Taylor Wimpey España will Launch 6 New Developments in H1 2019

7 December 2018 – Eje Prime

Taylor Wimpey is going to continue betting on second homes in Spain. The British property developer is going to launch six new developments in the country during the first half of 2019. The projects will contain 330 homes in total and will be located in three main areas: the Balearic Islands, the Costa del Sol and the Costa Blanca.

The real estate company, which celebrates its 60th anniversary this year, will start work on the three projects in the Balearic Islands, two on the Costa del Sol and a sixth on the Costa Blanca next year. “As always, our priority is to look for locations on the beachfront with access to golf facilities”, explained the company in a statement.

Specialising in international buyers, Taylor Wimpey España has received reservations from 37 different nationalities this year. Of all the countries, Germany stands out, where 27% of its clients have come from, and the United Kingdom, which has accounted for 12% of all the reservations made.

With more than 6,000 homes constructed over its six-decade history, the property developer is listed on the London Stock Exchange and undertakes its developments using own funds, a fact that “influences” buyers, according to Marc Pritchard, the company’s sales director. “For buyers, it is a guarantee of the development’s success since the investment is not affected by possible fluctuations in the market”, said the executive.

In 2018, Taylor Wimpey arrived in Sotogrande as an extension of its presence on the Costa del Sol, as revealed by Eje Prime. In the four months since its project Pier Sotogrande has been on the market, the property developer has managed to obtained reservations for 30% of the 56 homes that will make up the promotion.

Original story: Eje Prime

Translation: Carmel Drake

M&G Teams Up With Quadratia to Invest in Residential Assets on the Alicante Coast

30 July 2018 – Alicante Plaza

The strategy being pursued by the investment funds to create joint ventures with local property developers through which to star in the resurgence of the real estate sector has reached a new high in the province of Alicante with the alliance between the British fund M&G Investments, a subsidiary of the insurance company Prudential, and the Alicante-based consultancy Quadratia. After starring in one of the largest land purchase operations in the province, with the acquisition from Sareb of the debt associated with the PP-27 of La Vila at the end of last year, M&G and Quadratia have decided to take their partnership to the next level. To this end, they have formed a joint venture company to invest in unique projects on the Costa Blanca and other points along the Spanish Coast: Quadratia Investment Partners (QIP)

“Following the successful launch of the Allonbay Village project in the El Torres de la Vial cove”, explain sources at the company, the British fund has teamed up with the Alicante-based property developer “through its fund DOF IV to back the development of unique residential projects along the Mediterranean coast”. The objective of Quadratia Investment Partners is “to acquire urban land and projects under construction, primarily in the hands of financial institutions in complex situations”, to manage that land and develop unique residential properties close to the sea. The target audience of these projects will be domestic and overseas buyers looking for second homes.

Following its constitution, QIP has already acquired another plot in the La Tellerola sector of La Vila on the beachfront, taking advantage of its strong presence in this municipality, and it has entered the market in Calp, with the purchase of two plots, one of which is going to be used for the development of a building with 100 homes, standing more than 25 storeys high, with views over the Peñón de Ifach and Playa del Arenal. But the new investment group’s interest is not limited to the Costa Blanca. According to the same sources, the firm is looking for land with the same characteristics on the coast of Valencia, and is also already closing several operations on the Costa del Sol, a market that is similar to that of Alicante but which “warmed up” first, according to their explanations.

According to the sources, the consultancy firm Quadratia has specialised in working as a local expert for various investment funds (on behalf of which it undertakes the integral management of projects), including Kronos Homes and ASG Homes, which have also starred in several operations in the sector in the province. In this case, however, the partnership with M&G Investments goes further: the Alicante firm has acquired a “significant” stake in the share capital of the new group, and the CEO of Quadratia, Enrique Gallego, has been appointed to the new group’s Board of Directors. Moreover, the former director of Mediterranean, Pablo Lucas Guerrero, was recently appointed as an independent director, to support this same investment strategy on the Costa del Sol, where the group has now completed its first investment in the Torrox-Nerja area: a 131-home development with panoramic views over the sea (…).

