Spain’s Socimis Have Properties Worth €1.2bn up for Sale

8 December 2017 – Expansión

Hispania and Lar are looking for buyers for their respective office portfolios, whilst Colonial plans to divest Axiare’s non-strategic assets if its takeover bid goes ahead.

On the verge of starting their fifth year of life, Spain’s large listed real estate investment companies (Socimis) are now working on a new phase. After spending their first few years growing in size, Merlin, Hispania, Lar España, Axiare and Colonial (which was converted into a Socimi in June) are currently focusing on becoming large real estate companies, each specialising in a different asset type.


Such is the case of Hispania. The company made its debut on the stock market in March 2014, with the financial backing of investors of the calibre of George Soros and John Paulson. At the time, Hispania proposed a lifespan of six years, spending the first three years focusing on building a diversified portfolio of rental properties and the remaining three years managing and subsequently divesting them.

In February, having completed the first three years, the firm’s shareholders decided to: continue with the initial plan of liquidating the company in 2020, focus on hotel assets for the next few years (in June, it became the largest hotel owner in Spain, with 38 establishments) and divest the rest of its properties. In this way, it began with the individual sale of residential assets, and it launched a block sales process for its offices.

In August, Hispania reached an agreement with the insurance company Swiss Life to sell it the portfolio of offices. Nevertheless, three months later, at the height of the Catalan sovereignty challenge, the Socimi decided to postpone the sale until next year. Now that the negotiations with Swiss Life failed, sources in the sector bet that Hispania will not launch a new block sale but rather will opt to divest the portfolio, worth €500 million in total, building by building. In fact, the Socimi managed by Azora already sold its first property in June, the future headquarters of the law firm Uría, for more than €37 million (around €7,800/m2).

Lar España

Hispania’s offices are going to come onto the market at the same time as a portfolio owned by another large Socimi. Lar España, whose major shareholder is the fund manager Pimco, has hung up the “For sale” sign on the office buildings it owns (three in Madrid and one in Barcelona) for €170 million. In addition, Lar will divest other assets regarded by the company as non-strategic, such as logistics warehouses and some medium-sized spaces, worth another €100 million.

These new divestments come in addition to the €110 million that the Socimi hopes to obtain from the sale of the 44 homes that comprise the luxury residential complex Lagasca 99 (which are being sold for an average price of €14,000/m2).

In total, Lar España expects to generate €380 million, which the Socimi managed by the real estate company Grupo Lar, will use to increase its portfolio of shopping centres.


On 13 November, Colonial completed its entry into Axiare’s share capital, started in October 2016, with the launch of a takeover bid for 100% of the company, with the aim of creating a large Socimi specialising in offices, worth almost €10 billion.

The CEO of Colonial has already revealed that he would sell the non-strategic assets worth around €300 million from that portfolio, which spans 1.7 million m2, to finance the takeover of Axiare.

Currently, Axiare’s portfolio comprises more than a dozen industrial assets, worth around €340 million (…).

Original story: Expansión (by Rocío Ruiz)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Hispania’s Profits Rose By 35% In H1 2017 To €185M

28 July 2017 – Expansión

Hispania, the Socimi in which George Soros owns a stake, recorded net profits of €185 million during the first half of 2017, which represents an increase of 35%. It invested €100 million during that period.

At the end of the first half of the year, the company’s portfolio was worth €2,339 million, which represents an increase of 10%. The company owns 39 hotels, with a total of 11,200 rooms and is consolidating its position as the largest owner of hotels in Spain.

In addition, the Socimi owns 25 office buildings with a combined surface area of more than 153,000 m2 and a plot of land where two additional buildings measuring more than 33,000 m2 are going to be constructed. It also owns five residential buildings, which contain almost 730 homes.


Hispania is planning its liquidation in 2020 and has already started to implement its divestment policy. Specifically, during the first half of the year, Hispania sold the Aurelio Menéndez office building for €37.5 million and continued to sell off its homes.

Specifically, during the first six months of the year, it sold 25 homes in Isla del Cielo and Sanchinarro (Madrid), generating a net profit of 35% compared with the original investment.

