Firmum to Increase Share Capital by €60M to Buy More Parking Lots

3 December 2018 – Eje Prime

Firmum Capital is stepping on the accelerator to increase its portfolio of parking lots in Spain. The Spanish parking lot manager is on the verge of closing a €60 million capital increase to finance new purchases in the domestic market.

Through the financing round, the company will increase its investment capacity to almost €210 million, and will also open up its capital to new shareholders. The firm undertakes its investments through the company APK Gestión de Aparcamientos.

Firmum was created in 2016 by Cristian Abelló, Bernardino Díaz-Andreu and Fernando Pire, who have generated a portfolio comprising 64 parking lots distributed over a dozen Spanish autonomous regions, according to El Economista.

In total, Firmum owns 27,000 parking spaces in the market, which following the financing round, will be increased with more assets in Spain and Portugal. The current investors in the manager include Banco Sabadell, through Sabadell Asset Management, and Altamar Capital Partners.

Last year, the fund invested €80 million in the purchase of 39 assets, which added 15,676 parking spaces to its portfolio. That investment plan comes at a time when these types of alternative assets are booming.

This segment is attracting interest from many funds and institutional investors, who are willing to pay high prices for parking lots in the centre of provincial capitals, tempted by their long-term returns. In Europe, there are around 305 million public parking spaces and 53,650 private multi-storey parking lots, according to a report compiled by Catella.

Original story: Eje Prime

Translation: Carmel Drake

Stoneweg Plans to Build New Homes in Barcelona & along the Costa Brava

10 October 2018 – Eje Prime

Stoneweg is continuing to grow its portfolio of projects in Cataluña. The Spanish-Swiss fund is strongly committed to the territory and has already announced new developments in Barcelona and the Costa Brava.

Two of the most important projects are going to be developed on two prime streets in the centre of Barcelona, namely Rambla Catalunya and Pau Claris. The company led by Joaquín Castellví and Jaume Sabater declined to share more details about these future homes, according to Expansión. The real estate company is going to unveil the two developments at the next Barcelona Meeting Point, which will be held in the Catalan capital between 25th and 28th October.

Meanwhile, in L’Hospitalet de Llobregat, the fund is going to build two towers containing 276 homes on the site of the former Cosme Toda factory, a plan that was announced in March, when a €370 million investment plan was registered to build 800 new homes in Cataluña.

The sought-after 22@ district for the office market is also of interest to the company, which is planning a development on Calle Llull. In the meantime, on the Costa Brava, Stoneweg has started projects in the residential market in Palamós, Platja d’Aro, Roses and Begur.

Original story: Eje Prime 

Translation: Carmel Drake

David Martínez: “Aedas Has Land on which to Build Homes for the next 4 Years”

8 September 2018 – Expansión

Aedas, the property developer in which the US fund Castlelake holds a stake, is continuing to push ahead and take on new challenges. As the first anniversary of its debut on the stock market approaches and with its business plan on track, the company is considering starting to buy plots of land that still require urban planning approval to anticipate possible price rises and improve margins, as well as to launch projects to sell to specialists companies in the rental sector, such as Socimis.

“We have a land bank spanning more than 1.5 million m2, which will allow us to build more than 14,000 homes. That gives us four years of visibility with respect to our business plan”, explains David Martínez, CEO of the company.

Aedas became the second largest property developer, after Neinor, to make its debut on the stock market after ten years of drought following the burst of the real estate bubble. It was followed shortly after by Metrovacesa, and several other companies are lining up to take the plunge, including Vía Célere and Aelca.

Aedas is sticking to the objectives announced in the listing brochure and unlike its rivals is not contemplating a reduction in its initial forecasts. “Our objective is to hand over more than 200 homes this year, more than 1,000 homes in 2019 and to exceed 2,000 homes in 2020. In total, by the end of 2020, we will have handed over more than 3,200 homes and we already have 114 developments underway, with more than 4,000 homes in different phases of development, which gives us a great deal of visibility over the objectives. We designed a realistic business plan and we will fulfil the forecasts for 2018, 2019 and 2020”, said the director.

Investment in land

The CEO of Aedas explains that during the first half of 2018, Aedas invested almost €100 million and purchased land for 1,905 homes, almost doubling the planned investment figure for the entire year. In addition, the company signed a corporate financing line for €150 million to continue expanding its land bank.

“We have detected interesting opportunities that fit with our investment criteria that are not going to be available in six months time. For that reason, we decided to bring forward our investment plan. Recently, we formalised a loan amounting to €150 million to provide us with sufficient financial resources to continue bringing forward the purchases planned in the business plan between now and 2023”, he explained.

