Former CEO of Neinor Juan Velayos Joins Alantra

24 June 2019Cinco Dias

Alantra has hired Juan Velayos as a managing partner, tasked with building up a new real estate asset management business in Spain and abroad. Velayos will lead the creation of investment vehicles, while raising funds and directing investment, following the example of such major international firms as Blackstone, Brookfield and Cerberus.

Juan Velayos was Neinor Homes’ CEO until two months ago after Lone Star put him in charge of the firm when it acquired the developer from Kutxabank.

Original Story: Cinco Dias – Alfonso Simón Ruiz

Translation/Summary – Richard D. Turner

 

 

Julius Baer Acquires 3% of Metrovacesa and 8.14% of Neinor

17 April 2019 – Voz Pópuli

The Swiss bank Julius Baer has been increasing its stakes in the main Spanish property developers. The company now owns 3% of Metrovacesa through its Sicav Kairos and 8.14% of Neinor Homes, of which 6.55% is held indirectly.

As such, the Swiss bank is the second largest shareholder of the property developer created by Lone Star, behind the Israeli firm Adar Capital, which controls 28.6%.

The share purchase by Julius Baer comes a week after Neinor’s board approved the replacement of Juan Velayos as its CEO, in an environment of maximum uncertainty in terms of the achievability of the objectives set by the Spanish property developer.

Neinor’s share price has fallen by 17% so far this year, and as such, each share is worth around €10, well below its stock market debut price of €16.98.

Nevertheless, the group’s results for 2018 were strong, with revenues of €382 million, up by 70% YoY and an EBITDA of €56 million, which was almost seven times higher than in the previous year. Moreover, the property developer has already pre-sold 80% of the units it plans to deliver in 2019 and 30% of those due in 2020.

Original story: Voz Pópuli (by David Cabrera)

Translation/Summary: Carmel Drake

Neinor’s Share Price Drops by 16% As the Market Reacts to its New Strategic Plan

9 April 2019 – La Vanguardia

The share price of Neinor Homes decreased by more than 16.3% after the change in CEO and a new more conservative strategic plan was announced on Monday.

As such, Neinor’s share price has plummeted by more than 30% since the start of the year and is currently trading at around €9 per share.

The company has appointed Borja García-Egotxeaga as its new CEO, following the resignation of Juan Velayos, who will continue as a senior advisor to the property developer.

Original story: La Vanguardia

Translation/Summary: Carmel Drake

Neinor Revises its Profit Forecast for 2019 Down by 50%

9 April 2019 – Expansión

Neinor has a new CEO and is revising down its profit and construction forecasts. Borja García-Egotxeaga (pictured below), Operations Director at the property developer until now, will take over from Juan Velayos, and will oversee a new-look strategic plan.

The revised forecasts involve the firm delivering between 1,200 and 1,700 homes in 2019, compared with the 2,000 units initially planned, and achieving an EBITDA of €70 million, down by 53% compared to the initial projection of €150 million.

Neinor has also cut its forecasts for 2020, with a revised EBITDA of €100 million for next year compared with the initial forecast of €300 million, as well as new home deliveries of between 1,700 and 2,400 units, down from 4,000.

The company underlined its intention to remunerate its shareholders with dividend distributions of €200 million until 2022 and to repurchase up to €100 million in shares to offset the decrease in its share price.

Original story: Expansión (by Rebeca Arroyo)

Translation/Summary: Carmel Drake

Neinor Withdraws from the Purchase Process of ‘Solvia Desarrollos Inmobiliarios’

28 February 2019 – El Español

Neinor Homes is not going to be one of the candidates that submits an offer to acquire Solvia Desarrollos Inmobiliarios (SDI), the subsidiary of Banco Sabadell. The real estate company has been studying the operation for a while but has concluded, following its initial analysis, that the numbers do not fit with its investment philosophy.

That is according to explanations provided by Neinor’s CEO, Juan Velayos, who acknowledged that he has the sales prospectus on his desk but that at the moment, “it is not a priority” for him. We are talking about a company that has a portfolio of 300 buildable plots and which the bank led by Jaime Guardiola put up for sale in January.

