapfre is still interested in the Spanish real estate sector, but it is divesting certain assets that it considers to be non-strategic in the country. The company sold properties worth €130 million in the Spanish market last year, according to information presented in the group’s annual report for 2017. The most high profile sales were carried out in Madrid and included the Luchana building, amongst others.

During the year, divestments amounting to around €130 million were carried out in Spain and Portugal. Highlights include the sale of a plot of land in Valdemarín (Madrid) for €5.5 million and two plots in Palma de Mallorca for €22.5 million, plus a series of other smaller assets for €24.5 million in total.

One of Mapfre’s main divestment operations last year was the sale of the Luchana building to GMP for €72 million. It is an exempt asset, dating back to the beginning of the 1980s, located just six minutes from Paseo de la Castellana by foot.

GMP is currently renovating that property, which spans a gross leasable area of 14,424 m2, spread over eleven above ground floors in total, ten office floors and one commercial-use floor at street level. Its main tenant is Mapfre, which houses the headquarters of its General Regional Management team for Madrid and Verti in this building.

In total, all of the operations signed in the Iberian Peninsula generated gains of more than €65 million for Mapfre, according to the annual report.

Investment in its asset stock in Spain 

But Mapfre has not only been selling assets in Spain, it has also been feeding its portfolio by investing in the renovation of its properties. The insurance group has undertaken improvement work on its portfolio in Madrid, where it has finished work on an asset it owns on Calle Sor Ángela de la Cruz amounting to €8 million, where the General Regional team for Madrid is located; and work on Plaza de la Independencia amounting to €7.39 million. That building has already been leased out for the most part (70% of the leasable surface area).

In addition, Mapfre has started refurbishment work on the facilities of its property on Calle Mateo Inurria, a building that has been leased in its entirety to the Ministry of Finance for a rental cost of €5.04 million per year. Improvement work on its offices on Calle General Perón is still underway with an investment of €5.81 million in 2017. Work is also still underway on the tower in Barcelona amounting to €22 million in 2017, which is expected to be completed during the first half of 2018.

At the end of 2017, the market value of Mapfre’s real estate investments in Spain amounted to €2.945 billion, “with latent capital gains of more than €750 million”, explains the group. Of the total, approximately 58% corresponds to properties for own use, and the remaining 42% relates to properties that are rented out to third parties or are on the market for sale. The occupancy ratio of the rental properties amounts to 83%, considering that at the moment, more than 7,500 m2 of its space is being renovated for repositioning on the market from 2018 onwards.

Commitment to Europe 

In March, the insurance group announced its partnership with GLL to launch a fund to invest up to €300 million in the purchase of prime offices in Europe over a two to three year period.

The new vehicle launched by Mapfre and GLL aims to enter large capitals cities across the continent (Germany, France, Italy, the Netherlands and Belgium) with the aim of achieving returns of between 4% and 6% per year and diversifying its portfolio against other types of financial assets (…).

Original story: Eje Prime

Translation: Carmel Drake

Mapfre Sold Non-Strategic Properties for €130M in 2017

1 March 2018 – Expansión

In 2017, Mapfre focused the management of its properties on the sale of non-strategic assets for a total of €130 million, of which €124.5 million corresponded to assets located mainly in Spain. That activity generated a profit of €65 million for the insurance company.

The entity sold the building it had occupied on the Madrilenian street Calle Luchana (pictured above) for €72 million, plus two plots of land in Palma de Mallorca for €22.5 million and other smaller assets for €30 million in total.

At the end of 2017, the market value of Mapfre’s real estate investments amounted to €2.9 billion, with latent gains of €750 million. That figure would offset a decrease in the price of its properties amounting to approximately 26.28% of the market value of the portfolio.

Of that total, €1.0 billion relates to properties that the insurance company uses in its normal activity, whilst the remainder, €1.3 billion comprise group investments.

Mapfre’s real estate portfolio accounts for 4.4% of the insurance company’s total investments, which amount to €49.6 billion.

Its government-backed fixed-income securities account for most of its portfolio (55%) at €27.4 billion, although they have reduced their weighting by 2.3 percentage points, given that previously they accounted for 57.3%. Corporate fixed-income securities accounted for 19% of the total, at €9.6 billion, compared to 20.2% a year earlier.

Insurance companies are natural investors in these types of assets, but in light of the decrease in interest rates, most entities are reducing the weight of their investments in those portfolios and increasing their presence in others that may offer higher returns, although also higher risk.

Equities are the caption that is growing the most within Mapfre’s portfolio, up by 44.2% in one year to reach €2.4 billion. Their weight amounted to 4.8% at the end of 2017, compared with 3.4% a year earlier.

Spanish fixed-income assets, both public and corporate, amounted to €18.2 billion at the end of last year, almost half the total amount, which reached €37.0 billion. The United States of America, with €3.7 billion and Brazil, with €3.4 billion, were placed in second and third position in that ranking.

Original story: Expansión (by E. del Pozo)

Translation: Carmel Drake