Warren Buffett Wants to Buy Torre Agbar for €150M

6 February 2019 – Expansión

The multi-millionaire investor Warren Buffet wants to buy the iconic Torre Agbar in Barcelona for around €150 million through his investment vehicle, Berkshire Hathaway, which the US magnate uses to deploy his asset purchase policy around the world. The information was revealed by Efe and confirmed by Berkshire Hathaway itself, which has announced several real estate investments in Spain in recent days, but without specifying any details.

The plan has been decided “directly” by Warren Buffett, one of the richest men in the world, in collaboration with Alessandro Proto, the senior executive at Proto Group, the company associated with Buffett in Barcelona.

The purchase proposal for one of the real estate icons of the Catalan capital, which currently belongs to the Socimi Merlin, and which was renamed Torre Glòries a few months ago, will be formalised before a notary within the next few days.

A few days ago, Berkshire Hathaway reported that it is going to invest €35 million in Spain to open 150 real estate agencies during the course of this year with Proto Group (…).

Berkshire Hathaway, which has more than 1,300 offices in 47 states around the USA and which employs 43,000 agents in the real estate sector, started its international expansion two years ago, primarily in Latin America and Europe, focusing on medium, medium-high and high-level residential properties (…).

Torre Glòries comprises offices and has an occupancy rate of 75%, with several technological tenants, including Facebook and Oracle. The tower spans 37,614 m2.

Original story: Expansión

Translation: Carmel Drake

Losantos Invests €50M to Become the King of the Last Mile

12 November 2018 – Expansión

The real estate group, Allegra, chaired by Mario Losantos, has acquired several plots in recent months on the outskirts of Madrid to develop projects relating to the logistics sector and to increase its commitment to e-commerce in Spain. These operations will allow it to have a very active role in the business known as “the last mile”, the critical part of the distribution of products purchased online, which involves transporting them from the final warehouse to customers’ homes.

Before the summer, the group acquired a logistics park in the town of Villaverde, to the south of Madrid, which was leased to the group On Time Logistics last week. The plot, measuring 30,000 m2, contains a warehouse measuring 17,000 m2 and a cross-docking platform measuring 8,000 m2.

Moreover, the group has closed the purchase of two plots of land in the north of Madrid, very close to the facilities of Amazon, the largest online operator in the world. Both plots have a buildability of 40,000 m2 and have involved an investment of €30 million.

The three operations undertaken in Madrid will take the total investment figure to more than €50 million, once all of the platforms have been constructed. The Spanish group started to invest in logistics centres a while ago in the USA and the UK. In recent weeks, the group has purchased a new platform measuring 89,000 m2 in Hampton (Virginia) to continue with its international expansion. That park is leased to the urgent parcel operator Fedex. Sources close to the group indicate that over the coming weeks, the firm may acquire another platform in Chicago, which is also operated by Fedex.

In the United Kingdom, Allegra has recently purchased two platforms in the cities of Telford and Durham, bringing its investment in the British logistics sector in recent years to €30 million.

The Spanish company, whose portfolio of real estate assets amounts to around €1 billion, has invested €250 million in the logistics sector. The group also owns commercial premises and residential buildings in the United States, Australia, New Zealand and Portugal, amongst other countries.

Original story: Expansión (by Amparo Polo)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Lopesan Sells 3 Hotels In Canary Islands To HI Partners For €104M

2 June 2017 – Preferente

Lopesan is experiencing one of its most intense moments in its history and proof of that are the recent business operations that the company has undertaken. Specifically, it has purchased a package of more than 12 million shares in the construction company Sacyr (in a surprise move, Lopesan purchased 2.4% of Sacyr for €30 million); in addition, it has sold three of its hotels to the investor group HI Partners for more than €104 million, according to market sources.

The company has sold the following three hotel establishments, although it will continue to manage them: IFA Beach de San Agustín, the IFA Dunamar and the IFA Continental in Playa del Inglés, in Gran Canaria. This sale has already been reported to the German stock exchange.

Although the dates overlap, according to sources close to the Group’s President, the sales operation is not related to the purchase of Sacyr’s shares; “the Group owns lots of hotels that were constructed in the 1970s that need renovating, which means that it will invest the majority of this new capital in refurbishment projects”.

Another major project in which Lopesan is involved is the construction of a tourist complex with more than 1,000 rooms in the Dominican Republic. Specifically, it is working with its German subsidiary, IFA – in which it holds a majority stake – on this project, which forms part of its international expansion strategy and which will be incorporated into its portfolio.

Original story: Preferente

Translation: Carmel Drake

Allianz Real Estate Opens Branch In Spain

22 September 2016 – El Economista

The real estate arm of Allianz has arrived in Spain, attracted by the investment opportunities on offer here. Allianz Real Estate has just opened a branch in Madrid to track its operations in the Iberian Peninsula and take responsibility for the management of the properties owned by the group.

