VBARE Appoints Fabrizio Agrimi As New CEO

20 November 2017 -Revista Centros Comerciales

On Monday, VBARE Iberian Properties Socimi (VBARE) announced the appointment of Fabrizio Agrimi (pictured below) as the new CEO of the Socimi. Agrimi is a grand connoisseur of the real estate sector and has extensive experience in investments, mergers and acquisitions, not only in Spain but also in the United Kingdom and Italy. He has worked for a number of high profile international companies and until May 2017 he was Managing Director and Partner at Altan Capital.

Prior to joining Altan Capital in 2007, Fabrizio Agrimi formed part of the Investments Department at Aguirre Newman (2004-2006), where he participated in the acquisition, management and sale of numerous real estate assets. Prior to that, he worked in Milan and London for the law firm Vita Samory, Fabrini e Associati (now part of Orrick) where he was a member of the M&A, Private Equity and Financial Services teams.

Fabrizio Agrimi holds an MBA from the ESADE business school (Barcelona) and a degree in Law from the University of Trento. Whilst at university, Fabrizio completed two international internships at the law firm Sebastià Roca i Associats (now part of Roca Junyent) in Barcelona and at the European Parliament in Luxembourg.

With this addition, VBARE strengthens its team and consolidates its base for growth. VBARE recently presented its results for the first nine months of the year, during which time it generated a profit of €2,177,000, resulting primarily from the appreciation in value of its real estate portfolio. Revenues from rental income amounted to €781,000, which represented an increase of 188% with respect to the same period last year. The total value of VBARE’s property portfolio amounts to €28.2 million, up by 17% compared to the end of 2016.

Original story: Revista Centros Comerciales

Translation: Carmel Drake

Deloitte Integrates Boutique Consultancy Firm ‘Planet Hotels’

10 October 2017 – Expansión

The professional services firm Deloitte is consolidating its presence in the market for hotel transaction advice with the incorporation into the group of the boutique consultancy firm ‘Planet Hotels’. In this way, it is taking advantage of the good times that the tourist sector is enjoying; it has seen record numbers of international visitors for the last eight years and investor appetite for these assets continues.

The Planet Hotels team joining Deloitte is led by África Palau (pictured above, centre) and Marc Molas (pictured above, right), and has more than 15 years experience in the tourism and hotel sectors. Specifically, this boutique consultancy firm specialises in hotel transactions; searching for hotel operators for hotel owners; and managing hotel assets. The employees of Planet Hotels will be integrated into Deloitte’s Financial Advisory team, comprising 500 professionals, more than 30 partners and with a presence in 20 offices all over Spain.

The area is divided into two main blocks, one specialising in mergers and acquisitions (M&A) and the other providing services for crisis situations. Similarly, this division renders its services with an approach of specialising by industry, with the objective of providing advice that reflects sector reality and the needs of its clients.

In terms of the professional profile of the new joiners, Palau holds a degree in Economics and Business and has completed a Corporate Finance training program at the Instituto de Empresa. She has 29 years of experience as a senior manager of hotel companies and in processes involving investment and divestment operations, as well as advising on contracts for the leasing, management and franchising of hotel projects.

Meanwhile, Molas holds a degree in Economics and has 15 years of experience advising on investment and divestment transactions in the hotel sector. Molas has also led hotel projects in Spain, Eastern Europe, South America, Central America and the Middle East.

Some of the major corporate operations advised by the new team to join Deloitte include the sales of Hotel Leonardo Gran Atlanta (Madrid), Hotel Ilunion Málaga (Málaga), Hotel Barceló Lanzarote (Lanzarote) and Hotel Pestana Barcelona, as well as the search for and selection of operators for Hotel Vincci Mercat (Valencia) and Hotel Ilunion Bilbao (Bilbao). They also led the search for a franchise agreement for Hotel BW Urdanibia Park (Irún).


The tourist boom and upturn in the real estate sector have facilitated record years of asset purchases in Spain. Last year, investment in the hotel segment amounted to €2,145 million, up by 17%, according to Deloitte España’s Hotel Property Handbook. This year, investment volumes are also expected to exceed €2,000 million.

Original story: Expansión (by R. Arroyo)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Clemente: “Merlin May Participate In A Future Wave Of Socimi Mergers”

26 April 2017 – Cinco Días

He is one of the stars of the new real estate sector. In 2014, Ismael Clemente (…) created the Socimi Merlin Properties out of nothing. In less than three years, it had debuted on the Ibex 35 to become the largest player in the sector by market capitalisation. The company’s CEO convinced international funds to back the recovery in Spain and later on, he adopted an aggressive acquisitions policy.

First, Merlin acquired Testa from Sacyr, and then it absorbed the tertiary assets (shopping centres and offices) of Metrovacesa, which made way for Santander and BBVA to enter that company as major shareholders. Merlin Properties now has properties amounting to almost €10,000 million in its portfolio. Here, Cinco Días interviews the CEO.

