Partners Group Negotiates the Purchase of 5 More Office Buildings from Meridia Capital

10 January 2020 – El Confidencial

The Swiss manager Partners Group is in talks with Meridia Capital, led by the Catalan businessman Javier Faus, with a view to purchasing half of the office portfolio that Meridia put up for sale at the end of last year.

The two players enjoy a close relationship following a deal closed last April, which saw Partners acquire a portfolio of 18 offices from Meridia for €215 million, and the Socimi continuing to manage the portfolio.

A similar arrangement could be sought this time around. The portfolio on the table in 2020 comprises a dozen offices in Madrid and Barcelona worth around €200 million, although Partners is only interested in half of the properties.

Both parties declined to comment on the reports of a potential sale, however, sources in the know confirmed that a due diligence process has begun on five of the assets.

Original story: El Confidencial (by Ruth Ugalde)

Translation/Summary: Carmel Drake

Meridia Sells 18 Buildings to Swiss Firm Partners Group

2 April 2019 – La Vanguardia

Meridia Capital has completed the sale of 18 buildings in Madrid and Barcelona to the Swiss firm Partners Group for €215 million. The properties are primarily office buildings, with a total leasable area of 91,000 m2, and account for the bulk of the assets that used to form part of the fund Meridia 2.

The most notable properties include Torre Meridian, and the Med I and Med II buildings in Barcelona, along with one building on Santa Leonor and another on Calle Alcalá in Madrid. The investment manager chaired by Javier Faus will continue to manage the properties.

The purchase represents the Partners Group’s debut in Spain and is the largest real estate operation to be closed in the country so far this year. Meridia began its divestment from Meridia 2 last year, with the sale of the building that houses the headquarters of Nestlé in Esplugues de Llobregat to the Korean group ICIS Asset Management for €87 million.

Meridia Capital Partners is an independent investment manager, with more than €1 billion in assets under management. Meanwhile, Partners Group is a Swiss private equity firm that manages assets worth €80 billion. The firm is also the largest shareholder of the jewellers Tous.

Original story: La Vanguardia (by Rosa Salvador)

Translation/Summary: Carmel Drake

Meridia III Raises €44M to Grow its Property Portfolio

31 January 2019 – Idealista

The Catalan fund Meridia is giving a boost to one of its Socimis. Meridia Real Estate III, led by the businessman Javier Faus, has increased its capital by €44 million, according to an announcement made by the group in the Official Gazette of the Mercantile Registry (BORME). This increase will serve to allow the company to continue with its business plan and add new properties to its portfolio.

According to explanations provided by the company to Idealista News, this increase forms part of the normal operation of the investment vehicle during its investment phase. Meridia Real Estate III is a vehicle dedicated to investment in all segments of the real estate sector in Madrid and Barcelona. The company’s portfolio currently comprises nine assets, including office buildings, industrial platforms and a shopping centre.

One of the most recent operations to be closed by the investment vehicle was the acquisition from the US fund Värde of a plot with a buildable surface area of 24,600 m2 in the 22@ district of Barcelona for €25.8 million.

The company, which purchased that land through its Socimi Meridia III, has already paid half of the cost of the operation. Payment of the remaining €12.9 million has been postponed until 17 March 2020, and it has been guaranteed by a mortgage on the land acquired, according to reports by the company to the stock market regulator.

With this purchase, the company is seeking to undertake a transformation plan for tertiary purposes in the Barcelona district. Currently, Meridia III owns more than 60,000 m2 of buildable space in the 22@ district, making it one of the leading investors in that area of the Catalan capital.

Meridia’s Socimi has been listed on the MAB since the end of last year. The company has starred in some of the most important operations of the last two years, both in the office market, as well as in the retail segment (…).

The fund manager is preparing to launch its fourth fund onto the market before the end of this year. The company is currently in the pre-market phase in territories such as Benelux and Israel, amongst others. The group’s new investment vehicle will join Meridia II, currently in its divestment phase, and Meridia III.

Original story: Idealista (by Custodio Pareja)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Meridia Will Build Everis’s New HQ in Barcelona Spanning 25,000m2

29 September 2018 – Expansión

The multinational consultancy firm Everis will move its headquarters from Barcelona to an office complex that Meridia Capital is going to build for it in the Villa Olímpica and which will have a surface area of 25,000 m2. According to Cushman&Wakefield, which has advised on the lease, it is the largest corporate rental operation in the Catalan capital for the last 10 years.

Currently, Everis has its headquarters at 605, La Diagonal, although it also occupies other offices in different locations around the city. Its intention is to move all of its workers from Barcelona, around 2,900 people in total, to the future headquarters. The new facilities will be located at number 213 Avenida Icària and will be split between two buildings.

