Barceló Offers €2.48bn For NH & Sets 3-Month Negotiation Period

21 November 2017 – Expansión

To create a hotel colossus with more than 600 hotels and 109,000 rooms in Europe, Latin America and the USA, and one of the largest tourism companies in Spain. With this objective in mind, the Barceló group has initiated contact with the NH Hotel Group to propose one of the largest hotel mega-operations in recent years in Spain.

Barceló is offering a swap equation that involves valuing each NH share at €7.08. In other words, it is willing to pay €2.48 billion for the company in total. That valuation represents a premium of 27% over the group’s average share price during the three months leading up to 30 October, of €5.56. Moreover, that premium rises to 41% if we consider the company’s closing price last Friday of €5.

Yesterday at 12:30, Spain’s National Securities and Exchanges Commission (CNMV) lifted the suspension on trading that had been weighing down on NH’s shares, but the avalanche of purchase orders meant that it took another 45 minutes for the shares to actually start trading again. By the close of business, NH’s list price had soared by 11.8%, to €5.59. In this way, its market capitalisation rose from €1,751 million on Friday to exceed €1,950 million. So far this year, the hotel company has seen its share price rise by more than 46%, however, it is still well below the €14.70 per share that it reached in 2007, at the height of its stock market boom.

Barceló submitted to the CNMV a letter sent by Simón Pedro Barceló, Co-President of Group Barceló, to the Chairman of the Board of Directors of NH, Alfredo Fernández Agras, in which he proposes considering the merger of the two companies. According to the initial proposal, the Mallorca-based firm would end up owning 60% of the merged group. Barceló explains that his interest in this merger stems from “the great strategic sense and the exceptional potential for the creation of value for the shareholders of both companies”.

The letter also opens the door for the merged group’s corporate headquarters to be located in Madrid and it proposes that the maximum governing body of the merged company, in which Grupo Barceló would hold a majority stake, would have sufficient members to ensure that the existing shareholders of NH are represented.

Barceló proposes a merger, in other words, “the integration of Grupo Barceló and NH through the delivery of new shares issued by NH to Grupo Barceló, keeping the company listed”. “Our intention is to integrate all of the assets and liabilities of Grupo Barceló, including our Hotel and Travel divisions, which we believe could contribute value to the combined group. Nevertheless, we are willing to consider different alternatives regarding the perimeter of the assets and liabilities in order to facilitate the success of the transaction”, said Barceló.

Three months to reach an agreement

The offer, which is non-binding and conditional upon a due diligence (detailed analysis) provides for a period of “up to 3 months for the completion of this work, to reach an agreement between the two parties and submit a transaction to our respective governing bodies for definitive approval”. In fact, Barceló said that he is willing to consider alternatives with respect to the perimeter of the operation to facilitate it.

If the proposal ends up going ahead, it would result in the creation of the largest Spanish hotel group, ahead of Meliá, which at the end of 2016, had 375 hotels and 96,369 rooms. It would become one of the largest players in the sector in Europe, behind only the British firm InterContintental and the French company Accor.

Barceló has engaged Santander as financial advisor for the operation and has not hired any legal advisor.

NH views the offer with suspicion

From the get-go, the offer has been viewed with suspicion by NH, which indicated to the CNMV that it had received “an unsolicited, preliminary and non-binding expression of interest” from Barceló for the merger of the two businesses.

According to this offer, Barceló would have “a majority on the administrative board”. Moreover, NH reminded the regulator that its Board of Directors recently approved a 3-year strategic plan “involving an independent project for significant growth, which is still valid today”.

NH’s largest shareholder is the Chinese giant HNA, which holds a 29.5% stake, but it is not represented on the Board of Directors following its expulsion last year due to a conflict of interest. After HNA is the British fund Oceanwood, with a 12% stake; and Hesperia, the chain chaired by José Antonio Castro, with a 9% stake.

Analysts think the merger makes “strategic sense” 

Analysts at Renta 4 and Bankinter agree with Barceló that the operation makes “strategic sense”.