Velayos himself acknowledges that he “loves the portfolio”, but he’s not so convinced by the numbers being seen in the market”. (…). “I’m afraid that it is not going to be for us from the perspective of a disciplined investor”, he said. The first valuations of SDI’s land are in the region of €1.3 billion, given that the portfolio also includes 130 real estate developments in different areas with 5,000 homes under construction.

Indeed, the price of land is one of Neinor’s obsessions. Over the last year, it has purchased 2,400 plots in which it has invested €95 million. Neinor’s CEO believes that his firm has adopted a prudent policy in this regard (…).

As a result, it looks like Neinor will not be one of the candidates to bid for Sabadell’s subsidiary in the end. The bank is awaiting possible expressions of interest for its land company. The intention is to receive binding offers before the end of this quarter and to settle the sale during the month of April.

Interested parties

In terms of the parties that are interested in SDI, they include some of the main international funds such as Cerberus, Värde, Oaktree and Blackstone (…).

The sale of SDI comes after Banco Sabadell sold Solvia, its real estate servicer for €300 million, for which it obtained capital gains of €185 million (…).

Original story: El Español (by Arturo Criado)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Metrovacesa Explores Entering the Rental Home Sector

21 February 2019 – El Confidencial

Selling new build homes is still proving to be too much of a challenge for the times that are approaching. As such, another of the listed property developers, Metrovacesa, is evaluating its entry into the rental home sector, an option that its competitor Neinor (advised by Goldman Sachs) also has on the table. According to market sources, it is the first of the large players determined to take that step to fulfil its business plans.

Since the end of last year, the large owners of residential land have acknowledged that they are open to entering the rental market, either as owners or as turnkey suppliers for investors. The challenge, nevertheless, is disembarking in this segment without their margins being affected and therefore being forced to revise their business plans, like Juan Velayos already had to do with Neinor.

For the time being, the real estate company controlled by Santander (49%) and BBVA (21%) has recognised that it is considering rental housing as “a valid strategic option”, although it has not made any firm decisions in this regard, according to public declarations made by the property developer’s Head of Corporate Development. In its case, it will always be as a business to sell to a specialist third party operating in the residential property business.

This strategic reflection affects everyone, although the speeds of adoption will vary. In the case of Aedas, it has been working for some time on different scenarios that may open the door following the end of the current cycle, in which property developers with large land portfolios have been constituted, boosted by investment funds, because its not all about land in the main markets, nor are there infinite buyers for flats costing more than €400,000.

In the case of Metrovacesa, its numbers are the most chunky, since it has the largest liquid land portfolio in Spain, worth almost €2.7 billion, on which it estimates that around 38,000 homes could be built, according to official data. In its case, like with the rest of the listed firms, the largest volume of homes will be handed over in 2020, a short-term horizon, for which conservative estimates are beginning to be made.

The lower economic growth in Spain (2.8% in 2018 and 2.2% in 2019, according to the Bank of Spain) is another indicator of the macro-economic environment that is looming. In this situation, the potential impact that it may have on sales forecasts means that “many value alternative (rental) products as options for offsetting a likely slowdown in sales”, say sources at one of the large real estate consultancy firms.

Original story: El Confidencial (by C. H.)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Neinor & Vía Célere Lead the Ranking of Forecast House Deliveries for 2019

28 January 2019 – Cinco Días

Year after year, the new major players in the house construction sector are seeing the numbers in their growth plans increase. During 2019, the largest property developers created since 2015, and some of those reborn from the ashes during this latest upwards cycle, are expected to approach their cruising speed, above all, the listed companies Neinor, Aedas and Metrovacesa, which have been called to lead the residential construction sector together with Vía Célere. Even so, the sector is still very fragmented with lots of small companies.

Neinor Homes and Vía Célere have become the two entities with the largest number of home deliveries this year. In both cases, 2,000 clients will receive the keys to their homes, according to figures provided to Cinco Días by around twenty property developers. In these forecasts, the companies have detailed three concepts for their plans for 2019: homes that they will launch onto the market, homes that they will start work on and forecast deliveries.