Original story: Expansión (by R. Arroyo)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Reyal Urbis Files For Spain’s Second Largest Bankruptcy

21 June 2017 – Cinco Días

The long-awaited death of Reyal Urbis is approaching. The real estate company has failed to convince a majority of its creditors to accept the proposed agreement presented by the entity chaired by Rafael Santamaría, which included significant discounts of between 80% and 90% of a total debt balance amounting to €4,600 million. It is the second largest liquidation ever in history, following that of the property developer Martinsa-Fadesa, which folded with a debt of around €7,000 million.

The proposed agreement presented by the company has not received sufficient backing given that in the case of the ordinary debt, it only obtained favourable votes from 32.7% of the creditors; another 37.79% voted against the proposal and the remaining 29% abstained, according to legal sources. In the case of the syndicated loan, the votes did not reach the 75% threshold either.

The bankruptcy administrator, namely, the audit firm BDO, is obliged to communicate the result of the vote that takes place in Commercial Court number 6 in Madrid, where the judge will issue the proposed liquidation ruling, with an equity black hole of €3,436 million.

The liquidation of Reyal Urbis was finalised after its major creditors, including Sareb and the opportunistic funds that had acquired some of the liabilities in recent weeks, rejected the proposed agreement, as disclosed by Cinco Días at the end of May.

The company has liabilities worth more than €3,200 million corresponding to a syndicated loan, in which Sareb holds a crucial stake, with more than €1,000 million proceeding from loans from the former savings banks. In addition, Reyal Urbis owed almost €900 million in ordinary debt and more than €400 million to the Tax Authorities. In fact, the real estate company is the largest debtor on the list of overdue debtors published by the Tax Authorities.

The property developer is dying just a decade after its merger which saw it become one of the large real estate companies in the country, together with Martinsa-Fadesa, Colonial and Astroc. Its President, Rafael Santamaría, a technical architect by training, has spent his whole life working for the family business. He was appointed CEO in 1985 and took over from his father as President in 1997. In 2006, he starred in one of the largest deals in the sector, after acquiring Urbis from Banesto for €3,300 million.

But that joy was short-lived. The burst of the real estate bubble dragged him down, just like it did Martinsa, Habitat and Nozar. The company filed for voluntary creditors’ bankruptcy in February 2013 after Sareb, BBVA and Santander refused to refinance its debt.

Santamaría’s last ditch attempt to save the company came with an aggressive liquidation proposal. That plan included discounts of 90% on the ordinary loans. In the case of the syndicated loan, the offer included the “dación en pago” of assets, which would have meant accepting discounts of around 80%. In turn, the Tax Authorities negotiated a unilateral payment plan for the €400 million owed.

That aggressive plan did not seduce the creditors, who have seen the possibility of recovering their capital go up in smoke, choosing instead the option of liquidating the company’s remaining assets, which are currently worth almost €1,200 million.

Original story: Cinco Días (by Alfonso Simón Ruiz)

Translation: Carmel Drake

BBVA Sells 9 Properties From CX RE Fund For €37M

2 June 2017 – Europa Press

BBVA Asset Management has sold nine properties from the CX Propietat real estate fund for €37 million in total. That price is 20.96% lower than the most recent appraisal value of the aforementioned assets.

According to a statement filed by the asset manager with Spain’s National Securities and Exchange Commission (CNMV), this sale represents an “important step forward” in the liquidation of the CX Propietat fund. The fund filed for liquidation in September 2013, before BBVA acquired the former Catalan savings bank Catalunya Banc (CX).

The asset manager is going to continue making “its best efforts” to facilitate the complete liquidation of this fund “as soon as possible”, said the company to the supervisor.

According to sources at BBVA, once the sales process for the fund’s entire portfolio has been completed, the definitive liquidation value will be calculated.

Original story: Europa Press

Translation: Carmel Drake

Sareb Rejects Reyal’s Proposed Payment Plan

1 June 2017 – Expansión

Reyal Urbis has taken another step closer to the precipice. Sareb, its main creditor, has voted against the agreement presented by the property developer to circumvent its liquidation. Yesterday, the deadline set by the judge for Reyal’s creditors to sign up to the proposed agreement came to an end and, according to market sources, the public company has rejected the plan submitted by Reyal Urbis, which filed for bankruptcy four years ago.

