Azora, CBRE GIP & Madison Create a Fund with €750M & 6,500 Homes

10 September 2018 – Expansión

The real estate companies Azora, CBRE GIP and Madison have constituted a joint venture for residential rental properties in Spain. They have created it with 6,458 homes and €750 million in own funds in order to expand the portfolio to 10,000 homes over the next two or three years.

In a statement, the three companies have announced the joint venture agreement, with an initial asset value of €870 million. The fund’s 6,458 homes are located in 65 buildings and 70% of them are located in the metropolitan area of Madrid.

Azora’s new subsidiary for residential rental has emerged from the recapitalisation of another previous one, Lazora. The investment and integral management of the new fund will be borne by Azora, which has also acquired a minority stake in the entity.

The Director for Continental Europe at CBRE Global Investment Partners, Alexander van Riel, said that “the residential market in Spain is very fragmented, and so this portfolio and its size are unique in that it acts as an important consolidator in the sector”.

“This investment increases CBRE GIP’s exposure to the residential sector in Europe to more than €2.5 billion and is in line with our key strategy: to follow demographic and real estate development trends in markets with a scarcity of products”, added Van Riel.

Meanwhile, the co-head of the securities portfolio at Madison International Realty, Derek Jacobson, said that the investment “represents a unique opportunity to acquire a large-scale and high-quality residential portfolio located primarily in the Spanish capital”.

The head of the residential area at Azora, Javier Rodríguez-Heredia, said that the intention is to hold onto the 6,458-rental unit portfolio for 15 years.

“Rather than opting for the liquidation and sale of these units, through this strategic association with CBRE GIP and Madison, we have not only found a way of ensuring that these homes remain available for families, we are also going to increase the investment in the rental products to build a new supply over the long term”, added Rodríguez-Heredia.

CBRE GIP and Madison have been advised by Jones Day, Pérez-Llorca, PwC, Howden, CBRE, Arcadis and Knight Frank, whilst Kempen, Freshfields and Deloitte have advised Lazora.

Last May, Azora postponed its planned debut on the stock market and, in August, its management contract with the real estate firm Hispania was terminated, as a result of which it agreed to receive €224.5 million from Blackstone, which had acquired 74% of Hispania through a takeover.

Original story: Expansión 

Translation: Carmel Drake

Project Apple: Apollo Bids Hard for Santander’s Last Real Estate Portfolio

30 July 2018 – El Confidencial

Project Apple, the name chosen for the €5 billion real estate portfolio that Banco Santander has put up for sale, is entering the home stretch. The entity chaired by Ana Botín has asked the interested funds to submit their definitive offers this week, according to sources close to the operation.

As this newspaper revealed, the firms that have expressed their interest in the operation include the giants Lone Star, Cerberus, Blackstone and Apollo, although, the latter two are regarded as the favourites, given that they have significant recent history with the Cantabrian bank’s property.

Just one year ago, Blackstone was awarded project Quasar, the €30 billion portfolio of gross toxic assets that Santander sold (following its acquisition of Banco Popular). Meanwhile, Apollo owns 85% of Altamira, the real estate asset manager that the financial entity created and which is currently administering the €5 billion portfolio up for sale.

Having been left out of all of the major real estate processes involving the banks, Apollo has decided to bid hard for Apple, according to the same sources, a move that has been launched in parallel to the possible sale of  (its stake in) Altamira, the manager that would lose some of its appeal if another fund were to manage to acquire this portfolio.

In addition, the firm led in Spain by Andrés Rubio has just reached an agreement with Santander to modify Altamira’s management contract and to refinance the servicer’s debt, in a deal that has allowed the fund to distribute a dividend of €200 million.

For Santander, the sale of Project Apple will mean completing the divestment of all of its real estate exposure, a move that took a giant leap forward last year with the transfer of the Quasar portfolio to Blackstone.

Nevertheless, and precisely because it has already cleaned up the bulk of its balance sheet, the entity does not have any need to sell and, therefore, if the bids come in below its expectations, it may decide not to transfer the portfolio after all, at least not through this process.

After the Cantabrian bank, BBVA reached an agreement with Cerberus to sell it 80% of its toxic property, whose gross value amounts to €13 billion, in an operation that is expected to be completed later this year.

More recently, CaixaBank reached an agreement with Lone Star to sell it 100% of Servihabitat and the majority of a portfolio of properties worth €6.7 billion; and Banco Sabadell made a deal to transfer €12.3 billion in toxic assets to Cerberus (€9.1 billion), Deutsche Bank (€2.3 billion) and Axactor (€900 million).

Original story: El Confidencial (by R. Ugalde)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Cerberus Prepares for Haya’s Stock Market Debut After the Summer

9 February 2018 – Cinco Días

Metrovacesa achieved it on Tuesday, despite problems to cover supply and the nefarious stock market session that it suffered. The large Spanish property developer, which abandoned the equity market in May 2013, made its return last week. It hasn’t exactly eased the way for the upcoming debuts of Vía Célere, owned by the fund Värde, or the Socimi Testa. But it hasn’t made a total hash of it either.

