Generali’s Axis Retail Partners Seeks to Acquire Two of Intu’s Shopping Centres in Spain

29 July 2019 – Richard D. K. Turner

Last March, Generali Real Estate, the real estate arm of the Italian insurer, announced the launch of Axis Retail Partners, a new subsidiary specialising in shopping centres. Axis received a 500-million euro infusion from the insurer.

This week, Axis is closing in on a potential acquisition of two of the most important assets currently on sale in Europe: the Puerto Venecia (Zaragoza) and Intu Asturias (Oviedo), two giant Spanish shopping centres listed for sale by the UK’s Intu Properties.

In a process led by UBS and CBRE, Germany’s ECE and Axis Retail Partners have appeared as two of the likeliest buyers, with Axis out front. Intu values its 50% stakes in Puerto Venecia and Asturias at around €425 million. Canada’s CPPIB, which shares ownership, declined to exercise its option to purchase the assets.

Original Story: El Confidencial – Ruth Ugalde

Intu’s New Strategy in Spain: to Change the Names of its Shopping Centres

16 May 2018 – Eje Prime

Intu is betting on branding to raise the profile of its name in Spain. The company, which has a vast presence in the United Kingdom, where it owns almost twenty shopping centres, is going to replicate its British strategy in Spain, by adding the word Intu to the name of its retail complexes. This week, the company announced that its shopping centre in Zaragoza, which has been called Puerto Venecia to date, is now going to be named Intu Puerto Venecia.

It was in 2014 when Intu reached an agreement with the fund Orion European Real Estate to acquire the Puerto Venecia complex, the largest shopping centre in Spain, for €451 million. The complex contains a retail park spanning 82,600 m2, which was inaugurated in 2008 and a leisure and fashion area measuring 130,000 m2, which opened in October 2012 (…).

Since the purchase by Intu, the British group has carried out a series of changes to the appearance and management of the shopping centre. But it has not been until now that the group has decided to complete the process by adding the word Intu to the name of the complex, whereby following in the footsteps of Intu Asturias.

Now, the next step will be for Intu to apply the same strategy to the Xanadú shopping centre. The British group completed the purchase of that shopping centre, located in Arroyomolinos (Madrid), from Ivanhoé Cambridge for more than €520 million in March last year. That acquisition was the largest operation since Deutsche Bank paid €495 million for Diagonal Mar.

In May of the same year, Intu created a joint venture with TH Real Estate to share the ownership of the Madrilenian shopping centre, transferring 50% of the complex to TH Real Estate for €264.4 million, half of the amount that it had paid for Xanadú.

That shopping centre, constructed in 2003, has a total surface area of 153,695 m2 spread over two storeys and with a total of 220 stores, making it one of the largest retail complexes in Madrid. Its tenants include Inditex, El Corte Inglés, Hipercor, Bricor, Decathlon, Primark and Apple. Xanadú Madrid receives almost 13 million visitors per year and generates sales of around €230 million.

Shopping centres on the rise in Spain

Intu’s commitment to Spain comes at a good time for this retail format in the country. Sales registered at these complexes rose by 3.5% in 2017, to exceed €43.5 billion.

Specifically, revenues in the sector amounted to €43.59 billion in 2017. The market share of shopping centres and retail parks rose to reach 17.9%. Last year, around 1,900 million visits were registered at these complexes.

Meanwhile, investment in the sector soared by 35% in 2017, to €2.7 billion. During the course of last year, 29 transactions were closed involving 36 assets, according to data from the Spanish Association of Shopping Centres and Retail Parks (AECC).

Original story: Eje Prime (by C. Pareja)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Spain’s Shopping Centres Reinvent Themselves As Leisure Mega-Resorts

23 October 2017 – Expansión

Star asset / The boom in e-commerce and change in consumer habits are revolutionising the traditional concept of retail. Offering new experiences and turning their properties into iconic spaces are some of the maxims of the owners of shopping centres.

Much more than retail spaces. The new generation of shopping centres is evolving to incorporate a leisure concept for the whole family and to adapt to the demands of the millennials. Aquariums, artificial lakes, ski resorts, diving pools; everything fits into these new megaresorts designed for leisure, experiences and shopping.