Sareb, the real estate company’s main creditor, with debt amounting to €1,000 million, had already expressed its doubts regarding Reyal’s payment plan. In the end, it has opposed the plan because it considers that the proposed discounts (on the debt), of between 88% and 93%, are too high and that the proposal to free up assets that are securing certain loans only serve to benefit Rafael Santamaría, the company’s President and majority shareholder.

Reyal’s other major creditors include Santander and funds such as Värde Partners, which are now working to find out the current value of the company’s assets, with a view to its possible liquidation. The US fund has been acquiring some of Reyal’s debt from overseas entities over the last few months and is now negotiating the purchase of more land, as Expansión revealed on 22 May. Värde’s aim is to take ownership of some of the real estate company’s plots of land and whereby strengthen its commitment to Spanish property, which has led it to buy Vía Célere and Aelca in recent times.

Another key player in the creditor pool is the Tax Authority, to which Reyal Urbis owes more than €400 million. The real estate company has offered to pay this debt using the funds it obtains from the sale of its assets, but it is proposing a very long term horizon.

At the end of 2016, Reyal Urbis’ liabilities amounted to €4,660 million and the group had negative own funds of €3,449 million. The assets, most of which are plots of land to be developed, were worth €1,170 million and its annual revenues amounted to less than €9 million. Reyal Urbis was created in 2007 following the merger of Reyal, led by Santamaría, and Urbis, the real estate arm of Banesto.

Original story: Expansión (by Rocío Ruiz)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Reyal Urbis Faces Key Week In Its Effort To Avoid Liquidation

29 May 2017 – Expansión

Reyal Urbis is facing a key week for determining whether or not it will receive sufficient backing from its banks and creditors to allow it to emerge from the bankruptcy in which the real estate company has been immersed since 2013 and whereby avoid liquidation.

The deadline for the creditors of the company, which is controlled and chaired by Rafael Santamaría, to communicate whether or not they accept the debt payment plan proposed by the firm, is this Wednesday 31 May.

The Tax Authority is one of Reyal Urbis’ largest creditors, given that the company owes around €400 million to the public purse, as well as to Sareb and the main financial institutions.

In the event that the real estate company does not obtain sufficient backing from its creditors, it would be forced to file for liquidation. That would constitute the second disappearance of a large real estate company after Martinsa Fadesa’s demise.

Reyal Urbis owes debt amounting to €3,572 million to the banks alone, and at the end of the first quarter of this year, it reported negative equity of €3,436 million.

The plan through which the company hopes to ensure its viability involves agreeing a unilateral payment plan with the Tax Authorities, different from the one offered to the other creditors.

The real estate company is proposing paying off the debt it owes to the financial institutions using real estate assets, an offer that, given the depreciations in values, would represent a discount (on the debt).

Overcoming paralysis

By emerging from bankruptcy, Reyal is also looking to overcome the paralysation that it has been immersed in for the last four years, during which time it has not constructed a single home and has barely managed to sell any assets or manage the hotels for rent in its real estate portfolio, covering 123,000 m2.

In this way, at the end of 2016, the company reported losses of €155 million, similar to the previous year.

In addition, Reyal Urbis’ bankruptcy procedure has been delayed, given that, at the end of 2015, Commercial Court number 6 in Madrid rejected the proposed agreement that had been presented by the company at the beginning of that year. After appealing to the Provincial Court, the real estate company managed to get the proposal agreed and processed more than a year later, at the beginning of 2017.

Original story: Expansión

Translation: Carmel Drake

Hispania Plans To Sell Its Offices For €520M+ Before Year End

29 May 2017 – Cinco Días

Hispania Activos Inmobiliarios has started the process to sell off its portfolio of offices, according to a statement made on Thursday by Cristina García-Peri (pictured above), the Socimi’s CEO, speaking at the real estate investment forum, which is being held in conjunction with the SIMA housing fair in Madrid.

