Metrovacesa to Develop Offices and Hotels on 1.2 Million Square of Land by 2023

20 August 2019

Last year, Metrovacesa revealed that its holdings include a gigantic, 6-million-m2 portfolio of land, enough to build 40,000 new homes. That total also 1.25 million square meters of land slated for the construction of offices, hotels and logistics assets.

The firm announced its intention to “sell or develop” most of the 1.25 million square meters by 2023. Metrovacesa revealed plans for four major developments, accounting for 60% of the land bank, in a total investment of almost €390 million. The projects include La City and Loinsa in Barcelona and Clesa and Valdebebas in Madrid. Spain’s two biggest cities account for 86% of the portfolio, and 94% of those lands already have urban planning permits.

The largest of the four is City Metropolitana, in Barcelona’s L’Hospitalet de Llobregat, with a buildable area of ​​135,000 m2. The property company plans to build mostly offices on the site, along with up to 20,000 m2 for hotels. Metrovacesa also has 58,131 m2 of buildable land in Madrid, where it plans to build Valdebebas. That project will likely consist of a 4-building office complex.

Original Story: Cinco Días

Adaptation/Translation: Richard D. K. Turner

Inbest to Invest Up to €130 Million Over the Next 18 Months

10 July 2019 – Richard D. K. Turner

Inbest, the commercial real estate socimi founded by Corpfin Capital, debuted on Spain’s MAB stock market this week, just ten months after its incorporation. The socimi has already had an impact on the market, focusing on high-street retail premises.

The firm has disbursed €378 million of its €400-million investment capacity, mainly through its acquisition of three El Corte Inglés stores and the commercial gallery in Madrid’s Edificio España.

Original Story: Cinco Dias – Javier García Ropero

Árima Finances Acquisition of Sonae Spain’s Headquarters

9 July 2019 – Richard D. K. Turner

Árima Real Estate has signed long-term financing agreements with CaixaBank and BBVA for a total amount of 63.8 million euros, using the funds to finalise its acquisition of Sonae Spain’s headquarters in Madrid. The socimi reported that the financing arrangements have flexible conditions and competitive interest rates.

The asset that Árima acquired is in the region of ​​Avenida de América-Torrelaguna in Madrid. The building has a gross leasable area (GLA) of ​​6,759 square meters, along with 110 parking spaces.

Árima’s total investments since its stock market debut six months ago have now reached 173 million euros. The socimi currently has more than 61,000 square meters of GLA. Of that, 89.3% corresponds to office buildings and the remaining 10.7% is in the logistics segment, all in Madrid.

Original Story: El Economista / Europa Press

Commercial Real Estate Investment Takes Off in 2019

9 July 2019 – Richard D. K. Turner

Commercial real estate investment in the office sector in the first six months of 2019 has already exceeded last year’s total by 13%. Sales totalled €2.595 billion in the first semester, compared to €2.3 billion in all in 2018, according to a study by BNP Paribas. In turn, the sector accounted for 52% of total real estate investment during that same period this year. In particular, sales in the two largest cities in Spain, Madrid and Barcelona, have boosted the market.

Investments in the residential market reached €470 million during the first semester of this year, accounting for 17% of the total. The hotel sector brought in another 12% of investments, while the logistics sector accounted for 18% and the retail sector nearly 14%.

Original Story: Economía Digital

Berkeley Assets Arrives in Spain by Opening its First Office in Marbella

10 April 2019 – Eje Prime

Berkeley Assets has just opened its first office in Spain, in Puerto Banús (Marbella). The investment fund, backed by capital in Dubai and London, also plans to open offices in Madrid and Barcelona by the end of the year.

The company will start by focusing its activity on Madrid, Barcelona and Málaga. It plans to raise funds and make substantial investments in the Spanish market, in its first venture outside of the UK and the USA.

Berkeley’s assets raised USD 112.8 million in 2018. The group’s portfolio includes properties in London, New York and Miami.

