Vía Célere Buys Land In Madrid, Sevilla & Valladolid For €36.1M

21 September 2017 – Expansión

Vía Célere, the real estate company acquired by the fund Värde Partners in February, has completed a new land purchase. Specifically, the property developer led by Juan Antonio Gómez-Pintado has bought three new plots of land, located in Getafe (Madrid), Sevilla and Valladolid, for a combined total of €36.1 million.

The greatest investment has been made in the Andalucían capital, where Vía Célere has acquired 150,000 m2 of buildable land, which will allow it to construct 1,700 family homes. It has spent €26.5 million on those plots.

In the case of Madrid, Vía Célere has paid €7.6 million for 21,000 m2 in Getafe, with the aim of building 158 family homes, whilst in Valladolid, the company has bought 4,400 m2 of land, for €2 million, where it will construct up to 39 homes.

With these latest purchases, Vía Célere has now spent €130 million buying up land in 2017, which has allowed it to expand its portfolio by almost 400,000 m2. Currently, the real estate company backed by Värde owns around 1.35 million m2 of residential land, making it one of the largest owners of this kind of asset in Spain.

Original story: Expansión (by Rocío Ruiz)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Intu Wants To Open Europe’s Largest Shopping Centre In Alcobendas

23 February 2017 – Mis Locales

The Spanish capital could soon become home to the largest shopping centre in Europe. The company Intu is working on a new mega-project.

The goal of the British company is to construct the largest shopping centre in Europe. The exact location will be in the Escobares I sector of Alcobendas and it will cover a surface area of 500,000 m2. It will be larger than all of the shopping and leisure centres constructed to date and will take over from Puerto Venecia (located in Zaragoza) as the largest shopping centre on the continent (it has a surface area of 206,000 m2).

Intu is currently engaged in tough negotiations with the owners of the land, including Sareb, and in turn, with the property developer, Levitt-Bosch Aymerich. The multi-national is demanding that ownership of the site be transferred, but it is only intending to make the payment once the property has been constructed. This proposal is causing problems and no agreement has yet been reached regarding the form of payment or the sales price.

Intu is one of the largest shopping centre managers in Europe. In Spain, besides Puerto Venecia, it also operates Intu Asturia in Oviedo and four others, in conjunction with Eurofunds.

Original story: Mis Locales

Translation: Carmel Drake

The Cerecedas Seek Financial Partner To Buy 30% Of Procisa

3 June 2015 – El Confidencial

Procisa, the real estate company made famous for developing the luxury La Finca estate is looking for a financial partner to provide the financial resources that it needs to continue with its other developments.

At a time when the interest of international funds in the Spanish real estate market is being called into question, one of the country’s iconic property developers is attracting interest from several overseas investors. Procisa, the company owned by the Cereceda family, which was made famous for its development of the luxury La Finca estate, is negotiating the sale of up to 30% of its share capital and is holding talks with several institutional investors.

The process, which is being managed by N+1, has been on the radar of the large players in the sector for several months – they see this as an opportunity to invest in a company that owns some of the most important plots of land in the capital.

After initially exploring the option of an IPO, which was dismissed following analysis with Citi, the real estate company has made progress in its talks with a small number of funds to which it has proposed the deal, with the clear message that their role will be limited to one of financial partner.

In line with the deals closed by other companies in the sector – GMP sold a 30% stake to GIC, and Acciona agreed to allow KKR to join as an investor – Procisa plans to form an alliance with a major investor, which will take a minority stake, but which will provide the financial resources the RE company needs to continue with its promotions.

N+1 has knocked on the doors of giants such as Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Cerberus, Bank of America, KKR and Blackstone to propose the deal to them. They could end up acquiring a stake of less than 30%, but this would be represent a historic milestone for this family company, led by Susana Cereceda, following death of her father, Luis Cereceda García, five years ago.


A RE giant, heavily dependent on bank financing

With assets of €900 million, own funds of almost €200 million, debt amounting to €600 million and losses of €13 million in 2013 (the last year for which official results are available), the company is looking for a financial partner, after it reached an agreement with its lender banks last year to accommodate a loan amounting to €400 million, dating back to December 2009 and after it consummated the merger with Agruva and Luarce, some of the other companies through which the Cereceda family has constructed its real estate empire.