“Although we have until 2020, we have accelerated the sale of our offices. Now is the right time”, said García-Peri, who plans to divest these assets before the end of the year. The idea is that the Socimi, which is managed by the Azora group and whose largest shareholder is a fund owned by George Soros, will sell the office portfolio as a whole, with the exception of a few individual transactions, such as Uría Menéndez’s new headquarters in Madrid.

Hispania’s CEO said that overseas investors are the main potential candidates, but she did not rule out Spanish Socimis. “There are lots of buyers. International investors are still interested in Spanish real estate”, she said in a statement. In terms of the sales price, the Socimi hopes to exceed the portfolio’s current valuation, which stands at €520 million, according to the company’s most recent presentation.

This Socimi is undergoing a complete transformation, given that it is now specialising in hotel ownership and by 2020, when it is planning its own liquidation, it hopes to have become a hotel-only vehicle, so that it may be sold to another company. “What we will be looking for primarily is a change in control of the company”, said García-Peri, to allow those shareholders who wish to exit the share capital to do so.

In addition, the company is immersed in a transaction involving its residential assets, which involves selling the properties individually in the retail market.

Original story: Cinco Días (by Alfonso Simón Ruiz)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Värde Buys Up Reyal Urbis’ Debt To Exchange For Its Assets

22 May 2017 – Expansión

The American fund Värde Partners, which owns the property developers Vía Célere and Aelca, has become one of the main creditors of the real estate company Reyal Urbis. It is negotiating to take over more loans, which it plans to exchange for land.

The fund Värde Partners is competing with Lone Star to become the largest residential investor in Spain. The fund, which first entered the Spanish market in 2013, is progressing with its investments in the country and has placed its focus on one of the most important property developers from the previous boom: Reyal Urbis.

The real estate company emerged from the fusion between the construction company Reyal, owned by Rafael Santamaría, and Urbis, the real estate arm of Banesto, and it filed for creditor bankruptcy in 2013. With a liability of €4,660 million and negative own funds of €3,449 million, the company is negotiating against the clock to obtain support for its proposed agreement, which will allow it to avoid liquidation. The deadline to secure the backing of at least 75% of the creditor mass expires on 31 May.

In this process, which affects large banks such as Santander, Sareb (which is owed €1,000 million) and the Tax Authorities (which are owed more than €400 million), a new player has emerged: the fund Värde Partners. According to sources close to the operation, the fund has acquired a significant amount of Reyal’s debt, to place itself amongst the real estate company’s largest creditors. (…).

The purchase of this debt, which is backed by mortgage guarantees, allows Värde to have rights of Reyal’s real estate portfolio that, according to the latest appraisal, has a market value of €1,170 million. Of that figure, €863 million corresponds to land and finished assets (it owns 217 homes in stock).

After four years of bankruptcy and more than five years of losses, Reyal Urbis’ main asset is its land portfolio. The company owns plots of land spread across 30 cities, the majority of which is buildable (planning permission has been granted for it). This type of asset fits perfectly with the US fund’s investment profile, which owns two of the most active property developers in the country at the moment: Vía Célere and Aelca. (…).


Reyal Urbis is currently proposing a series of discounts to the outstanding debt that it owes (…), but its creditors are not convinced by the high level of those discounts and according to sources close to the process, they are currently leaning towards rejecting the proposal, which would mean that company would end up filing for liquidation. (…).

However, the company’s entry into liquidation would not put a brake on Värde’s plans, given that it could acquire the assets that it is interested in a subsequent process. If Reyal does not obtain the support of its creditors, it will follow in the wake of its former competitor Martinsa Fadesa, which is in the process of liquidation and which is selling off its assets through periodic auctions.

During the first quarter of 2017, Reyal Urbis recorded revenues of €8.9 million, of which €45,000 came from its residential department (which, in turn, generated expenses of €421,000). These revenues are 2% higher than those obtained during the same period in 2016. During 2017, Reyal has so far recorded losses of €34.35 million. Since 2013, when the company filed for bankruptcy, it has accumulated losses amounting to €1,847 million.

Original story: Expansión (by Rocío Ruiz)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Martinsa’s Creditors Put 45 New Assets Up For Sale

30 April 2017 – Expansión

A year and a half after its liquidation was approved, the property developer Martinsa Fadesa is still working on the process, with the aim of returning to its creditors at least a small part of the more than €6,000 million that the company owed when it filed for bankruptcy.