Original story: Expansión (by Rebeca Arroyo and M. L. Verbo)

Translation: Carmel Drake

BBVA’s Turkish Partner Buys Hotel Villa Magna For €180M

6 March 2016 – Expansión

Another transaction has been closed in the five-star hotel sector in Madrid. Following the sales of the InterContinental and the Ritz, now Hotel Villa Magna is changing hands. Sodim, the Holding company owned by the Portuguese family Queiroz Pereira, has sold the hotel to the Turkish group Dogus, who will pay €180 million.

Sodim, which has been advised by JLL, has completed the operation that it launched at the beginning of 2015 and which it almost closed half way through last year with the Colombian investor Jaime Gilinksi as the buyer. In the end, the deal with Sabadell’s largest shareholder was suspended because of financing problems, which forced Sodim to make contact with other interested investors and delay the transaction close.

Price

The price agreed by Dogus is slightly lower than the amount agreed with Gilinski – €190 million – but it represents the minimum amount that Sodim set when it launched the process. The Portuguese Holding company paid the Japanese firm Shirayama €80 million for the property in 2001. Years later, Sodim closed the hotel, which is located on the Paseo de la Castellana, to modernise the facilities, involving expenditure of around €50 million. The construction work did not alter the building’s distinctive pink granite façade, but it did reduce the number of rooms down from 182 to 150, as well as increase the number of suites from 18 to 50. In 2009, when the hotel was reopened, Sodim decided to take over the management of the hotel, as it had already done with the Ritz in Lisbon, and it dispensed with Hyatt, which had operated the property for almost two decades.

Brand

Despite the change of ownership, the operating structure may be maintained, given that, according to market sources, the intention of Dogus is to operate the hotel by itself, without involving any international brands, which would somewhat ruin the intentions of Marriott and Starwood, who were negotiating with Gilinksi to take over the management of the hotel.

Dogus is a giant that comprises more than 250 companies and employs 50,000 people. It is BBVA’s partner in Garanti bank. The group, controlled by the Sahenk family, sold a 15% stake in Garanti to the bank led by Francisco González in July 2015 for €1,854 million, which increased BBVA’s shareholding to 39.9% and turned it into Garanti’s largest shareholder.

Founded in 1951, Dogus has interests in the financial, automobile, energy, real estate and tourism sectors, amongst others. The group, which is listed on the Istanbul stock exchange, imports and distributes vehicles from brands such as Volkswagen, Seat and Audi, amongst others. Around 74% of its revenues are generated by the automobile sector.

In 2014, Dogus recorded revenues of €3,231 million. Its tourism division comprises a travel agency and eight luxury hotels – five of which it owns. Some, such as the Park Hyatt and the Grand Hyatt in Instanbul are managed by an international brand. (…).

Original story: Expansión (by Y. Blanco)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Meridia Capital Considers Creating A Hotel Socimi

21 January 2016 – Expansión

The fourth investment fund that Meridia Capital is going to launch will specialise in the acquisition of urban hotels and may be a Listed Real Estate Investment Company (Socimi).

The founder and CEO of the fund manager headquartered in Barcelona, Javier Faus, said at a forum organised by Exceltur in advance of Fitur that “there is capacity in Spain to have three or four Socimis specialising in the hotel sector”. “And not only in the holiday segment”, said Faus, referring to the only pure hotel Socimi in operation in Spain at the moment, namely, Bay, which was created last year as the result of an alliance between Barceló and Hispania. Faus acknowledged that Meridia is currently analysing whether its fourth fund “could be a hotel Socimi”.

“The final decision still needs to be taken, and although that will not happen for a few months, it will be taken in 2016”, he said. The CEO of Meridia also said that the new vehicle will specialise in urban hotels, although the firm still needs to decide whether it will lease or manage these properties and whether or not it will build up a multi-brand portfolio, containing hotels from various chains. Faus added that he has not yet started talks with any hotel group.

Nevertheless, he is very clear about the location of the assets: Madrid and Barcelona, “although the fund may allocate between 15% and 20% of its resources to investment in other countries”, he added.

Investors

The strong interest in Spain from the international markets is helping the Spanish Socimis, which are consequently not facing much difficulty when it comes to raising capital. The urban hotel segment continues to be one of the most attractive, given the strong performance of the tourist sector in Barcelona and the significant recovery that the business sector is experiencing in Madrid.