Original story: Eje Prime 

Translation/Summary: Carmel Drake

Quabit Issues 4-Year Bonds Amounting to €20M

29 March 2019 – Valencia Plaza

The property developer Quabit Inmobiliaria has issued bonds amounting to €20 million through its wholly owned subsidiary Quabit Finance. The bonds have a maturity of 4 years and a coupon of 8.25%, which will be paid annually.

The success of the placement represents a great boost to the company’s strategy and confirms investors’ confidence in its management capacity. The funds raised will be used to undertake new investments, finance new projects and whereby continue with the firm’s growth and expansion plan.

Original story: Valencia Plaza

Translation/Summary: Carmel Drake

Mazabi to Grow its Socimi to Make Stock Market Debut with €1bn in Assets

18 March 2019 – Expansión

Mazabi, the firm that manages the wealth of 35 family offices and which owns €1.54 billion in assets, is getting its ducks in a row ahead of the planned debut of its Socimi Silicius. The intention is for that entity to take ownership of the majority of the firm’s rental properties and whereby grow its portfolio to at least €1 billion before its IPO.

Currently, Silicius owns 17 assets, spanning 71,244 m2, worth €156 million in the office, retail, hotel and logistics segments. During 2019, new properties will be transferred to it to increase its portfolio to €740 million by the end of the year, with an associated debt of €240 million.

Moreover, 80% of the operations that the manager executes over the coming months will also be transferred to the Socimi. Mazabi typically invests between €100 million and €150 million per year, according to its CEO, Juan Antonio Gutiérrez (pictured above).

New investors

At the same time, Mazabi is looking for investors who want to get involved in its project. To this end, it has engaged KPMG to find an investor to acquire a stake in the Socimi before it is listed. At this stage, the firm has not decided whether Silicius will make its debut on the MAB or the main stock market. The timings have not been confirmed either, but if Silicius is registered as a Socimi in July, then it would make its debut on the MAB no later than July 2021.

Original story: Expansión (by Rebeca Arroyo)

Translation/Summary: Carmel Drake

Lar España Sells an Office Building in Madrid for €37M

31 January 2019 – Eje Prime

Lar España is continuing to divest assets. The Socimi has announced the sale of the Torre Spínola office building for €37 million. The property, which was acquired in 2014 for €19 million, has appreciated in value by 94.7%.

The Socimi invested almost €9 million in the comprehensive renovation of the building with construction work that included the demolition of all of the elements inside the building, as well as improvements to the visibility of the façade.

The group is whereby continuing with its plan to divest non-strategic assets. Today, the company also completed the sale of the Joan Miró building in the Catalan Capital, to the German firm AEW for €28.8 million.

Lar España owns a portfolio of 17 real estate assets whose value amounts to €1.499 billion, of which €1.376 billion correspond to shopping centres, €39 million to an office building on c/Eloy Gonzalo and €84 million to the residential development Lagasca 99.

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

Who are Spain’s Largest Residential Landlords?

11 October 2018 – El País

Every month, they receive rent from thousands of tenants who live in the thousands of flats that they own. They are the large landlords of Spain, although it is worth noting one important point: even though between them, they own more than 120,000 residential rental assets, that figure accounts for just 5% of all of the homes on the rental market. In Spain, the stock of rental housing – which exceeds 2.3 million properties, according to calculations from the Ministry of Development – is still dominated by individuals above all. At the other end of the spectrum, that of companies, it is not easy to draw a clear map of who’s who in the Spanish market. There are banks, investment funds, Socimis, real estate companies, servicers, managers…the difference is substantial: some are owners of houses whilst others specialise only in administering the properties.