The plot was acquired a year ago by Meridia, the investment manager chaired by Javier Faus, and has a total surface area of 43,000 m2. The plan is to allocate two-thirds of the plot to offices and the rest to homes.

The Everis project is the first one to be announced for this mega-plot and will be constructed by Meridia turnkey for the multinational firm, with which it has signed a 10-year lease contract. According to a statement issued by the consultancy firm yesterday, the new offices will be “a series of modern, efficient and open spaces that will promote collaboration and innovation through their shared work areas and the latest technologies”.

The new space will be complementary to Living Lab, an innovation and co-creation laboratory located in Barcelona, where more than 70 Everis professionals are based working on the development of innovative projects.

Original story: Expansión (by M. Anglés)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Barings Finalises Purchase of 5 Office Buildings in Madrid from Meridia

27 July 2018 – Eje Prime

The office market in Madrid is just a few days away from seeing the completion of a deal that is shaping up to be the largest operation of the summer. The British fund Barings is finalising the purchase of five office buildings owned by Meridia Capital in the Avalon business park, which have a total surface area of 25,785 m2, according to confirmation provided by sources close to the operation speaking to Eje Prime.

The American fund Starwood Capital was also a finalist in the bid for this portfolio of assets, but in the end, Barings has fought off the competition to seal the deal. The total amount of the operation has not been revealed, but the transaction is expected to be signed within the next few days. The real estate consultancy firm Savills Aguirre Newman is advising Meridia on the sale.

Located in the Julián Camarillo district, the new tech area of the Spanish capital, the Avalon business park comprises nine buildings and spans a total surface area of almost 47,000 m2. The rest of the properties in the complex are owned by GreenOak, which purchased its four assets from Banco Santander in 2015 for €40 million.

That same year, Meridia also completed its entry as an owner of the Avalon properties. In May 2015, the Catalan fund, led by the businessman Javier Faus, acquired the five Madrilenian buildings, as part of its purchase for €60 million of 33 assets from Naropa Capital, the family office owned by the Fernández Fermoselle family. The offices in Julián Camarillo were the main assets in the portfolio, but it also included commercial premises, residential properties and even a plot of land in Valencia.

With this operation, Barings is acquiring five assets that, in addition to a vast office space, have 423 parking spaces in a highly sought-after area of Madrid, close to the Adolfo Suárez-Barajas airport.

Diversification: after logistics and retail come offices

Barings is on fire in the Spanish real estate market. This latest operation that it is on the verge of signing in Madrid follows several others that it has closed over the last year, to take advantage of the new upward cycle in the real estate sector.

Nevertheless, Avalon is the first large portfolio that the British fund has purchased in the Spanish office market. Barings is, therefore, diversifying within the real estate sector, where it has made investments in the logistics and retail segments in recent months (…).

€23 million more for new purchases and to create a Socimi 

In the framework of its new roadmap for the Spanish real estate market, Barings carried out a capital increase amounting to €23.1 million last February for its Spanish subsidiary Barings Core Spain.

The reason for this reinforcement to its financial muscle resulted from the British fund’s interest to convert the company into a Socimi. The group’s intention is to combine all of the assets owned by Barings in Spain in this new vehicle and to list it on the Alternative Investment Market (MAB) over the coming months, as revealed by Eje Prime.

Original story: Eje Prime (by Jabier Izquierdo & Pilar Riaño)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Vukile Finalises Purchase of 4 Shopping Centres from Unibail for €490M

18 July 2018 – Idealista News

One of the deals of the year in the shopping centre sector is on the verge of completion. The South African fund Vukile, through its Spanish real estate vehicle Castellana Properties Socimi, is in the process of buying four shopping centres from the European giant Unibail-Rodamco for €489 million. Castellana Properties, which also acquired the Habaneras shopping centre in May, is going to add the Bahía Sur, El Faro, Los Arcos and Vallsur complexes to its asset portfolio in Spain, all of which are currently owned by the French company specialising in shopping centres.

Vukile will acquire these assets in a block purchase, although Unibail-Rodamco had been negotiating their sale with other groups, such as Lar España and Klépierre, on an individual basis. The French group, which completed its integration with the Australian firm Westfield in June, has signed a binding offer agreement with Castellana Properties for €489 million. According to sources familiar with the operation, that amount may decrease before the final sale is signed.

From now on, Castellana Properties Socimi will have the following shopping centres in its portfolio: Bahía Sur, which spans 59,300 m2 and is located in Cádiz, close to Puerto Real and San Fernando; El Faro, which spans 66,300 m2 and is located in Badajoz; Los Arcos, located in Sevilla, with a surface area of 44,000 m2; and Vallsur, located in Valladolid with a surface area of 36,000 m2.