In fact, experts in the real estate sector say that the biggest problem at the moment is finding assets available for sale, although in the hotel sector the willingness of the large hotel chains to sell buildings and continue leasing and managing them (sale & leaseback) may represent an opportunity for the Socimis, which for the most part, are looking for assets that they can lease.

This would be Meridia’s fourth fund and it may be created almost in parallel to the third, which is currently being established and which is focusing on investment in real estate assets in general. Faus expects that the third fund will raise capital amounting to €250 million, mainly from institutional funds in the US and Europe, but also from insurance companies. Together with bank financing, he expects that it will invest around €600 million.

The previous fund, Meridia II, invested €400 million between 2014 and 2015, of which €150 million came from investors and the rest from bank financing. The first fund launched by Faus, in 2007, was devoted entirely to the hotel sector, and as such the Socimi that he is considering creating now would not be new territory for him. That first fund acquired hotels outside of Spain, operated by a variety of hotel brands. They included the Hotel Ritz-Carlton and the Crowne Plaza in Santiago de Chile, the Four Seasons in México DF, the InterContinental in Sao Paulo and the Hotel W París Ópera, as well as a stake in three resorts in Thailand operated by Six Senses (…).

Original story: Expansión (by Y. Blanco and M. Anglés)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Investors Spend €12,000M On RE Assets In 15m To Mar 15

5 June 2015 – Expansión

International funds, private investors and other companies have purchased assets worth almost €12,000 million during the last 15 months. American investors favour large properties, whilst Asians players prefer hotels.

The purchases of almost €12,000 million…mean that the Spanish market has returned to its pre-crisis levels and illustrate the focus that investors from around the world have placed on our country. But, what is the profile of these buyers? And which assets do they prefer?

According to data from the last 15 months, office buildings and shopping centres have been the star investments. Nevertheless, rather than making direct purchases, investors, both Spanish and overseas, have chosen to participate in the market through the new listed companies for real estate investment (Socimis).

For their stock market debuts, the four large Spanish Socimis – Merlin Properties, Hispania Real, Axiare and Lar España – raised funds amounting to more than €2,550 million; and this year they have undertaken capital increases to raise another €1,300 million…Hispania raised €550 million for the IPO of its Socimi subsidiary, from large international investors such as the US magnates George Soros and John Paulson. Just a few weeks ago, it raised a further €337 million from investors with a similar profile. Meanwhile, the real estate company GMP secured €300 million from the Singapore fund GIC.

Offices

The four Socimis have created portfolios worth around €4,000 million. These companies, headquartered in Spain, have been the major investors. Thus, 64% of the €2,727 million invested in offices was disbursed by Spanish investors. “The main Spanish investors are Socimis, but they also include investment funds, private equity firms, wealth managers and family offices. The average price for this type of transaction is €29 million, compared with the large deals carried out by British investors (above all investment banks and private investment companies), which exceed €100 million”, explain sources at the consultancy JLL.

Spanish investors have also exceeded foreigners in terms of the purchase of retail premises; 78% compared with 22%, respectively. “During 2014 and Q1 2015, Spanish investors spent €738 million on retail premises. The average price of these transactions was €37 million and the typical buyers were retail operators (such as fashion brands), family offices and private investors”, say JLL.

Meanwhile, international buyers dominate the market for shopping centres and hotels. Of the €3,092 million invested in shopping centres between January 2014 and March 2015, 82% was foreign capital, thanks to the purchases made by US funds such as Tiaa Henderson and specialist companies, such as the French firm Klépierre.

Almost €2,500 million has been invested in hotels in the last 15 months and 55% of the capital invested was foreign. Furthermore, it was very diversified, with Chinese investors such as the Wanda Group and Qatari funds, such as Katara Hospitality buying hotels in Spain – the latter acquired the InterContinental Hotel in Madrid. (…)

In the residential segment, several US funds have chosen to buy land in Spain. The clearest case is Lone Star, which has become the largest developer of land in the country. (…)

Original story: Expansión (by R. Ruiz)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Hotel Villa Magna On The Market For €180M

2 June 2015 – Expansión

Madrid/ Sodim, the holding company owned by the Portuguese family Queiroz Pereira, is looking for a buyer for the five star hotel it acquired for €80 million in 2001.