With more than GBP 240 billion under management, M&G is the investment fund management company of the Prudential plc insurance group, listed on the London Stock Exchange and member of the FTSE 100, with more than 160 years in the insurance, investment and loan businesses. In terms of Quadratia, it is led by the second generation of Grupo Alicante Urbana. Founded in 2014, it makes contact with investment funds interested in the residential sector in the province of Alicante and provides them with a comprehensive range of legal services (…).

Original story: Alicante Plaza (by David Martínez)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Alpha Pyrenees Sells Alcalá Plaza & Las Torres Shopping Centres

4 January 2018 – ABC Sevilla

Alpha Pyrenees Trust Limited, an investment fund listed on the London Stock Exchange, has sold the Alcalá Plaza and Las Torres shopping centres, located in the Sevillan towns of Alcalá de Guadaíra and Écija, respectively, and with a combined surface area of more than 11,000 m2, through the Andalucían consultancy Realtis Real Estate. The properties were auctioned on 13 November 2017 in Madrid, but the offers presented did not reach the asking price of €1,150,000 for Alcalá Plaza and €850,000 for Las Torres.

Thereafter, a period of negotiations was opened with the interested companies, culminating recently in the Andalucían real estate consultancy Realtis Real Estate completing the sale of the Alcalá Plaza commercial and leisure building, as well as the 39 premises that comprise most of the surface area of the Las Torres shopping centre in Écija. The investment fund has sold the Alcalá Plaza shopping and leisure centre for €655,000 to an Andalucían family business group, whilst the majority of the stores in the Las Torres shopping centre in Écija have been acquired by another real estate group for €500,000.

Both properties were acquired from the Detea group (Bogaris) a decade ago by the fund Alpha Pyrenees, which decided to sell them in the end as part of a divestment process that it has been carrying out with some of its assets in Spain during 2017.

For Gabriel Álvarez and Álvaro Rojas, partners at Realtis Real Estate, “this has been a very complex process due to the particular characteristics of both assets, which means that they could not be treated like the typical real estate investment rental projects that local investors and families are accustomed to. In any case, we are convinced of their real estate potential and possibilities in the future if they are managed efficiently and with an innovative approach”.

Before the auction, Realtis Real Estate drew up an action plan to improve the image and occupancy rates of the shopping centres. As a result, the German multi-national distribution company Tedi and the Domino’s Pizza chain opened their doors in the Alcalá Plaza shopping centre. In terms of the Las Torres shopping centre, as a result of the improvement plan, the toy and homeware company MGI opened its doors in that centre, along with a new store for books and musical instruments.

Original story: ABC Sevilla (by M. J. Pereira)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Savills & Aguirre Newman Complete Their Merger

3 January 2018 – Eje Prime

Without any fuss whatsoever, Savills and Aguirre Newman ended the year by completing their merger. On the last working day of the year, the British company announced to the London Stock Exchange that it had finally signed the agreement to buy the Spanish real estate consultancy. The company, which announced its intention to acquire the Madrid-headquartered business through the same channel on 28 July 2017, will pay €67 million by way of consideration.

According to the document that proves the purchase of Aguirre Newman, the British consultancy firm paid €42 million at the time of the signing and will pay the remaining balance in instalments of €5 million over the next five years, to reach the €25 million agreed between the two parties.

In theory, Savills had planned to complete the purchase before 30 November, however, administrative setbacks delayed the signing. Nevertheless, the company said that all of the paperwork was completed before the end of 2017 (…).

The need of both groups to sign their merger before the end of the year was also an administrative priority, given that they wanted to start the new year afresh to operate under the brand, Savills Aguirre Newman, from the beginning of 2018. Moreover, this change will result in a significant number of changes to its operations in Spain. The first will see it move to a new headquarters in the financial heart of Madrid.