Neinor Homes, created in 2015, and led by Juan Velayos (…) expects to start work on 3,000 homes this year, coming close to the cruising speed that it defined during its IPO, and it will start to market another 2,000 units.

Meanwhile, Vía Célere, controlled by the US fund Värde Partners, is in the middle of integrating the assets of Aelca, the other property developer owned by Värde, which has now emptied its portfolio (…). It is the only one of the large players that is not yet listed on the stock market; its plans in that regard were postponed last year.

The listed firm Aedas, also created in 2017 with land from another US fund, in that case, Castlelake, is also perceiving an upwards turn in its numbers. This year, it will hand over 1,055 homes, start marketing 2,500 homes and start building 3,000 homes, just two years after first appearing on the stage, with David Martínez as its CEO.

Meanwhile, Metrovacesa, the other large listed company, controlled by Santander (and in which BBVA holds a minority stake), clearly leads the business plans, with up to 4,500 homes to be newly marketed and whose construction will be launched. This one-hundred-year-old real estate company, which was cleaned up by the banks following the crisis, launched its new project in 2017 with Jorge Pérez de Leza, from Grupo Lar, as the CEO.

In terms of those entities backed by funds, the rescued firm Habitat also stands out, reactivated last year by Bain Capital, and which is planning to market 3,000 homes this year. Similarly, Cerberus took control of Inmoglacier in 2017 (…). That firm declined to provide its forecasts to this newspaper, but it is also set to play a significant role, given that it has become one of the real estate arms of the US fund, one of the most active in the purchase of assets from the banks and which also owns Haya Real Estate as its servicer.

The group of twenty-odd companies consulted will hand over almost 16,000 homes this year, will start work on 34,000 units and will begin marketing another 30,000 properties. These figures reflect the enormous fragmentation in the sector, which in the last 12 months has started 103,000 homes in total, according to figures from the Ministry of Development as at October 2018.

Small specialist property developers still carry a lot of weight, unlike in other countries where large players exist. Moreover, even though the rate of residential construction has taken off since 2014, it is still well below the peak of 2006 when 865,000 building permits were granted.

In terms of the new players also boosted by the international funds, they include other developers with a high rate of house sales: AQ Acentor (owned by the German fund Aquila), which is going to put 1,700 homes up for sale; Kronos Homes (backed by several European and US investors), which will market another 1,600 homes; and ASG Homes (backed by the British firm ActivumSG), which plans to add another 1,000 homes.

In terms of the survivors of the crisis, Amenabar stands out, the Gipuzkoan company, which expects to start work on 3,608 homes next year and to hand over 1,245 units. Another of the stalwarts is the Madrilenian firm Pryconsa, owned by the Colomer family, which has already reached a high number in terms of house starts: 1,285. In more modest terms, other important firms include the Basque entity Inbisa and the new entity Áurea Homes, the residential subsidiary of the Navarran construction group ACR (…).

Original story: Cinco Días (by Alfonso Simón Ruiz)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Neinor Wants Sabadell’s Land & so is Competing with the Large Funds to Buy SDIN Desarrollo Inmobiliario

17 December 2018 – Voz Pópuli

The bidding for the land owned by Sabadell’s property developer, SDIN Desarrollo Inmobiliario, is going to start in a matter of days and none of the funds wants to miss the party. Everyone has their own interest, but there are some who may bid more strongly than others due to their close relationship with the bank. But this time, they will not be alone.

Neinor Homes wants to take a seat at the negotiating table, according to sources familiar with the operation speaking to Voz Pópuli. The property developer led by Juan Velayos is interested in obtaining the land that Sabadell owns in Madrid and Barcelona. The market classifies the plots as very good. Neinor has not made any comments in this regard.

Oaktree is also going to join the bidding – it has been a familiar face in Sabadell’s recent operations. The fund is very interested in acquiring SDIN Desarrollo Inmobiliario’s land. The plots have been valued at €1.3 billion, according to reports by El Confidencial, which have been confirmed by this newspaper.

Sources familiar with the operation have explained that the fund has a lot of interest after the joint venture that it formed with the group this summer to buy land from Iberdrola.