At this point, Martínez opened the door to the possibility of purchasing non-finalist land. “There is a lot of land classified as “urbanisable” that still requires urban planning. Given that we now have land to cover our requirements for the next four years and we are not in any hurry, nor do we need to buy finalist land, we are considering land in areas with demand that has the partial plans approved but that still require some urban planning management”, he revealed.

Martínez highlighted that a significant percentage of the €150 million resulting from the loan formalised a few weeks ago will be used to buy non-finalist land. “With the economic recovery, new property developers are emerging who need to buy finalist land to get to work. For this reason, in some places, the prices of some plots of finalist land now exceed our expectations. We want to take advantage to buy land at more affordable prices even if that requires more management subsequently (…).

Rental

Similarly, the property developer is exploring other business opportunities, such as the sale of homes to Socimis and other vehicles specialising in the rental market. “One of the challenges involves supplying homes to young people. Aedas is exploring formulae that allow the construction of homes for rent, basically developing projects that we can sell to companies that specialise in rental. We have a very extensive and urban land bank”.

The director anticipates a “long” upwards cycle. “We are at the beginning of a cycle and notwithstanding the fact that we may see some adjustments in prices in certain specific towns, in general, it is going to last”, he predicted.

Original story: Expansión (by Rebeca Arroyo)

Translation: Carmel Drake

German Fund Manager Aquila Capital Launches its own Property Developer in Spain

1 August 2018 – El Economista

The German fund manager, Aquila Capital, is demonstrating its commitment to Spanish property by launching a new property developer called AQ Acentor.

Until now, the firm has worked in Spain by delegating its development activities and in partnership with other real estate companies such as Inmoglacier, with which it has undertaken several projects. “The strategic partnership with the property developer has been positive and has resulted in the construction of three successful real estate developments, which have contributed to Aquila Capital’s expansion plans in the Spanish market under its own brand, AQ Acentor”, explains Sven Schoel, CEO of the German manager in Spain.

Aquila has been operating in Spain since 2014, focusing its business on the real estate sector, with projects worth more than €800 million. With the creation of this new brand, the firm has incorporated a management team to boost growth through in-house development.

AQ Acentor has been created with more than 3,000 new homes under construction, of which around 500 will be handed over during the course of this year. Currently, the firm is working on residential projects in metropolitan areas, primarily in Madrid, Barcelona, Málaga and Valencia.

“The company has a multidisciplinary team comprising more than 40 professionals located in offices in Madrid, Barcelona and Málaga”, explain sources at the firm.

“The creation of AQ Acentor responds to our firm commitment to the Spanish market and is backed by a pipeline amounting to €1 billion over the next five years”, specifies Schoel.

The manager is also present in the logistics market in Spain, one of the other real estate segments that is experiencing a boom, besides the residential segment. In that case, it has launched an investment plan amounting to between €350 million and €400 million for the Iberian Peninsula and Italy.

Original story: El Economista (by Alba Brualla)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Spring Hotels Buys 62,000 m2 of Land in Tenerife for €85M

10 January 2018 – Eje Prime

The Spring Group now owns four hotels in Tenerife. The Canarian company, based in the tourist town of Arona, has invested €85 million in the purchase of 62,000 m2 of land its home municipality, where it is going to build a 525-room hotel.

The establishment will be located in the El Mojón area, in Los Cristianos, and will allow the chain to increase its offer on the island, where it already owns three other assets: Arona Grand Hotel, Vulcano and Bitácora.

The island group hopes to obtain the construction licence within the next few months in order to start work on the construction of the hotel as soon as possible. This new land purchase forms part of the investment plan that the company has underway. It has already spent €30 million on the complete renovation of its other establishments.

Original story: Eje Prime

Translation: Carmel Drake

Metrovacesa Sells an Office Building Still Under Construction to Axiare

22 November 2017 – Expansión

The real estate company controlled by Santander and BBVA has sold a building, located in Madrid and still under construction, to the Socimi for €30 million.

The Socimi Axiare is continuing to expand its portfolio, whilst its counterpart Colonial is pushing ahead with its plans to buy the company. The group led by Luis López de Herrera Oria has closed the purchase of an office building, located on Calle Josefa Valcárcel in Madrid.

Axiare has paid its former owner, Metrovacesa, €29.7 million for the property, which is still under construction, as reported by the Socimi to Spain’s National Securities and Exchange Commission (CNMV).