The Spanish subsidiary of Savills has set the wheels in motion to move its offices to one of the capital’s main skyscrapers. After lots of negotiations, the new consultancy firm will move into the Castellana 81 building, better known as the Torre BBVA. The company will lease 8,000 m2 of space after reserving six floors in the building from the Socimi GMP, which owns the asset.

Built in 1981, Torre BBVA is one of the symbols of the Azca financial district in the Spanish capital. GMP renovated the asset after buying it and, coincidently, Aguirre Newman, along with CBRE, were appointed to look for new tenants for the building. The consultancy firm plans to move into its new offices as soon as the integration of the two companies has been formalised.

In terms of the business of the two consultancy firms in Barcelona, sources in the Catalan capital indicate that it is very likely (although not definite) that the Savills staff located in the Catalan capital will move to the offices that Aguirre Newman has on La Diagonal in Barcelona, given their location and capacity.

Another matter still up in the air is the duplication of the entire organisational structure of both companies. Savills’ intention is to maintain the entire workforce, although it is more than certain that many of the directors will leave the company voluntarily, according to sources consulted by Eje Prime.

The Presidents of Aguirre Newman, Santiago Aguirre and Stephen Newman, and the President of Savills España, Rafael Merry del Val, will be appointed to the Board of Directors of the combined company, in the following roles: Santiago Aguirre, Chairman of the Board; Stephen Newman and Rafael Merry del Val, Executive Co-Vice-presidents.

The senior management team of Aguirre Newman and Savills España will retain and include José Navarro, current CEO of Savills España; Javier Echeverría, CEO of Aguirre Newman; Jaime Pascual-Sanchiz, Executive Director General of Aguirre Newman, and Ángel Serrano, Director General of the Business at Aguirre Newman. The office in Barcelona is going to be led by Anna Gener and Arturo Díaz, as the CEO of Savills Aguirre Newman and President of the group in Barcelona, respectively. The real headache for Savills Aguirre Newman will come with the next level of management, although those roles will not be assigned for several weeks yet (…).

Original story: Eje Prime (by Custodio Pareja)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Alpha Pyrenees Sells Alcalá Plaza Shopping Centre in Sevilla

13 December 2017 – Expansión

Alpha Pyrenees, an investment fund listed on the London Stock Exchange, has sold the Alcalá Plaza shopping centre, located in the town of Alcalá de Guadaira (Sevilla), for €655,000.

The centre, which has a gross leasable surface area of approximately 5,100 m2, has been acquired by a private Spanish investor, according to a statement made by the fund yesterday to the British regulator.

The sale forms part of an orderly divestment process that the fund initiated in September. That process also included an asset owned by the fund in France, located in Saint Cyr L’Ecole, as well as the Las Torres shopping centre in the Sevillan town of Écija.

Alpha Pyrenees acquired the two shopping centres in Spain more than a decade ago.

Original story: Expansión (by R. Arroyo)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Starwood Capital Suspends Its Investment Activity In Cataluña

24 October 2017 – Expansión

The vehicle that the US firm Starwood Capital uses to finance real estate operations in Europe expressed its concern to the market on Friday about the situation in Cataluña. Starwood now has a presence in the autonomous region through a €46 million loan that it has granted to a new hotel in Barcelona.

Moreover, the firm has granted €61 million to two real estate projects in other areas of Spain. Starwood European Real Estate Finance, a fund that is listed on the London Stock Exchange, has said that from now on, it is going to “prioritise” its investments in other areas of the continent, keeping its distance from the Catalan crisis. “The political risk, and its potential impact on the real estate market, continues to be one of our areas of scrutiny, alongside, for example, the Brexit process, the elections in Germany and the latest events in Cataluña. The group is monitoring Spain and the situation in Cataluña closely. The tensions regarding Catalan independence are not new, but there has been a significant increase in the uncertainty there following the referendum on 1 October”, says Starwood in a note to update the composition of its investment portfolio.