The sale of these four assets forms part of the operation carried out last year with Barnasud, the complex acquired by Meridia Capital, a Catalan fund owned by the businessman Javier Faus, who paid Unibail-Rodamco €35 million for the asset (…).

Currently, the group led by Christophe Cuvillier has a portfolio in Spain worth €3.556 billion and receives 126.2 million visitors per year. Those assets account for 10% of its global portfolio.

Castellana Properties, on a mission to acquire shopping centres in Spain

Since its creation, Vukile has been increasing its portfolio of assets in Spain through Castellana Properties in a frenetic way. In July last year, Vukile purchased nine retail parks from Redevco Iberian Ventures, the joint venture between the real estate company specialising in retail Redevco and the funds managed by the global alternative asset management company Ares Management, for €193 million.

Before the end of the year, Castellana Properties formalised the purchase of two retail spaces located in Granada and Murcia for €65 million (…).

The only operation signed by Vukile and Castellana Properties so this year has been the purchase of the Habaneras shopping centre for more than €80 million (…).

Original story: Idealista News (by Custodio Pareja)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Juan Pepa: “The Recovery of the RE Sector Has Solid Foundations”

29 June 2018 – Eje Prime

Spain is doing well. At least that is according to the heads of the domestic and international funds that participated in the Square forum, a business meeting that is being held at the moment in Ibiza and which has brought together the leaders of the Spanish real estate sector to discuss new concepts and disruptive models.

Under the slogan “money never stops”, Javier Faus, founder and CEO of Meridia Capital, said at Square that “money will continue to be invested in the Spanish real estate sector for at least the next ten years”.

For the Catalan businessman, real estate is “growing” and he pointed out in a debate about investments at the meeting, moderated by Stephen Newman, the CEO of Savills Aguirre Newman, that “Spain has always been unique: despite the economic crises or threat of Cataluñan independence, and now the change of Government, large funds have always come here to invest”.

Of the same opinion is Juan Pepa, another of the guests at the roundtable organised by Square. Perhaps, the main driver behind the IPO of the property developer Neinor Homes, in his capacity as the former senior director of the fund Lone Star in Spain, Pepa highlighted that “the recovery of the real estate sector has solid foundations”. “You just have to look at the way in which the banks are now lending money in the residential sector: they are being very cautious”, said the now co-Managing Partner of Stoneshield.

In this regard, Faus added that in the market where his corporation dominates the most, the office segment, “we are not going to see rents return to their 2007 levels for another five years”. Therefore, according to the director, there is still scope for growth in a sector that in Barcelona and Madrid is looking very strong, taking advantage of the pull of the economic recovery and the arrival of international companies to the country.

Logistics and alternative assets, the great desires

“Now, everyone wants to invest in logistics”. That is how one international heavyweight committed to Spain summed up the target of the funds. Evan Carruthers, Managing Director of Castlelake, recognises that for his opportunistic fund, those types of assets are not attractive, given that “there is too much money looking for logistics assets”, he said.

His investment firm, which, amongst others, controls the listed property developer Aedas Homes, remains faithful to the residential market, in contrast to the other experts around the table.

For Juan Pepa and his fund, student halls, one of the most sought-after alternative assets at the moment, are very attractive “and so too are logistics assets, but we don’t touch them because we are small”.

In the appeal of halls of residence, the Argentinian business agrees with Brookfield, “the largest real estate company in the world”, according to the Spanish leader Ismael Clemente, CEO at Merlin and one of the promoters behind Square’s debut this year. The Director of Investments in Europe at the US giant, Brad Hyler, added that the problem on the continent is political instability but he did not assess in any detail the Spanish market, where his firm does not yet have a presence.

Those who are investing a lot of capital in Spain, and it seems that they will continue on this path over the coming years, are Latin American property companies and family offices. Pepa said in his intervention that “we will see much more money from Latin Americans investing in the country”.

In his closing comments on the second of three days, Clemente wanted to point out that in a real estate world in which the fashionable term is “to create experiences”, real estate “is, without doubt, the most human productive sector: we create employment and there is a healthy atmosphere between us”.

Original story: Eje Prime (by Jabier Izquierdo)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Meridia Capital Acquires an Office Building in Madrid for €26.5M

29 May 2018 – Eje Prime

Meridia Capital is entering the prime office area of Madrid. The Barcelona-based investment fund has purchased a building with a surface area of 7,500 m2 for €26.5 million, as revealed by Eje Prime. The firm, founded and led by the businessman Javier Faus (pictured below) has sealed the operation through its investment vehicle Meridia III.