The project under construction includes a gross leasable area for offices of 8,652 m2, spread over seven floors, as well as two underground floors, which will contain 261 parking spaces. The construction work on this building is expected to be completed during the last quarter of 2018.

The property forms part of a small real estate portfolio that Metrovacesa held onto after transferring its non-residential buildings to the Socimi Merlin Properties in an operation closed in October 2016. Specifically, this project emerged from the final investment plans of Román Sanahuja, owner and President of Metrovacesa prior to 2008, when the real estate company ended up in the hands of its creditor banks.

Following this purchase, Axiare has a portfolio of assets worth €1.74 billion, dedicated primarily to office buildings. So far this year, the Socimi has purchased seven properties, located in Madrid and Barcelona, for a total investment of €245 million. Similarly, it has assets “in an advanced stage of analysis” worth another €170 million.

On Monday 13 November, Colonial launched a takeover bid  for 100% of Axiare, in an operation worth around €1.4 billion. Before launching the public offer, Colonial, which has been Axiare’s largest shareholder since October 2016 with a 15% stake, increased its shareholding to 28%.

Colonial’s offer boosted Axiare’s share price, which now stands at around €1.453 billion, equivalent to €18.38 per share, compared with the takeover offer price of €18.50.

Original story: Expansión (by Rocío Ruiz)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Colonial Will Sell Mature Properties To Fund Investment

2 February 2016 – Expansión

The real estate company Colonial plans to increase its forecast future investment (estimated to amount to €300 million p.a. on average), by selling certain buildings from its portfolio that it considers have now reached maturity.

At the end of 2015, Colonial announced a plan to invest €1,500 million over the next 5 years.

Original story: Expansión

Translation: Carmel Drake

The New TH Real Estate Fund Plans To Buy Offices In Madrid

31 August 2015 – Expansión

This transaction will create an asset portfolio of 4 billion in Europe

TIAA-CREF, owner of TH Real Estate, considers entering Madrid office market with a new investment fund that it created along with two Swedish pension funds. This undertaking, which will focus on different European cities, aims to create a portfolio of assets worth more than 4 billion.

For now, the fund already has an initial platform valued at 2.2 billion euros, which consists of assets given by the three investors and totals 258,000 square meters of core office space  in UK, France and Germany.

Among the 15 current assets (nine provided by TIAA General Account and six by the Swedish public funds, AP1 and AP2), stand out buildings like the One Kingdom Street in London, Paris and Tour Areva in Atlantic Haus in Hamburg.

Thus, the company will start an active investment program with new capital to make an additional investment of around 2 billion euros over the next three years.

The new deal will mainly focus on core investments in first-tier cities such as London, Paris, Munich, Hamburg, Frankfurt and Berlin. In addition, the investment program will focus on value-added opportunities, such as leases, reforms and developments in this classification of cities. On the other hand, they will also seek core investments consolidated in cities such as Madrid, Milan and Amsterdam, among others.

The aim of these operations by the financial services firm and the two funds, is to create “one of the most important in Europe investment platforms.”

TH Real Estate, responsible for bringing the parties together, has created the platform and will manage the transaction on behalf of the investors, providing investment services and asset management.

The investment fund manager specializing in real estate, which started its journey in April 2014 after merging with TIAA-CREF manages approximately 25 billion euros in 50 funds investing in retail, office, logistics and real estate debt.

Original story: Expansión

Translation: Lee La

Barceló Acquires 42.5% Stake In Occidental Hoteles

5 May 2015 – Expansión

42.5% shareholding / The tourism group acquires the stakes held by Amancio Ortega, owner of Inditex, and several minority shareholders, and continues to negotiate with BBVA to take control of the chain.

The sale of Occidental Hoteles has been unblocked with Barceló’s purchase of a share of its capital. The tourist group has acquired a 42.5% stake from Amancio Ortega, owner of the textile empire Inditex, and several minority shareholders. In parallel, it is also negotiating with BBVA, which controls the remaining 57.5%, to gain control of 100% of Occidental and strengthen its position in the Caribbean.

Although the exact amount of the transaction is unknown, it has been closed with a discount of between 40% and 50% with respect to the €700 million that BBVA and Ortega paid in 2007. That was the figure that the shareholders hoped to obtain through the divestment process launched in 2013, which was thwarted last December, with Barceló as the favourite, due to differences over price.