“We have to implement new concepts, but without taking our eye off the ball in terms of the retail mix”, explain sources at Unibail-Rodamco, the largest listed commercial real estate company in Europe, which owns 13 centres in Spain, worth more than €3,500 million, and which plans to invest an additional €650 million in the country between now and 2024.

“We have introduced the DEX (Dining Experience), which aims to revolutionise restaurant spaces in shopping centres through a combination of architecture, design and leisure to offer a multi-sensorial experience”, explain the sources. They are adamant that “physical stores are not incompatible with e-commerce. In fact, we are seeing lots of the companies that originated in the digital environment now looking for physical points of sale. Amazon has opted to sell through physical stores with its acquisition of Whole Foods in the USA. We have also seen the same thing with Hawkers, the sunglasses brand, which recently opened its first physical store in Madrid”.

“Shopping centres are having to evolve to adapt themselves to the new needs and wants of customers, combining technology, multi-channels and experiences to reach more demanding end consumers”, explains Luis Lázaro, Head of the Shopping Centre division at Merlin Properties, which plans to invest €100 million over the next few years in both modernising the image of its centres as well as in updating its commercial offer.

José Manuel Llovet, Director of Retail at Lar – which owns 14 shopping centres in Spain – explains that the Socimi is working on improving the customer experience. “We are investing more than €60 million in Capex to adapt and modernise our centres, improve services and experiences, as well as implement the omnichannel strategy”.

Sources at Intu, owner of Puerto Venecia (Zaragoza), Intu Asturias (Asturias) and Xanadú (Madrid), which also has several important projects underway, say they use the shopping resort concept as the formula for attracting consumers, turning shopping centres into “tourist and leisure attractions”, and adopting a strategy of fewer operators with larger surface areas.

Meanwhile, Sociedad General Inmobiliaria de España (Lsgie) inaugurated Plaza Río 2 on Friday. One of the main features of that centre, located on the banks of the Manzanares River (Madrid) is its Mirador (lookout), which they define as “the best restaurant terrace in the capital” (…).

Carolina Ramos Alcobía, Director of the Shopping Centre Leasing department at Aguirre Newman, points out that Spain is promoting a model that moves away from the traditional shopping centre. “The trend is moving towards an aesthetics of open shopping centres, which are more like small towns or urban shopping centres; moreover, that concept is very highly favoured by the Spanish climate. The key is to get away from the stress associated with hectic, uncomfortable shopping centres” (…).

According to Ramos, “we are undoubtedly witnessing the largest transformation of shopping centres since they first opened in Spain, almost forty years ago. If they don’t spruce themselves up, they won’t survive” (…).

Investor appetite

In terms of investment (…), according to Javier García-Mateo, Real Estate Partner in Financial Advisory at Deloitte, “a voracious appetite exists for medium-sized shopping centres, which we have not seen for more than ten years”. According to data from Deloitte, so far this year, investment in shopping centres amounts to €2,300 million. In 2016, investors spent €3,769 million buying shopping centres in Spain, almost doubling the figure recorded in 2015 (…).

Original story: Expansión (by R. Arroyo and M. Anglés)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Asturias Retail & Leisure Socimi Will Debut On The MAB On Friday

29 June 2016 – Telecinco

The company Asturias Retail and Leisure Socimi will debut on the Alternative Investment Market (MAB) on Friday 1 July, after it received the green light from the MAB’s Coordination and Incorporations Committee, which has confirmed that it fulfils all of the necessary requirements for listing.

Using the valuation report prepared by the independent expert Ernst & Young Servicios Corporatives, the company’s Board of Directors has set a reference value of €19.15 for each one of its share, which values the company at €95.8 million.

The debut of the company, which will become the eighteenth Socimi to join the MAB, still requires prior approval from the MAB’s Board of Directors.

The company’s trading code will be YAST and its shares will be traded through the price fixing system. Renta 4 Corporate is the company’s registered advisor, whilst Renta 4 Sociedad de Valores is acting as its liquidity provider.

Asturias Retail and Leisure Socimi owns three properties in Oviedo, through two subsidiaries: the shopping centre known as Intu Asturias and seven retail premises, a hypermarket leased to Eroski and a service station.

Original story: Telecinco

Translation: Carmel Drake