During these talks, the banks imposed a series of conditions on Procisa, which explains why the Cereceda family is now keen to find a financial partner that will allow it to resume its activity, after years of decreasing results and the creditors’ sword of Damocles hanging over its head.


As well as La Finca, Procisa is also the owner of Parque Empresarial La Finca, an office complex on Calle Cardenal Marcelo Spínola (Madrid), as well as several office buildings spread across the capital and it is planning the development of two replicas of its famous Somosaguas development in La Romana (Dominican Republic) and Cartaya (Huelva).

Original story: El Confidencial (by Ruth Ugalde)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Lone Star Becomes The Largest Property Developer In Spain

18 May 2015 – Expansión

Strategy / The US firm, which was one of the first investors to arrive in Spain, has become the largest owner of land in the country after purchasing the real estate arm of Kutxabank. It also owns loans relating to large hotels and shopping centres.

It is neither a vulture fund nor an opportunistic fund. Lone Star is a patriotic fund. That is the mantra repeated by Juan Pepa (pictured above) at every forum he attends. The 37-year old Argentinian, former polo player, is the head of Lone Star in Spain and Portugal, the private equity fund that last week took over the baton from Vallehermoso, Reyal Urbis and Martinsa Fadesa, to become the largest property developer in the country. “Opportunistic funds are patriots because there was a need to bring confidence to Spain and we did it”, explained Juan Pepa two weeks ago at a real estate conference in Madrid.

Last week, Lone Star formalised the purchase of Neinor, the real estate arm of Kutxabank, with assets worth €1,000 million. Of this amount, around €590 million correspond to homes that are finished or under construction. The rest relates to land, which will be added to other land acquired from banks and property developers (€300 million). The fund aims to promote more than 3,000 homes each year; this year it will invest €1,000 million on the purchase of land. But, who is this new property developer?

This private equity firm was created in 1995 by the Irish-American John Grayken. Since its creation, it has launched 14 funds with a total volume of $54,000 million. Its investments range from properties, to debt, to other financial assets.

In the case of the real estate business, Lone Star’s first investments focused on Canada, and so it became a global investor in 1997. It closed its first transaction in the Spanish market in May 2014. However, by that point, Juan Pepa and his team had already been studying the market for several years. The first in-roads were made between 2010 and 2011, with Pepa’s monthly visits to Spain. During his stays in Madrid, the director met with advisors and managers of large real estate companies and although the sector was at the peak of its crisis, he told them that he wanted to purchase assets in Spain. “He made offers for buildings under development and for companies, but none of those deals were closed, due to a lack of agreement in terms of price. The offers were aggressive”, explained one of the advisors who often works with the US fund.

In the end, Lone Star’s first transaction in the Spanish real estate sector was through debt. The company purchased a portfolio (called Octopus) in May 2014 containing non-performing loans from the bank Eurohypo for €3,500 million (two thirds of its nominal value). These loans were secured by numerous properties, including several shopping centres: the H2O in Rivas (Madrid); Zielo in Pozuelo (Madrid); Dolce Vita in A Coruña; MN4 in Valencia; and hotel debt, including the Ritz and Gran Melia Fénix, both in Madrid.

It was not its first bid for a real estate portfolio. In the summer of 2013, Lone Star was about to purchase the Bull portfolio, the first package sold by Sareb. In the end, the portfolio was awarded to the fund HIG, much to the upset of Lone Star’s managers.


For the management of its assets, Lone Star relies on a company called Hudson Advisors (also owned by the founder of Lone Star). Headquartered in Madrid, Hudson, “manages, administers and adds value” to the investments made by Lone Star. Between the teams at Hudson and Lone Star itself, the fund has more than one hundred employees looking for opportunities in the Iberian Peninsula, since the US fund is not only interested in Spain. In April, it bought the Lusort Vilamoura complex in the Algarve (Portugal) for €200 million.

After purchasing Neinor, Lone Star has joined its teams together in a single office building located on the Paseo de la Castellana in Madrid. The most senior executives from the US fund attended the opening, just a few weeks ago; as well as enjoying the party at the new headquarters of Lone Star in Spain, they also visited some of the assets that the fund has foreclosed from the Octopus portfolio.

The ambitious commitment by Lone Star has resulted in a revolution in the sector, which does not doubt that it will provoke a ‘pull effect’ on other international investors, which will start to see land in Spain in a different light.

Original story: Expansión (by Rocío Ruiz)

Translation: Carmel Drake