The fund says that the reaction from the financial markets to these tensions has been relatively moderate and that economists predict a soft impact on economic activity in Cataluña and Spain as a whole. But the managers of this firm are more pessimistic. “Although the market has not reacted to the recent events, the group is more cautious and is only going to give priority to opportunities that are relatively isolated from the current uncertainty”. Starwood does not rule out taking another look at this market if prices adjust to the new reality. “During this time, the group will follow the political developments and also monitor the Spanish market to see whether any other attractive opportunities arise, on the basis of risk”.

Starwood’s message echoes the views of the real estate consultancy firm Colliers, whose managers said last week, in an interview with Expansión, that real estate investments amounting to €175 million have been suspended in Cataluña. Property developers such as Hispania and Merlin have also warned about the effect of uncertainty in the sector. Moreover, several private equity funds expressed their concern last Tuesday at a conference in the City of London.

Starwood European Real Estate, with almost €500 million in assets, is one of the vehicles that Starwood Capital Group uses to channel its investments. With $53,000 million under management in total, the entity holds other real estate positions in Spain through various funds. The California-based fund, founded in 1991 by Barry Sternlicht (pictured above) participated in the foundation of the hotel chain Starwood, which has now merged with Marriott.

Original story: Expansión (by Roberto Casado)

Translation: Carmel Drake

The Luksic Family Buys Hotel Adler In Madrid

22 December 2016 – El Confidencial

It is located on one of the most important corners in Spain. The intersection of Calles Velázquez and Goya has been home to the Hotel Adler for decades. It is one of the most ancestral establishments in Madrid, renowned for its restaurant, Nimú Bistró, and for its maximum discretion, a virtue that led it to host some of the most important business people and politicians in the country.

Reigned over by the Vázquez family, one of the most important entrepreneurial dynasties from Castilla y León, the property said goodbye to its last client this week and on Sunday, according to sources in the know, it will finish making all of the staff redundant; the employment contracts are more than a decade old in many cases.

This drastic decision is the result of the sale of the building, in an operation that began to take shape, with the discretion that characterises the Adler, four years ago, and which has been finalised this month, with the closure of the establishment.

In December 2012, the Luksic family, the wealthiest fortune in Chile and one of the most important in the world, acquired the hotel’s presidential suite by purchasing the property that houses it for almost €27 million. Nevertheless, the Vázquez family reserved the right to purchase it for five years and manage the hotel for the same period, which means that, initially, it will only receive a profit of €8.4 million from this operation.

Over the next two years, a special plan was processed to change the use of the property to retail and offices, work that was performed by Ruiz Barbarin Arquitectos (…).

In December 2015, the Vázquez family declined to exercise its call option, two years early, and sold the property for €19 million “by virtue of a contract signed with Topland Investments”, according to a statement in the audit report for the company Iova, through which the family used to control Hotel Adler.

Behind Topland Investments is Sandypoint, one of the many entities that comprises the Luksic’s emporium, whose fortune amounts to $12,100 million (€11,600 million), according to Forbes and whose flagship company is Antofagasta, the copper mining giant, which is listed on the London Stock Exchange.

Although that is the main business, the Luksic family has also been building up its hotel emporium over the last two decades, focusing above all on Croatia, where it has become the largest operator in the country through three companies: Adriatic Luxury Hotels, Plava Laguna and Istraturist.

In Madrid, by contrast, it seems to have other ideas and after obtaining approval for the special plan to change the use of the property, it is expected that the sought-after corner of Goya and Velázquez will become home to a major fashion firm, although the option of turning the building into offices has not been ruled out.

Hotel linked to a family

In 1998, the late Antonio Vázquez Cardeñosa acquired the property at number 31 on Calle Goya, with the idea of converting it into a luxury hotel, with an investment, to cover the purchase price and the renovation, of 2,000 million pesetas at the time (equivalent to €12 million at current prices).

Two decades later, the property has changed hands and use, although the Vázquez family plans to open another establishment in a new location in the capital. (…).