Cerberus

The third candidate in discord is another old hand: Cerberus. The giant also wants its share of the pie. The acquisition of the property developer Inmoglacier could be related. If it is successful with this operation, the fund could create a new “giant”, which would fulfil all of the requirements to debut on the stock market.

The bidding is expected to begin before the end of the year. It could even start this week but could also be delayed due to technical reasons (…). The intention is for this operation to be closed by the end of the first quarter of 2019 or the beginning of the second.

This operation will begin after Sabadell sold its servicer for €300 million to Intrum on Friday. Solvia has more than €30 billion in assets under management and has sold more than 94,000 properties in recent years.

Original story: Voz Pópuli (by David Cabrera)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Ghost Towns Still Haunt Spain in Property Rebound a Decade After

25 November 2018 – Bloomberg

Juan Velayos’s biggest headache these days is getting licenses fast enough to hand over new homes such as the upscale condos his company is building in the northern suburbs of Madrid.

Less than 60 miles away, Ricardo Alba’s neighborhood tells a different story about Spain’s property market. The fencing instructor is one of only two occupants at a block of apartments whose development was frozen in its tracks when banks pulled the plug on credit.

“The real estate sector’s recovery in Spain is developing at two clearly different speeds,” said Fernando Rodriguez de Acuna, director of Madrid-based real-estate consultancy R.R. de Acuna & Asociados. “While one part of the country is consolidating the recovery of the sector and even expanding, another part of the country is stagnating and is showing few signs of returning to pre-crisis levels in the medium- and long-term.”

A decade after the financial crisis hit, Spain’s real estate recovery is a tale of two markets. Key cities and tourism hot spots are enjoying a fresh boom, fueled by interest rates that are still near historic lows, an economic recovery and a banking system that’s finally cleaning up its act. Private equity firms such as Blackstone Group LP are picking up once-toxic assets worth tens of billions of dollars and parsing out what’s still of value, often using their playbook from the U.S. real estate recovery to convert properties into rentals.

But travel a little beyond the bustling centers, to the outskirts of smaller villages, and ghost towns still litter the landscape — once ambitious developments, often started on agricultural land that was converted into building lots just before the crisis hit. They still stand half-finished, unable to find a buyer.

The “Bioclimatic City La Encina” where Alba began renting an apartment two months ago is one such development. Situated on the edge of the village of Bernuy de Porreros, about 10 kilometers (6 miles) from Segovia, it promised to be Spain’s first environmentally-friendly town, providing solar energy and recycled water for 267 homes, comprised of two-, three-, and four-bedroom chalets and apartments. A faded billboard speaks of the dreams that were sold, including communal swimming pools and gardens for residents who would “live… naturally.”

Today, only about a dozen of the homes are occupied. One street has finished homes but half have their windows bricked up to discourage break-ins, locals said. Alba does have solar panels heating his water, but his electricity comes from the local network. On the far side of the development, trees sprout out of the middle of a street that was never paved. Brightly-colored pipes and cables protrude from the ground. Bags of plaster on a pallet have long hardened.

Spain’s housing crash was fueled by a speculative frenzy combined with loose restrictions and corruption that allowed plots of farmland in rural villages to be converted to feed a demand for homes that never truly existed, said Velayos, who is chief executive officer of Neinor Homes. At the height of the boom in 2006, authorities approved 865,561 new home licenses when even in an economic boom demand is no greater than 250,000 homes, he says.

Banks were handing out loans to developers who had little to lose if a project didn’t find a buyer because the money wasn’t theirs. The result was an almost total collapse of the market and close to $200 billion of soured assets.

About half of them were bought in 2012 by Sareb, a bad bank set up by the government to help lenders. Sareb spent about 50 billion euros to acquire assets that were once valued at twice that amount, mostly loans to developers and real estate. Among the latter are also 97 of the 267 properties at La Encina. None of them are currently for sale as Sareb works through legal issues and construction of many isn’t finished.

