Intu Considers Selling its 4 Shopping Centres in Spain to Pay Off Debt

6 March 2019 – Expansión

The British retail giant, Intu Properties, is considering putting up for sale its real estate assets in Spain in order to pay off some of its debt. The company’s stock market value has plummeted to €2 billion in recent months, and its debt amounts to more than €5 billion, following two unsuccessful takeover bids for the company last year.

The firm has reportedly received expressions of interest for its Spanish portfolio, which is worth €1 billion in total, from several large international investors. The assets in question are Xanadú (Madrid), Puerto Venecia (Zaragoza), Parque Principado (Asturias) and a mega-project currently under construction in Málaga.

No formal sales process has been initiated yet but a number of unsolicited offers have been received. Nevertheless, legal sources state that the firm would have to offer the right of first refusal to its shareholder partners in each case, namely CPPIB in the case of Puerto Venecia and Parque Principado, and Nuveen (previously TH Real Estate) in the case of Xanadú, before opening any sales process to the wider market.

Other potential suitors include Castellana Properties (the firm backed by the South African investor Vukile) and the Slovenian group J&T.

Original story: Expansión (by Roberto Casado & Rebeca Arroyo)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Sonae Sierra & JT Purchase 3 Shopping Centres in Spain for €485M

19 December 2018 – Eje Prime

Sonae Sierra and the Slovak fund JT have closed the purchase of three Spanish shopping centres that had been put on the market by the Portuguese group itself and CBRE GI. The two companies have created a joint venture to acquire Gran Casa (Zaragoza), Max Center (Vizcaya) and Valle Real (Cantabria) for €485 million, as Eje Prime revealed in August.

Boosted by the property developer Peter Korbačka, JT Real Estate is going to control 87% of the joint venture, and Sonae will be the owner of the remaining 12%, as well as the manager of the three centres. To date, the assets had been owned 50/50 by the Portuguese group and CBRE GI.

The three commercial complexes are currently immersed in projects to renovate and improve their commercial mixes “to provide experiences to our visitors and generate value for our stakeholders” explained sources at Sonae Sierra.

The operation that has been signed is in line with the Portuguese group’s current strategy of “reaching agreements with large international investors who are looking for an operating partner with the aim of increasing the value of the assets acquired and generating value for investors”, say sources at the company.

Pedro Caupers, Investment Director at Sonae Sierra, believes that this agreement with JT “will be the start of a long-term relationship that may extend to include new projects, both in Spain and in other European countries”. Meanwhile, Peter Korbačka has said that “Spain is one of the most robust markets within the real estate sector in Europe”.

With its headquarters in Bratislava, JT Real Estate is one of the main real estate groups in Slovakia. The company, which started life in 1996, currently employs around 300 people and operates in various segments. This will be its first transaction in the Spanish market.

Meanwhile, Sonae Sierra administers and controls 46 shopping centres in Europe and Latin America, with a gross leasable area (GLA) of 1.9 million m2 and a market value of €7 billion. The company operates in twelve countries around the world and, in 2017, 438 million people visited its complexes.

Original story: Eje Prime

Translation: Carmel Drake

Slovak Developer J&T Wins Bid for Acquisition of GranCasa and Two Other Shopping Centres

7 August 2018

The Bratislava-based firm has allied itself with Sonae in the acquisition of the Zaragoza complex and others in Bilbao and Santander.

The Slovak real estate firm J&T is preparing for its arrival in Spain with the purchase of three shopping centres, including GranCasa, Zaragoza, in an operation with the Portuguese group Sonae Sierra, estimated at 500 million euros. Sources in the sector confirmed yesterday that J&T, in alliance with Sonae, had outbid the German company ECE for the three complexes and that it will finalise its purchase of the portfolio after completing the corresponding due diligence. The assets also include the Max Center in Bilbao and the Valle Real in Santander.

Sonae, under pressure by its partner in the three centres, CBRE Global Investors, was obligated to sell, though maintaining its intention of continuing to hold a stake. The newspaper Expansión reported yesterday that the Bratislava-based J&T owns 90% of the joint venture created for the purpose with Sonae, while Sonae owns the remaining 10%. Their proposal is said to value the portfolio at approximately 525 million euros, a figure that exceeds ECE’s competing bid. Sonae declined to issue a statement regarding the potential acquisition, limiting itself to saying that “we only discuss finalised transactions.”

The Portuguese group Sonae Sierra took over 50% of GranCasa in 2002, five years after its inauguration, and has been responsible for its management since 2003. The shopping centre located in the Actur, Zaragoza, has more than 200,000 square meters, 80,000 of which are for commercial activity where 170 stores are in operation. There is also a Hipercor, which is not included in the transaction.

GranCasa recently underwent a 12-million-euro investment in a new leisure and restaurant area, which was inaugurated in June. The new space, which measures 10,132 square meters, increased the mall’s offerings to a total of 21 restaurants and five kiosks, complementing existing leisure facilities that include a cinema and gym. The shopping mall’s managers noted that major restaurant chains are or will be maintaining a presence there, including VIPs Smart, Gino’s, The Strad Club, KFC, Muerde la Pasta, Fran Beer and Frutolandia, among others.

Referring to that investment, Alexandre Pessegueiro, head of Asset Management at Sonae Sierra, said GranCasa’s new leisure and restaurant area “is a clear example of how to anticipate changes in consumer models in a sector such as restaurants, in which customers demand an increasing level of differentiation and quality.”

The other two complexes included in the transaction are Max Center, a shopping centre that opened in Bilbao in 1997, and which underwent remodelling in 2000. The shopping mall tenants include Inditex, H&M, Cortefiel, Foster’s Hollywood and La Tagliattela. The centre also has a cinema (Cinesa) and a leisure space next door, Max Ocio.

The third asset is Valle Real, a commercial centre in Santander that opened in 1994 and that in addition to having some of the above brands as tenants, also has a hypermarket of the French chain Carrefour.

The Buyers

J&T Real Estate is a well-regarded Slovak real estate company that has 21 years of experience. The company is headquartered in Bratislava, has 300 employees and a presence in five countries.

Sonae Sierra, which will hold onto 10% of the group, provides services to investors and develops real estate projects anchored in the retail sector. It owns more than 40 shopping centres with a market value of around 7 billion euros and has 83 managed and/or leased shopping centres with 2.5 million square meters of gross leasable area and about 9,300 stores. Sonae currently works with more than 20 co-investors and joint ventures, associating with operators and fund managers for each venture.

Original Story: Heraldo – Luis H. Menéndez

Photo: Guillermo Mestre

Translation: Richard Turner