Original story: El Confidencial (by Ruth Ugalde)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Taylor Wimpey Sold 53% More Homes In Spain In 2015

12 January 2016 – Expansión

The British real estate company Taylor Wimpey sold 53% more properties in Spain in 2015, thanks to the recovery of the market and the appreciation of the Pound against the Euro, which attracted more British buyers.

Taylor Wimpey, which owns residential developments on the Spanish Mediterranean coast and in the Balearic Islands, sold 251 homes in Spain last year, compared with 164 in 2014. In addition, the average price paid for each property increased from €250,000 to €314,000. As a result, its turnover amounted to around €79 million, up by 92%.

Thanks to increases in the number of operations as well as in their value, the company says that the operating profit of its Spanish subsidiaries in 2015 exceeded the profit of GBP 4.2 million (€5.6 million) recorded a year earlier. The definitive financial data for last year will be announced next month.

Besides the sales that have already been completed, the property developer claims to have signed pre-contracts for the sale of a further 270 homes in Spain.

“We saw a significant improvement in the Spanish market in 2015” explained Taylor Wimpey yesterday in a statement to the London Stock Exchange. However, despite this recovery, the Group’s annual sales have not yet returned to the levels recorded in the Spanish market before the crisis. In 2006, for example, TW sold 379 properties and recorded turnover of around €130 million.

The majority of the homes that Taylor Wimpey promotes in Spain are acquired by British citizens who want to have a second residence in this country. According to data from the Association of Registrars (el Colegio de Registradores), citizens from the UK accounted for a fifth of the acquisitions made by foreigners in the Spanish market in 2015.

Spain is the only country outside of the UK where Taylor Wimpey has a presence. After recognising provisions for around €60 million between 2007 and 2010 to reflect the decrease in the value of its developments and land in Spain, the company started buying land again on the Costa del Sol and in Mallorca, where it forecast future demand from overseas investors. During the crisis, Taylor closed its operations in Gibraltar.

In the British market, Taylor Wimpey sold 13,341 homes in 2015, which represented an increase of 7%. According to Anthony Codling, analyst at Jefferies, “Taylor has had a clear strategy since the outbreak of the financial crisis – it focuses on margin rather than volume and invests in strategic locations (only)”.

The company’s share price rose by 0.62% yesterday, taking its cumulative increase over the last year to 61%. Its market capitalisation amounts to GBP 6,300 million in total.

Original story: Expansión (by R. Casado)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Shareholders Expected To Approve Intu’s Purchase Of Land In Malaga

6 March 2015 – Expansión

The British property developer has called a shareholders’ meeting to approve (its construction of) one of the largest shopping and leisure complexes in Spain.

The company that owns Puerto Venecia in Zaragoza (pictured above) and Parque Principado in Asturias is going to construct its third shopping centre in Spain, if its shareholders approve the plans at their meeting on 15 April.

In a statement issued yesterday (Thursday) to the London Stock Exchange, Intu Properties announced its decision to exercise a call option to purchase 30 hectares of land close to Torremolinos (Málaga) for €37.5 million. The company has already invested €4.2 million preparing for the project and it may also buy another adjacent site for €4.8 million.

The vendor of the land in Málaga is the Peel Group, a company that holds a stake in Intu, and so the other shareholders should authorise the transaction at their meeting. Moreover, Peel has committed to investing the money it receives from the sale of the site in Málaga into shares in the company, which is listed in London.

If the agreement is approved, Intu will invest €450 million in the development of a new shopping centre between 2015 and 2018. Its objective is to obtain an annual return of 7% on this investment from the rental of shops and restaurants in the complex. Intu plans to look for partners to buy shares in the development company that will build the centre.

In addition to its shopping centres in Zaragoza and Asturias, and its project in Málaga, the Intu group is planning other developments in Valencia, Vigo and Palma de Mallorca. Intu’s share price rose by 1.1% in trading on the London Stock Exchange on Thursday.

Original story: Expansión (by R. Casado)

Translation: Carmel Drake