To that end, the heads of the process have launched several auctions of the assets that Martinsa still owns, including homes in some of its macro-developments and plots of land for development, amongst others.

The latest initiative in this sense has been the creation of a special lot containing 45 assets, including finished homes, others under construction and a plot of land for development.

Highlights include a 2-bedroom home in Ayamonte (Huelva), measuring 95 m2, that has a terrace, private garden and parking space, which has an asking price of €108,290.

In Paterna (Valencia), Martinsa is selling homes and parking spaces alike at its Mas del Rosari development. For example, the real estate company is selling a social housing flat, measuring 90 m2, for a minimum price of €120,020.

This lot, the seventh to be created by the liquidators of the real estate company, also includes buildable land in El Saboyal de San Mateo de Gállego (Zaragoza), measuring almost 10,000 m2 and with a buildability of approximately 7,020 m2 for the construction of 39 semi-detached family homes. The initial price of the plot for auction amounts to €2.3 million.

To carry out the sale of these and other assets, those responsible for the liquidation, have created a website (, through which bids can be made for the real estate company’s plots of land, homes, storerooms and parking spaces. In the case of this latest batch, the deadline for participating is 8 May.

According to the latest data presented by Martinsa Fadesa, at the end of 2014 (the company formally requested to file for liquidation in March 2015), the hole in its balance sheet amounted to €4,603 million. Specifically, it owned assets worth €2,392 million to cover total liabilities of €6,995 million, of which €3,200 million corresponded to debt with financial institutions.

In December 2014, the real estate company chaired by its largest shareholder, Fernando Martín, presented a new proposal for its repayments after failing to fulfil the schedule set out in its first plan, approved in 2011, and which allowed it to emerge from the largest creditor bankruptcy ever seen in Spain. Then, Martinsa Fadesa had been negotiating with its financial creditors, including Sareb, CaixaBank, Popular and Abanca, for more than a year regarding a repayment plan for the more than €6,600 million that it owed.

Original story: Expansión (by Rocío Ruiz)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Martinsa Fadesa Puts 300 RE Assets Up For Auction

6 February 2017 – Expansión

The bankruptcy administrators of Martinsa Fadesa are getting ready to initiate successive notarial auctions of various real estate assets owned by the firm, as well as of several of the companies in the Group that have filed for liquidation.

These auctions will be carried out through the auction portal of the Official State Gazette (BOE), according to information provided by the current managers.

To this end, the administrators of the company will publish information sheets about the assets to be auctioned, with the aim of providing as much information as possible to users about the assets in question.

According to sources close to the process, the liquidation of Martinsa Fadesa may be completed in 2017 once the creditors have been returned “the present value” of the assets that they financed.

The jewels in Martinsa Fadesa’s crown included a group of buildings and plots of land in Paris, as well as assets located in Poland and Morocco.

The liquidation of the company, which was one of the largest real estate companies in the country during the boom years, involved the sale of assets at discounts of around 30% on their respective book values.

It also included the auctioning off of assets and the assignation of unsold assets to creditors so that they could choose whether to carry out “daciónes en pago” or sell the assets in return for cash.

The liquidation process, which was agreed in March 2015, was structured into three phases.

The first phase included the company’s most liquid assets, particularly those located in Madrid and Barcelona and along the coast.

During the second phase, the bankruptcy administrators put mortgaged assets on the market, whose revenues were used to repay those mortgages.

The third phase was orientated towards the repayment of debt lent by the ordinary creditors with assets not sold during the first phase. Once completed, the other assets were assigned to the creditors that so desired them through a notarial procedure.

The real estate company’s liquidation process began before the summer of 2015, after the ruling was issued by the judge in Mercantil Court number 1 in La Coruña.

And, even through on 11 March 2011, an agreement was approved for Martinsa to repay debt amounting to €7,200 million over a 10 year period, without any discounts, the company’s breaches and liquidity shortages forced it to file for liquidation.

Original story: Expansión 

Translation: Carmel Drake