Following the sales of the InterContinental and Ritz hotels to the Qatari sovereign fund and the alliance formed by Mandarin and the Saudi firm Olayan, respectively, it is the turn of Villa Magna. Sodim, the holding company owned by the Portuguese family Queiroz Pereira, has put the hotel, which it purchased from the Japanese company Shirayama in 2001 for €80 million, up for sale.

Sodim is asking €180 million for the five star property, located on Paseo de la Castellana. If it achieves its goal, it will become the largest operation to be signed in Madrid, ahead of the Ritz – €130 million – and the InterContinental – €70 million – but behind the €200 million paid by the Qatari Diar fund for Hotel Vela in Barcelona in 2013.

The operation, which is in its initial phases, may attract interest from foreign investors and international hotel groups wanting to improve their location or enter Madrid’s market, such as Hyatt, Hilton, Shangri-La, Kempinski and Jumeirah, amongst others.

Hyatt managed the Hotel Villa Magna for almost two decades until 2009, when following the complete renovation of the hotel, the owners decided to take over the management themselves. Sodim also owns the Hotel Ritz in Lisbon, which is operated by Four Seasons, which is itself finalising its entry into the Spanish market, at the Canalejas complex in Madrid, together with Juan Miguel Villar Mir.

Hyatt no longer has a presence in Spain after it exited the Villa Magna and La Manga (Murcia). Its name has also appeared on the list of candidates to take over the management of the Hotel Miguel Angel, whose future is still not clear. Its owner, the British investor of Iraqi origin Nadhmi Auchi, is operating the property following Occidental’s exit last year.

(…)

The Hotel Villa Magna underwent a major refurbishment several years ago. It closed its doors on 1 August 2007 and reopened again at the beginning of 2009…€50 million was invested in total…the result was a hotel with fewer, but more luxurious rooms. The property retained its distinctive pink granite façade and the number of rooms decreased from 182 to 150. In exchange, the number of suites increased from 18 to 50. It also expanded its gastronomic and leisure offer, with new restaurants and a spa. Since 2009, it has offered rooms measuring between 30m2 and 290m2 – the Royal Suite.

The average room rate at the Villa Magna starts from €310 per night for a standard room. The Royal Suite costs €16,000 per night.

(….) The luxury hotel sector has been hit by the crisis, although the Villa Magna has not suffered as much as some. In 2013, it generated turnover of €19.29 million, up 4.8%…and the net profit was €3.68 million, compared with losses of €14.89 million in the previous year.

Nevertheless, the hotel closed 2013 with negative equity of €33.8 million, due to financial charges and impairment losses. Its financial debt exceeded €70 million. Even though it has the backing of Sodim through equity loans, the auditor PwC warned of significant uncertainty in terms of the hotel’s capacity to continue as a going concern.

Original story: Expansión (by Yovanna Blanco)

Translation: Carmel Drake

‘Dear Hotel’ Overtakes Wanda In Plaza de España

2 March 2015 – Expansión

In Madrid’s Plaza de España, the hubbub of construction work is accompanying tourists as they journey into the commercial heart of the capital: Gran Vía. The Edificio España remains in tact (for the moment), as Wang Jianlin, the owner of Dalian Wanda, finalises the designs for his megaproject, which will include a hotel, shopping centre and homes.

The site that will house the future Hotel VP Plaza de España remains empty, but scaffolding is now up on the Torre Madrid, where Metrovacesa is refurbishing the building that will house a Barceló hotel – on one of the corners that Plaza de España shares with Gran Vía.

Plaza de España is also where the first of the hotels that is intended to revitalise the area will be opened. The area has been in decline since 2005, when Intercontinental closed its Hotel Crowne Plaza, which was located into the Edificio España building. Now, work is nearing completion on the Dear Hotel, a property that the Sebrango family acquired in 2012, after exercising a call option that Renta Corporación held over the building. The Sebrango family, which also owns the Hotel Chiqui (in Santander) have designed a four star hotel, with 162 rooms and it is scheduled to open on 15 May, on the day of San Isidro, one of the most important fiestas in the Spanish capital.