To lead the project, the firm has hired Miguel Torres, ex-Arthur Andersen, who has been linked with GE Capital Real Estate since 1995, according to the Commercial Registry. “After the recovery of the real estate markets, Spain and Portgual are once again in the focus of international real estate investors”, explained the CEO of Allianz Real Estate, François Traush, who highlighted that the incorporation of Torres into the team aimed “to identify attractive investment opportunities to allow us to continue constructing a diversified portfolio”, for our shareholders.

With more than 20 years of experience in the real estate and structured financing sectors, Torres joins the company from GE Capital in Mexico, where he served as Director General, leading a team of 50 specialists and an unit with almost €3,500 million in real estate financing. Prior to that, he held various management positions at GE entities in Madrid, New York and Stamford.

Allianz Real Estate’s portfolio contains €41,700 million in assets under management: €29,300 million in direct and indirect investments, plus loans amounting to €12,400 million, based on figures at 2015 year end, when it closed operations amounting to €7,400 million. Its goal is to reach the €60,000 million threshold “within the next few years”.

The company, which has subsidiaries in Germany, France, Italy – into which the operations in Spain will report -, Switzerland and the USA, includes the office in Madrid as part of its regional expansion.

Its investment aspirations cover almost the entire sector: from taking stakes in debt, to investing in listed companies, direct and indirect positions in financing and building a significant property portfolio.

It debuted as a lender in Spain a year and a half ago, with a loan for €133 million that allowed the Socimi Merlin to acquire the Marineda Shopping Centre, which, at the time, was the largest investment in this type of complex since 2008.

The strategic logic is two-fold. The low interest rate environment is causing insurance companies to dust off old commitments to property in light of the meagre returns being offered by public debt and the high capital consumption involved with other investments. Companies such as Mapfre, Mutua Madrileña, Santalucía, Reale and Línea Directa have acquired properties recently and are looking for opportunities, although their involvement as financiers is residual or non-existent, unlike the role performed by multi-national firms such as Axa and Allianz.

The sector hopes that Brussels will smooth the path, easing the burden of callable capital, given that the Juncker Plan itself wants to involve infrastructure projects that Europe needs.

In addition, the real estate sector is presenting itself as an alternative that offers higher returns, especially given the security of their operations. The high expectations of growth in terms of office rents and a notable increase in the number of small operations, is converting this segment of the market into one of the most attractive options. In the case of the most cutting-edge buildings and those located in prime areas, rents may increase by up to 22% over the next three years. For the other more modest assets, the annual yield amounts to around 7%. Similarly, yields of commercial premises amount to around 7.5%,and rents are expected to increase by an average of 2.4% p.a. in Madrid over the next two years.

Original story: El Economista (by Eva Contrerar and Alba Brualla)

Translation: Carmel Drake

French Chain B&B Opens 4 Hotels In Spain

8 July 2016 – Expansión

The French hotel chain B&B, one of the largest in Europe with a network of 321 establishments and annual revenues of €344 million, has started to expand its business into Spain. A few months ago, it opened its first four hotels here, all of which used to be owned by the Holiday Inn, in Valencia, Madrid, Alicante and Gerona, for a total investment of €14 million. It plans to open at least four hotels a year between now and 2020, with an average investment of around €5 million per property, which represents a total investment of approximately €80 million over the period.

The next hotel opening will be in Vigo, planned for December. B&B, which was acquired by PAI Partners in December, is establishing itself under two systems: the construction of buildings and the acquisition of existing hotels. The four Spanish hotels, which used to house Holiday Inns, were acquired and then transferred to the firm Foncier des Murs, owned by the Crédit Agricole group, which is the company’s financial partner for these types of investments and which itself owns 250 hotels that B&B operates.

The hotel in Vigo will follow the same pattern; meanwhile the company is looking for other opportunities to buy and construct hotels. The Director of B&B in Spain, Dennis Darrien, explained that the company has plans to construct one hotel in Barcelona, in the 22@ district, but that those plans are on hold due to the hotel moratorium established by the Town Hall.

The company is looking for hotels with between 80 and 150 rooms, in good locations.

B&B was created in 1990, as a chain for business travellers in France – where it now has 250 hotels, some of which it owns and others which it leases – with low cost prices. The CEO of the Group, George Sampeur, explained that in Spain they will also target the tourist market, given the nature of the country.

The company has eighty hotels in Germany, twenty-three in Italy, three in Poland, one in the Czech Republic and another in Morocco. It plans to expand to Latin America by opening its first hotel in Brazil, in Sao Paulo, before continuing to Curitiba and other areas in the south of the country.

In total, according to its business plan, B&B plans to open thirty hotels a year between now and 2020.

Original story: Expansión (by J. Brines)

Translation: Carmel Drake

ID Logistics Buys Logiters From Corpfin Capital For €85M

28 June 2016 – Expansión

The multinational logistics space management company ID Logistics has purchased Logiters, manager of logistics surface areas and owner of warehouses in Spain and Portugal. The company, which was owned by the private equity fund Corpfin Capital, has been valued at €85 million.

Logiters manages 50 logistics warehouses, with capacity of more than 750,000 sqm, spread across different locations in Spain and Portugal. In 2015, it recorded revenues of €250 million and closed the year with a workforce of 3,300 employees.