Then, Barceló was bidding together with the fund Caribbean Property Group (CPG). Now, the tourism group is going to single-handedly undertake the purchase of the shares held by Ortega (who holds 23.63% through his company Partler 2006), Gregorio de Diego (who controls 13.5% through Tamar International) and the Miarnau family (whose company Iosa Inmuebles holds 5.26%).

Competition

The transaction, which is pending approval by the Mexican competition authorities, will be structured as a financial investment, and so Barceló will not take over the management of Occidental’s hotels. The chain operates 13 properties in the Caribbean and owns the majority of those establishments.

Nevertheless, sources in the sector are convinced that BBVA will end up selling a non-strategic stake. In fact, that is the joint position that the entity chaired by Francisco González and Amancio Ortega held until the end of 2014. The only thing that has separated them has been the timing (of their respective exits).

The textile businessman wanted to accelerate his exit from Occidental before the company looses value, since there is no growth plan on the table. In contrast, BBVA was keen to wait for a better offer and set a limit below which it was not willing to divest. In the end, the partners have broken their shareholders’ agreement, which has opened the door to Occidental for Barceló.

In terms of convincing BBVA, the close ties that unite the companies work in the tourism group’s favour. Barceló, BBVA and FCC created an asset company Grubarges in 1998, with the aim of channelling its surplus investors and growing in the hotel sector. Grubarges was dissolved in 2004 due to strategic differences between the partners, but the relationship is still strong.

If Barceló acquires 100% of Occidental, it will strengthen its position in the Caribbean, one of the priorities on its roadmap to become the world leader in the holiday hotel sector. Through the integration, Barceló would obtain a presence in new countries – Colombia, Aruba and Haití – and would strengthen its position in the Dominican Republic, Mexico and Costa Rica. Furthermore, the transaction would involve an investment plan to reposition Occidental’s properties.

Barceló currently operates 94 hotels and 30,000 rooms in 16 countries. In 2014, the company generated profits of €46.4 million, up 85.6% and turnover of €2,056.6 million, up 6.2%.

Original story: Expansión (by Yovanna Blanco)

Translation: Carmel Drake

CaixaBank Sells The ‘Torre Norte’ To SegurCaixa

15 April 2015 – Expansión

Barcelona / SegurCaixa has acquired the ‘Torre Norte’, valued at €14.5 million, as part of the strategic alliance between the bank and the insurance company.

SegurCaixa Adeslas, owned by CaixaBank and controlled by Mutua Madrileña, has purchased the Torre Norte (one of the three Nissan Towers in Barcelona) from CaixaBank. The transaction was valued at €14.5 million.

The sale forms part of the insurance sector alliance between Mutua and CaixaBank. The agreement made resulted in the segregation of the business between VidaCaixa, a fully owned subsidiary of CaixaBank, and SegurCaixa Adeslas. The latter was granted the option to buy the building, which it has (now) decided to exercise.

Following this transaction, the employees of SegurCaixa will occupy the Torre Norte and those of VidaCaixa will be housed in the Torre Sur. Microbank, another subsidiary of CaixaBank will occupy the top floor of the Torre Centro.

Mutua Madrileña hereby adds another building to its growing list of properties, worth €1.2 billion, which generated unrealised gains of €357 million last year.

The flagship building of the company, chaired by Ignacio Garralda, is the Torre de Cristal in Madrid, which has an appraisal value of €504 million, and therefore accounted for 41% of the insurance company’s total property portfolio at the end of 2014. The unrealised gain on that property amounted to €59 million. Then, the building located on Paseo de la Castellana, 33 in Madrid, where Mutua has its headquarters, is the second largest in the company’s portfolio by value. It has an appraisal value of €115 million, compared with a book value of €69.8 million.

The third building in the ranking is the Alfredo Mahou property in Madrid, which has a market value of €104 million and a book value of €29 million, i.e. has unrealised gains of €75 million.

Investment plan

Last year, Mutua Madrileña completed the investment plan it launched in 2008, which sought to modernise its properties to “convert them into flagship properties in the market. Through this, we created the distinctive Mutua Building”, explains the company in its annual accounts for 2014. The company also sought to reduce operating expenses (through this plan) to increase the appeal (of its properties) to clients.

The leased buildings generated revenues of €32.8 million for Mutua in 2014 and the company made investments amounting to €13.6 million during the year. Its occupancy rate last year was 90%, up from 88% in 2013.

Real estate investments accounted for 20% of the company’s total investments during the year, which had a market value of €6,654 million.

Original story: Expansión (by E. del Pozo)

Translation: Carmel Drake