Q: Merlin has grown very quickly. What are your plans now?

A: During 2017, we are focusing on managing our assets and on consolidating the company after several years of rapid growth. Over the next few years, we will invest in creating value from our properties, above all, rather than in buying more assets on the market. Right now, it is hard to justify any asset purchases to our shareholders because of the prices.

Q: In other words, you are going to withdraw from the market because of the high prices?

A: It seems like we have been very active in the market, given our recent acquisition of Torre Agbar in Barcelona, but really, since the middle of 2016, we have had a quiet period. Nevertheless, we knew that we wanted to increase our exposure in Barcelona and Lisbon and that is what we have done.

Q: What do you think about the future of the Socimis?

I think that we have a rather interesting period to look forward to because the Socimis have undergone a settling down period, and are now focusing on different specialisation strategies. There will be less purchasing activity and we will see more M&A activity between entities. (…).

Q: Might Merlin participate in any mergers?

A: Maybe, but it will take a while for the merger period to really get going. If we find something that we think may have value for our shareholders, then we may participate in the future wave of mergers between the Socimis.

Q: Why would Merlin be interested in that?

A: We would be interested if we could strengthen one of our areas of activity, if it was good for us from a cash flow point of view or if such an operation would contribute an asset that complemented the quality of our portfolio particularly well.

Q: Will we see mergers amongst the large players?

A: There are two very large players, us and Colonial, which is not actually a Socimi, even though it may as well be. Any of the large players could be interested in any of the small entities on the stock market, and even, eventually, on the MAB.

Q: Can we expect to see mergers in 2017?

A: It is still too early. I think that we will see some activity from 2018 onwards. What we are not going to see is mergers between real estate companies and residential developers. I don’t think that there will be any interaction between those two sectors. The starting point features five large players, including Colonial as a Socimi equivalent, and 30 entities on the MAB, where the largest players are GMP and Iba Capital. (…).

Original story: Cinco Días (by Alfonso Simón Ruiz)

Translation: Carmel Drake

BBVA Reorganises Its “Bad Bank” After Key Director Leaves

6 June 2016 – Expansión

BBVA has put a new spin on the organisation of its bad bank. The entity chaired by Francisco González recently announced the disappearance of its problem assets division – Non Performing Assets – after agreeing the departure of its main Director and dividing up its functions between two other divisions, according to financial sources.

The Spanish group already reconfigured the division just over two years ago. Then, it handed over the task of accelerating the sale of problem assets to Pedro Urresti (pictured above), the Director who has now just left the entity as part of the reorganisation.

Urresti joined BBVA in 2006 from JPMorgan, where he had been responsible for Capital Markets in Spain and Portugal. At BBVA, where he replaced Carlos Pertego – the current Director of Goldman Sachs – he led the Financial Management and Investor Relations department until 2011, when González put him in charge of problem assets.

Following the dissolution of that area and the departure of Urresti, BBVA has chosen to divide its functions and share them out between two divisions. On the one hand, everything relating to real estate assets will be transferred to BBVA Real Estate – the unit in which Anida sits – led by Agustín Vidal-Aragón. On the other hand, the activity relating to the sale of debt portfolios will be transferred to Javier Rodríguez Soler, the bank’s Director of Strategy and M&A.


Rodríguez Soler was one of the Directors who’s profile increased following the reorganisation of the management team performed by González last year, when he appointed Carlos Torres as the new CEO, to replace Ángel Cano. The Head of M&A, who until then had reported to the Finance Director, Jaime Sáenz de Tejada, went on to lead his own division, reporting directly to the President.

As a result of the new changes, BBVA hopes to accelerate the sale of its real estate assets, whose balance barely decreased last year, due to the takeover of Catalunya Banc.

During the two and a half years that Urresti has been in charge of the problem assets division, BBVA has been one of the least active large Spanish entities in the sale of portfolios, and has barely transferred any portfolios of loans or homes.

Meanwhile, other financial groups such as CaixaBank, Sabadell and Bankia have taken advantage of the improvement in the market to sell €17,000 million worth of non-strategic assets.

Furthermore, the entity has not sought to make any alliances in the sector through the sale of part or all of its real estate arm, like other entities did, including Santander, CaixaBank, Bankia, Sabadell and Popular, amongst others. It did consider selling off its collections business and it appointed KPMG to coordinate that sale, but it ended up pulling out.

According to financial sources, this strategy means that the sales rate of its real estate assets is slower, but the bank would benefit in the event of a faster than expected economic recovery, as it would obtain more in return for its properties and real estate collateral. Nevertheless, the risk still exists that the opposite may happen.

Original story: Expansión (by Jorge Zuloaga)

Translation: Carmel Drake