Roof terrace

The Dear Hotel project, which will have its entrance on Gran Vía, 80, has required an investment of €30 million – including the purchase of the building and the work required to refurbish it. Previously, the property housed homes and offices.

The hotel will have 12 floors and there will be a roof terrace and restaurant on the top floor, which its owners hope will become an iconic space for the hosting of special events in the capital. The style (of the property) will be elegant and modern, and in terms of prices, the average room will cost between €150 and €160 per night. The price of the suites will range between €250 and €300 per night and the hotel will create between 70 and 80 new jobs.

“It will be a four star hotel due to the individuality of the building, but the service and quality will be on a par with a luxury establishment”, explains its director, Francisco Sebrango. According to the owner’s forecasts, more than 60% of the hotel’s guests will be foreigners.

Since purchasing the building, the Sebrango family has received numerous offers to sell or transfer the operation of the hotel. Nevertheless, they have decided to pursue their original strategy and operate the hotel themselves. “We considered the option of a franchise agreement, but in the end we ruled that out. We want to create a unique hotel and we believe that it has the most value in our hands”.

Original story: Expansión (by Yovanna Blanco)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Hotel Villa Magna In Madrid Up For Sale

16 January 2015 – idealista news

The Spanish hotel sector is on the radar of investors. The combined effects of the growth in tourism, falling price of oil and weakness of the euro bodes well for the performance of the sector; and sellers do not want to miss out on the opportunity. In the luxury segment, not only are the Ritz and Miguel Angel Hotels in Madrid up for sale, so too is the Villa Magna. Its owner, the Portuguese businessman Pedro Queiroz Pereira has expressed interest in selling the property, although the bids received so far have fallen below expectations.

Although no official sales mandate has been issued yet, the Portuguese firm Queiroz Pereira is open to offers for the purchase of Villa Magna, located in the Salamanca neighbourhood of Madrid. According to market sources, the selling price is close to €130 million, a price that no investor has been willing to pay so far.

Financial sources say that the price is inflated and that the hotel is not worth more than €90 million. Idealista.news contacted the owner of the property who declined to comment.

The Portuguese holding company, which also owns the Ritz Hotel in Lisbon, purchased the Villa Magna in 2001 from a Japanese family, the Shirayamas. Six years later, in 2007, it decided to undertake a “facelift” of the hotel, which was closed for 14 months whilst renovation work was completed. Sodim, a subsidiary of the Queiroz Pereira Group (and owner of Semapa, the main industrial group in Portugal) invested around €150 million on the hotel acquisition and remodelling work.

(……)

Hotel Villa Magna currently has 150 rooms of between 30m2 and 290m2, as well as various conference rooms, meeting rooms and a garden for outdoor receptions and dinners. It also has a wellness club with a sauna and Turkish bath.

Hotels, an investor target

In 2014, investment in hotels amounted to €1,081 million, up 37% on the previous year, to reach levels similar to those recorded before the crisis. The following transactions were amongst those that took place in the 5 star segment: the Hotel Renaissance in Barcelona was sold by Marriott International to the Qatar Armed Forces for €78 million; the Hotel Intercontinental in Madrid was sold to the Katara Hospitality Fund for around €60 million; and the Hotel Meliá La Quinta in Marbella was also sold.

Last year was also significant because more transactions were recorded in the holiday hotel sector than in the urban sector. Transactions included the acquisition of the Guadalmina Hotel in Marbella (4 star) and the Meliá Jardines hotel in Teide, Tenerife (also 4 star) by Socimi Hispania.

The arrival of the Four Seasons chain, a boost for the sector

The arrival in Spain of the luxury hotel chain Four Seasons has increased the level of interest in the renovation of historic properties, such as the Miguel Angel and Ritz Hotels in Madrid, which are currently up for sale. This foreign chain expects to open its first property in the Plaza de Canalejas, Madrid in 2017. It will be the first Four Seasons hotel in Spain.

Original story: idealista.com (by @pmartinez-almeida and tânia ferreira)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Hotel Investment Exceeds €1,000m In 2014

16 January 2015 – Expansión

Record year for hotel investment in Spain.