The property is located close to Paseo de la Castellana, at number 4 Calle Juan Hurtado de Mendoza. The office was constructed in 1967 and underwent a renovation in 2005.

Following its purchase, Meridia plans to refurbish and improve the property with the renovation of its façade and technical facilities. In addition to offices, the property is also home to 54 parking spaces.

Original story: Eje Prime

Translation: Carmel Drake

Unibail-Rodamco Puts 4 Shopping Centres Up For Sale

14 March 2018 – Eje Prime

Unibail-Rodamco is getting rid of a package of assets that are non-strategic for the group. The French giant has put the following complexes up for sale: Los Arcos, in Sevilla; Bahía Sur, in Cádiz; Vallsur, in Valladolid, and El Faro, in Badajoz, on the basis that they do not fulfil the group’s needs in the Spanish market, according to sources close to the company speaking to Eje Prime.

According to the same sources, “the assets that the group wants to divest are profitable, but due to their location, size and strategy, the firm has decided to get rid of them”. Unibail-Rodamco has entrusted the sale of these four assets to the real estate consultancy firm Cushman&Wakefield.

Sector sources say that, initially, the Equinocio shopping centre in Madrid was also going to be put on the market alongside the other four assets, however, Unibail-Rodamco must have changed its mind at the last moment. The price that Unibail-Rodamco has set for each asset is unknown.

The sale of these four assets forms part of the operation that the firm carried out last year with Barnasud, the complex acquired by Meridia Capital, a Catalan fund owned by the businessman Javier Faus, which paid Unibail-Rodamco €35 million for the asset.

In recent years, the French group has spent a significant amount on the renovation of some of its shopping centres in Spain. The most ambitious project was the Glòries shopping centre, where the company invested €150 million on its complete transformation. In total, the transformation added 12,500 m2 of public space, spread over 8,500 m2 of new streets, 2,500 m2 of urbanisation and pavements around the site and 1,500 m2 of new green space in the 22@ neighbourhood.

Whilst Unibail-Rodamco waits to receive the green light for the expansion of one of its main shopping centres in Spain, La Maquinista, the group’s portfolio in Spain comprises 12 shopping centres, with Barcelona and Madrid as the cities that are home to the most complexes. Whilst in the Catalan capital, the company operates La Maquinista, Glòries and Splau, in Madrid it manages La Vaguada, Equinoccio and Parquesur shopping centres.

In the rest of the country, Unibail-Rodamco has one complex in Valencia, Bonaire; one in Cádiz, Bahía Sur; one in Sevilla, Los Arcos; Vallsur, in Valladolid; El Faro, in Badajoz, and one in San Sebastián, which operates under the name Garbera.

Currently, the group led by Christophe Cuvillier has a portfolio in Spain worth €3.6 billion, which receives 126.2 million visitors per year. These assets represent 10% of the firm’s global portfolio.

Double-digit growth in Spain

The company ended last year in the Spanish market with a net profit of €161 million, up by 10.3% compared to 2016, when the group earned €146 million.

In this way, Spain has become one of the highest growth countries for Unibail-Rodamco. In all of the markets in which it operates, the French company recorded a net profit of €1.35 billion in 2017, up by 5.8% compared to the previous year, when its earnings amounted to €1.27 billion (…).

Original story: Eje Prime (by Custodio Pareja)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Meridia Capital Will Debut its Socimi on the MAB in 2018

13 December 2017 – Eje Prime

The Socimi fever is never ending in the real estate sector. In fact, it is growing. The latest company to bet on the Alternative Investment Market (MAB) is Meridia Capital Partners, a Barcelona-based fund led by the veteran businessman Javier Faus, which has announced it is going to debut its Socimi on the stock market, most likely at the beginning of 2018. This incorporation will come after today’s debut on the stock market of the logistics firm P3 Logistics Parks, and after Student Properties, which will soon become the first listed real estate investment company specialising in student halls.

Meridia III, which is what the Socimi is called, owns assets worth more than €100 million, according to Cinco Días. The future listed company owns a diversified portfolio with investments in every sector, from offices and logistics to residential, retail and hotels, but focused, for the time being, in Spain’s two largest cities, Madrid and Barcelona.

Constituted last year, Meridia III was created as the third investment vehicle of the fund, created by Faus in 2001. Its most recent acquisitions include the Barnasud shopping centre, for which it paid €35 million to Unibail-Rodamco.

Moreover, the company has carried out seven capital increases in the last year and a half, amounting to €50 million in total, with the aim of financing its future plans.

In total, Meridia III has an investment capacity of €500 million, of which it has already spent more than 50%.

Original story: Eje Prime

Translation: Carmel Drake