In this way, the US fund Cerberus is in the process of contracting the banks that will handle the debut its Spanish real estate servicer subsidiary on the stock market. The aim is for that firm to be listed from September. The entities that are on the list of candidates have already done their calculations and are citing a valuation for the company, albeit preliminary, of around €1.2 billion. The aim is to place between 35% and 50% of Haya Real Estate’s capital at this stage. A spokesman for the company declined to comment on this information.

The company, which was created in October 2013, manages property developer loans and foreclosed real estate assets from Bankia, Sareb, Cajamar, Liberbank, BBVA and other financial institutions, worth €39.88 billion at the end of September 2017.

The process of going public is the logical next step, after Haya placed €475 million in high yield bonds in November, with ratings of B3 (Moody’s) and B- (S&P). In other words, in the junk bond range, six levels below investment grade.

The underwriters of that debt, which matures in 2022, were Santander, Bankia, JP Morgan and Morgan Stanley. And they sold it with considerable success. Despite its credit rating, the firm pays an annual return of just over 5% for that liability.

Haya, led by Carlos Abad Rico (formerly of Canal + and Sogecable) offers services across the whole real estate value chain, but it is not a property developer. Rather, it manages, administers, securitises (…) and sells real estate assets such as homes and offices, but it does not own any of the properties.

Bankia Habitat was the seedling of Haya, and it has grown in line with the need by the financial sector to get rid of assets linked to property. One of Haya’s key businesses is the management of loans linked to the real estate sector. It advises on loans and guarantees, recovers debt and converts loans into foreclosed real estate assets.

The other major part of its revenues stems from the recovery and management of properties through their sale or rental. Haya employs 680 professionals and has a sales network of 2,400 brokers. The value of its property developer debt portfolio amounts to €28.7 billion and its real estate asset portfolio amounts to €11.2 billion. Moreover, Haya is going to bid to manage the assets sold by BBVA to Cerberus in November. Haya’s current shareholder acquired 80% of the BBVA’s portfolio of real estate assets, amounting to around €13 billion, for €4 billion (…)

Consolidation

The Spanish banks’ other real estate management companies are waiting for Cerberus to make the first move, according to financial sources. Haya will open the door to the stock market for them if everything goes well or it will serve to consolidate the sector, both here and in Europe.

There are three high profile players on the list. Servihabitat, which manages assets amounting to around €50 billion and which belongs to the fund Texas Pacific Group (TPG), which has held a 51% stake since September 2013, when CaixaBank sold it that percentage; the bank still holds onto the remaining 49%. Altamira, owned by Santander (15%) and the fund Apollo (85%), which also handles assets worth around €50 million in Spain. The volume managed by Solvia, owned by Sabadell, amounts to around €31 billion.

Moody’s warns that the business of Haya Real Estate, the largest company in the sector in Spain, depends on the economic performance of the company and the renewal of its current management contracts. Specifically, one of the most important, with Sareb (…), signed in 2013, is due to expire in December next year.

In terms of its strengths, the ratings agency indicates Haya’s extensive knowledge of the market and its high margins. The firm’s gross operating profit (EBITDA) during the first nine months of last year amounted to €89.8 million, with net income (the amount really invoiced by the company) of €165.8 million.

Original story: Cinco Días (by Pablo Martín Simón and Laura Salces)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Silken to Manage Boutique Hotel in Las Palmas

2 November 2017 – Alimarket

The hotel chain Hoteles Silken has embarked on a new project, which will see it take over the management of an urban boutique hotel. The property, which is currently under construction, is located in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, specifically on Calle León y Castillo, 329-331. The building has a surface area of 3,300 m2 and overlooks the beach (Playa de Las Alcaravaneras). It will comprise six floors and offer 66 category 4E rooms. In this way, Silken has added its second unit in the Canary Islands, after it inaugurated ‘Silken Atlántida Santa Cruz’ (4E-144), in Santa Cruz de Tenerife, in 2001.

The hotel is owned by Sanjay Bhagvanji Bhagvanji and Amarsi Ajay Bhagvanji Pradhan, through the company Saaj Hotels Invest, which was constituted in December 2015 and endowed with share capital of €1 million. It is the first hotel project that these businessmen have embarked on together, although they may undertake more in the future. For the time being, the construction work on the new establishment is progressing well and is expected to finish between September and October 2018. The final name of the property could be ‘Silken Saaj Las Palmas’.

Silken will not only manage the new hotel in Las Palmas once it is fully operational, it will also assume responsibility for everything relating to its launch from now on. The building, which will have a diachronic façade made from glass panels with changing colours and reflections, will house a double-height lobby on the ground floor, where the reception, breakfast room and a multi-use space will be located. The 66 rooms will be distributed evenly (11 per floor) whilst the top floor will be reserved for a restaurant and a chill-out area linked to the gastronomic space. Moreover, the hotel will incorporate strict light and sound control insulation measures. The design of the facilities, moreover, will result in an energy efficient building, “a property that is the hallmark of Hoteles Silken”, according to a statement. Meanwhile, “the attention to detail of the interior design project will translate into environments that will distil elegance and domesticity, offering users a familiar experience, with the benefits of the latest advances in home automation and light design”.

Original story: Alimarket (by Paco Mota)

Translation: Carmel Drake