In 2014, 50 hotels including 8,861 rooms were bought and sold, an increase of 80% or €838 million on the previous year. Furthermore, €243 million was spent on the acquisition of 10 buildings in Madrid and Barcelona with the aim of converting them into hotels, mostly five star accommodation. Overall, total hotel investment rose by 37%, to €1,080 million, which represents not only a return to pre-crisis levels, but also the third greatest year-on-year increase of the last two decades, according to an in-depth market study conducted by the consultancy firm, Irea.

The holiday segment accounted for 59% of all transactions (€491 million), with a focus on three and four star hotels, which together represented 62% of the total volume. “The five star category, which has traditionally formed the core segment, declined in importance”, said Miguel Vázquez yesterday, the partner at Irea responsible for the hotel sector. In this respect, 2014 was a year in which single asset sales played a small role, with the exception of the sale of the Intercontinental Hotel in Madrid to the Qatari firm, Katara Hospitality.

The Balearic Islands, Madrid and Barcelona were the preferred regions for investors, who mainly acquired individual assets. Similarly, there was a significant increase in distressed transactions, as a result of financial problems for sellers, which accounted for 32% of all deals.

2014 was also an important year for transactions involving portfolios of hotel debt. Debt amounting to €1,003 million relating to 93 hotels was transferred in transactions with Octopus, Meridia and Amazona. Irea predicts that these types of operations will continue in 2015 and that the hotel investment figures may exceed those recorded in 2014.

Original story: Expansión (by Y. Blanco)

Translation: Carmel Drake

The Intercontinental Hotel in Madrid looks for a new owner.

Tectonic movement in the Spanish hotel investment market. For the second time since the economic crisis started, the Intercontinental Hotel in Madrid, one of the most emblematic luxury establishments in the capital, looks for a new owner.

One and a half years after acquiring it as part of a lot of seven hotels managed by the U.S. group in different European capitals, Ghanim Bin Saad Al Saad has decided to put it on sale. According to sources within the market, this investor from Qatar has hired the consulting company Jones Lang LaSalle to look for potential interested parties.

The operation, which is still in a very early stage, could reach the 70 million Euros, which would mean a price per room of 240.000 Euros, according to sources within the industry. The Intercontinental Hotel in Madrid, with a five star rating, is located at Paseo de la Castellana and has 302 rooms (41 suites).

It was built as a mansion in the seventeenth century by the Marquis de Merito, and it was the first international establishment in Madrid. It was opened in 1953, the Castellana Hilton (its manager at the time) turned out to be the preferred one for the Hollywood stars such as Sofia Loren, Ava Gardner or Tony Curtis, among others.

In 1973, it started to be managed by InterContinental, the first hotel group in the world by size, which will continue to operate the asset even if it changes hands, as it has a long term managing agreement.

In 2011, the last available year, Hotelera EL Carmen (the company that operates the hotel) invoiced 21 million Euros, 7,73% less than the previous year. The operation results reached 673.167 Euros. The losses were reduced in about 63%, down to 619.006 Euros. The occupation level reached 66,3%, 4,6% below previous year, and the average income per room increased in 5,5 Euros, up to 183 Euros.

In 2011, the Intercontinental was acquired by the Lebanese investor Toufic Aboukhater, who paid 450 million Euros for a package of seven hotels, (the ones in Madrid, Rome and Cannes, among others).

A price significantly lower than the 634 million Euros that were paid by Morgan Stanley for the transfer of assets in 2006.

At the beginning of 2012, the group of hotels passed to the hands of Mayfair Investments, a company belonging to Ghanim Bin Saad Al Saad, former managing director of Barwa Real Estate, a real estate company whose 45% is controlled by the state of Qatar. He also managed – and is still a member of the board- Qatari Diar, another real estate subsidiary that has acquired the hotel W in Barcelona for 400 million Euros.

The sale of the famous “hotel Sail” is right now an oasis in the Spanish real estate market, where operations are scarce. In 2012, the worse year of the decade, the total investment volume was reduced by 50%, down to 419,4 million Euros.

Source: Expansion