The aim of ID Logistics is to strengthen its presence in these two markets, as well as to grow in the sectors in which Logiters is very specialised, such as pharmaceutical and automotive logistics.

Following this acquisition, ID Logistics also strengthens its position in Europe, which accounts for 82% of its business. The operation is subject to approval by Spain’s National Commission for Markets and Competition.

The buyer

ID Logistics owns more than 200 platforms across fourteen countries, representing a combined warehouse surface area of more than 4.3 million sqm in Europe, Latin America, Africa and Asia. The company employs 15,000 people in total.

Meanwhile, Corpfin Capital is an independent private equity firm that focuses on the local and international expansion of Spanish SMEs. It took control of Logiters two years ago.

According to Álvaro Olivares, Partner at Corpfin Capital, “over the last two years, we have accompanied Logiters through a major recovery process”. And he added that now, “under the management of ID Logistics, the company will be capable of realising its full growth potential”.

Original story: Expansión (by M. A.)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Hundredrooms Raises €4.1M Additional Financing

18 May 2016 – Expansión

Almost a year after raising €1 million, Hundredrooms has closed a second round of financing, this time for €4.1 million. The private equity fund Seaya Ventures has led the investment, contributing €3.3 million, making it the largest shareholder in the start-up created in Mallorca.

Inveready, Bankinter and Media Digital Ventures, a Spanish media for equity fund (which exchanges shares for publicity), have also participated in the operation. The latter have been partners of Hundredrooms since 2015.

Through Media Digital Ventures, the firm will launch a television campaign on Atresmedia, which will run until September.

The start-up, founded by José Luis Martínez in 2014, is the Google of tourist apartments. Hundredrooms offers flats and houses from Airbnb, TripAdvisor, HomeAway and Booking.com – amongst other partners -, has 4.3 million apartments in its portfolio and plans to exceed 6 million properties by the end of this year.

Growth

The company, which has not disclosed its turnover, will allocate the resources obtained to expand its workforce and its business overseas. In the summer, Hundredrooms plans to enter the Mexican and US markets with the launch of its mobile app and website there. “Before the end of the year, we want to have a presence in Argentina, Chile, Colombia and Peru”, said Martínez.

Hundredrooms recently opened an office in Madrid and plans to open an office in Miami from where it will control its business in the US and Latin American markets. The portal has 25 employees and expects to end the year with 52 staff in total.

Original story: Expansión

Translation: Carmel Drake

Bridgepoint & Cinven Enter The Bid For Tinsa

22 February 2016 – Expansión

Advent International is pushing ahead with its sale of Tinsa, the largest real estate appraisal company in Spain, which the US fund has controlled since 2010. Neither the turbulent start to the year on the markets, nor the political uncertainty enveloping the country, has managed to temper the interest in the operation, which looks set to become one of the major private equity transactions of 2016.

Amongst the candidates for the acquisition are two real heavyweights from the international private equity sector, namely Bridgepoint and Cinven, according to sources familiar with the process, who explain that the sale has attracted significant interest from potential investors, not only in the financial sector but also industry giants. Advent has declined to comment.

The final stretch

The fund, which is led in Spain by Carlos Santana, CEO, and which is being advised by the investment bank Rothschild, launched the sale of Tinsa in January, with a view to receiving initial offers this week.

Now, a select phase of bidding will begin for those candidates who have made the first cut – a group that includes Bridgepoint and Cinven – to allow them to deepen their understanding of the company and refine their bid proposals. If everything goes according to schedule, the bidders will communicate their binding offers by early April, according to sources.

Although the circumstances surrounding the sale of Tinsa are not the most favourable, sources in the sector say that the process is evolving in line with the market’s high expectations, which point to a hard-fought auction with high bids. The total valuation of the appraisal company amounts to around €300 million, according to sources.

This amount represents around ten times Tinsa’s forecast EBITDA for this year. The results for 2015 have not yet been published, but the company is certain that it managed to increase revenues by 12% with respect to 2014, to €86 million and to reach an EBITDA of €20 million, which it expects will rise to around €30 million in 2016. (…).

The US fund Advent acquired its 94.5% stake in the real estate appraisal company in November 2010 (the rest of the capital remained in the hands of the management team) for around €100 million. In this way, it took control of the stakes previously owned by 35 savings banks. At that time, the Spanish property sector was in real turmoil after the burst of the real estate bubble and financial entities were facing unprecedented consolidation and restructuring processes.

To avoid succumbing to that adversity, Tinsa committed itself to international expansion, under the tutelage of Advent. During the period since then, it has acquired Zala in Colombia and Prime Yield in Brazil. Today, Tinsa has offices in Chile, Mexico, Argentina, Peru and Colombia, as well as in Spain and Portugal, and it offers its services in around twenty countries. 20% of the appraisal company’s revenues in 2014 came from overseas, compared with 5% in 2010. At home, the company bought Tasamadrid from Bankia in 2012. (…).

Original story: Expansión (by D. Badía and M. Ponce de León)

Translation: Carmel Drake