The properties intersect between these two larges groups. The homes of a bank may belong to a real estate company owned by the entity itself and be administrated by its manager, which in turn, may be responsible for the houses of other companies. Or a fund may own several servicers, the name given to the platforms that, since the crisis, have absorbed a large proportion of the toxic assets (both properties and mortgages) owned by the banks, and that in turn, may be entrusted with the administration of some of the homes by the banks. The examples are simpler if we look at specific cases. What follows is a portrait of the main protagonists of the residential rental market in Spain. Seven companies that control portfolios that come close to or exceed 10,000 assets each, according to figures facilitated by them and by other sources in the sector.

Blackstone. This real estate investment fund is well on its way to becoming the largest owner of rental housing in Spain. It entered the market in 2013 with the purchase of a portfolio of social housing properties that the Town Hall of Madrid, led at the time by Ana Botella, put up for sale. Those 1,860 homes were just the start of a portfolio that now contains around 32,000 properties. Since then, Blackstone has acquired thousands of toxic assets from entities such as Banco Popular and Catalunya Caixa. From the real estate arm of the latter, CX Inmobiliaria, a subsidiary of the US fund emerged, which is now responsible for managing most of its rental homes. Anticipa is a specialist servicer in what is known as “fragmented management”. Its 15,000 homes do not form part of blocks of buildings, but rather they are scattered all over the country. In addition to that portfolio, Fidere manages 6,200 properties. That Socimi (…) was created specifically after the operation was closed with the Town Hall of Madrid and then continued to add other residential assets to its portfolio, which unlike Anticipa’s form part of blocks and urbanisations. The latest blow, in terms of the effect on the market, came last month, with Blackstone’s agreement to purchase 70.01% of Testa. With the control of that Socimi – which until then belonged to Santander, BBVA, Acciona and Merlin – around 32,000 rental assets are now under the orbit of the US fund, making it the largest landlord in Spain.

CaixaBank. Until recently, the Catalan entity was the largest owner of rental homes and it is still in the top three. Unlike the other banks, which succumbed to the pressure to sell to interested investors, the former Caixa owns 27,557 residential rental assets through its real estate arm Building Center. The entity’s own manager, Servihabitat, is responsible for managing those assets, and its portfolio also includes assets entrusted by other owners, taking its total to 42,163 assets. Of those 28,549 are homes (and the remainder are storerooms and parking spaces).

Banco Sabadell. A very similar example to CaixaBank. In this case, the entity’s own servicer, Solvia, is responsible for managing its residential rental assets. Its rental portfolio comprises around 32,000 residential assets and, of those, 74% belong to Sabadell, making it the third largest landlord in Spain with around 23,600 assets.

Haya. In fourth place on the list is the servicer owned by Cerberus. The investment fund created it after acquiring some of Bankia’s real estate portfolio. Then it increased it with purchases from other banks such as Santander. At the end of 2017, based on the most recent data provided by the company, it managed around 14,100 assets.

Azora. This manager administers around 11,000 homes on behalf of other companies and Socimis. Its main clients include Lazora, a company recently recapitalised by CBRE GIP and Madison, which owns 6,800 assets, and Encasa Cibeles, which has 2,500 assets and is owned by the investment bank Goldman Sachs.

Sareb. The (…) bad bank concentrated more than €50 billion in toxic assets during the crisis, including both mortgages and properties. Its objective was, and still is, to divest them, but in the meantime, it has been capitalising what it can. One of the ways is placing some of its properties up for rent. It has more than 10,000 in its portfolio, but it does not manage them directly: it has distributed the management of 5,223 units between Altamira, Haya, Servihabitat and Solvia. The 1,383 that form part of Témpore, a Socimi owned by Sareb, are administered by Azora. Finally, it has around 4,000 that it is reserving for social housing rentals and that it is handing over on a piecemeal basis as one-off agreements are reached with autonomous regions and large town Halls.

Altamira. Another servicer, which belongs to Apollo and Banco Santander. Its rental portfolio comprises 12,500 properties including tertiary assets. Most, around 9,700, are residential assets and belong to Santander or Sareb.

Original story: El País (by José Luis Aranda)

Translation: Carmel Drake