Other assets were picked up by deep-pocketed investors such as Blackstone, which has 25 billion euros invested in Spain, according to Claudio Boada, a senior adviser at the firm. The New York-based company — the world’s largest private markets investor — is doing what it did at home after the financial crisis: renting out homes instead of selling them in a bid that fewer people can afford to own. Spain had a relatively high home ownership rate before the crisis but it has since come down.

Blackstone’s Bet

“We’re holding most of what we own and looking to rent it out for the foreseeable future,” said James Seppala, head of real estate for Europe at Blackstone. “There’s a meaningful increase in demand for rental residential around the world, including in Spain, driven by home ownership rates coming down.”

Private equity investors also backed a new breed of real estate developers that are bringing a different rigor to the industry. Companies such as Neinor and Aedas Homes S.A.U. are more tech-savvy when assessing markets, and emphasize industrial production techniques to improve efficiency. They’re behind a surge in licenses for new homes to 12,172 new homes in July, the highest monthly total in a decade.

But demand is uneven: Madrid is enjoying its most robust year of home construction since 2008 with an average of 2,151 licenses awarded per month in the first seven months of the year. In Segovia, just 27 minutes from Madrid on the state-run bullet train, an average of 25 homes licenses have been approved per month in 2018, compared with an average of 180 homes a decade earlier.

The volume of residential mortgages sold in Spain peaked in late 2005 before hitting a low in 2013. Since then they have gradually picked up, with 28,755 sold in August, a seven percent annual increase.

Velayos, chief executive officer at Neinor, said business is starting to pick up beyond Madrid and Barcelona to smaller cities and the coast. His company plans to hand over 4,000 homes by 2021, more than 12 times as many as in 2017. The biggest challenge has been getting licenses approved on time. Velayos had to cut his delivery target for 2019 by a third as often understaffed local councils cause bottlenecks in the production process.

More significantly, Spain’s real estate is now funded by investor’s equity and not credit, said Velayos. Neinor was bought by private equity firm Lonestar Capital Management LLC from Kutxabank SA in 2014 and went public in March 2017. Aedas is backed by Castlelake, another private equity investor, and was floated the same year. Metrovacesa SA, owned by Spain’s biggest banks, held an initial public offering earlier this year.

Shares of all three developers have declined this year at more than twice the rate of the local stock index, a reminder that the market’s recovery remains fragile, with higher interest rates and an economic slowdown on the horizon.

For the Bioclimatic City La Encina, that means it may take longer still until Alba gets new neighbors. Prices for half-finished chalets were slashed by half, according to residents. Some now sell for as little as 16,700 euros, half the cost of a mid-range car.

Alba doubts such cuts will lure buyers. Then again, that may not be a bad thing, he says in summing up the development’s advantages: “It’s very peaceful.”

Original story: Bloomberg (by Charlie Devereux)

Edited by: Carmel Drake

Neinor & Ática Pull Out of the Bidding for the Mestalla Plots

14 November 2018 – Eje Prime

Neinor and Ática have pulled out of the bidding for the Mestalla plots. The two property developers have decided not to formalise their interest in the land that Valencia Football Club has put up for sale during the period for the presentation of non-binding offers, which terminated on Tuesday.

In the case of the property developer led by Juan Velayos, the listed company has decided not to formalise its interest due to the high percentage of land assigned for tertiary use that VFC has put on the market; it is not offering the option for interested parties to bid for each use separately. Of the 100,000 m2 in total, approximately 40% will have to be used for commercial purposes or as offices or hotel rooms.

The withdrawal of Grupo Ática, by contrast, is based on the complexity of the operation. In its case, the candidates, which were thought to include a fund as a financial partner for the Valencia-based property developer, have considered the transaction to be too high risk, according to sources speaking to València Plaza.

The candidates that are still aspiring to take over the land include the Valencian investor group Atitlán, the fund Cerberus, the property developer Aedas and the Valencian construction company Bertolín. Nevertheless, Deloitte is planning a new bidding period during which the candidates who want to continue in the process will have to convert their bids into binding offers, a commitment that they will have to make before the end of the year, on the basis of what has been seen to date.

Until now, the club has not set a price for its plots, but it estimates that the land is worth around €120 million.

Original story: Eje Prime

Translation: Carmel Drake