Greystar Invests €200M in Student Halls in Spain & Diversifies into Rental Housing

9 April 2019 – Eje Prime

Greystar is planning to invest €200 million in halls of residences for students in Spain over the next two or three years, and is also seeking to diversify into the management of rental homes.

In the student hall sector, the US firm wants to invest €200 million in the creation of 2,000 beds by 2022 and expand its presence from Madrid, Barcelona and Málaga, to other student towns.

Meanwhile, in the rental home sector, the US company already operates in ten countries around the world, where it administers more than 500,000 homes. In Spain, it plans to launch this business before the end of 2019.

Greystar specialises in the market for multi-family accommodation and halls of residence for students. The company manages 118,500 student beds around the world, of which 50,000 are in Europe.

Original story: Eje Prime (by Milana Mishchenko)

Translation/Summary: Carmel Drake

Bankinter’s Socimi Negotiates the Purchase of Hotel Meliá Valencia

18 February 2019 – Expansión

Atom wants to strengthen its portfolio with the acquisition of one of the main hotels in Valencia for €50 million.

Bankinter’s hotel Socimi, Atom, wants to strengthen its portfolio and add the Meliá Valencia (formerly the Hilton Valencia) to its list of assets. The property is one of the main hotels in the city, located on Avenida de las Cortes Valencianas, close to the Palacio de Congresos.

Atom, which made its debut on the Alternative Investment Market (MAB) in November, is holding negotiations with the fund Colony to purchase the 4-star hotel for around €50 million, according to explanations provided by market sources speaking to Expansión. Those same sources state that, although the negotiations are in an advanced stage, no agreement has yet been reached between the parties.

History

The hotel, located in a tower standing more than 110m tall, was officially inaugurated in February 2008 and has had several owners since then. The establishment, which has around 300 rooms and 21 meeting rooms, with the capacity to host up to 875 people, is managed by Meliá.

Colony purchased this asset along with some other Spanish hotels just a year ago from the investor group Continental Property Investment, controlled by the Lebanese businessman Boutros El-Khouri (…).

With this operation, Atom would increase its portfolio, which currently comprises 21 hotels and 5,232 rooms, with a gross value of €485 million. 82% of the hotels in its portfolio are 4-star properties and 60% are holiday establishments (…).

Original story: Expansión (by R. Arroyo, R. Sampedro & A.C. Álvarez)

Translation: Carmel Drake

A Family Office Buys a Nursing Home in Barcelona from Sanitas

26 April 2018 – Eje Prime

Alternative assets are attracting attention from a large number of players in the sector, including even the most discrete. A family office, whose identity has not been revealed, has acquired the Sanitas Cornellà nursing home, located in the town of Baix Llobregat, in Barcelona.

The home, which is located in Plaça Catalunya and which has been operational since December last year, contains 140 beds spread over 118 rooms, of which 96 are individual and 44 are double. The asset has a surface area of 6,270 m2.

The centre will continue to be operated by Sanitas Mayores, the specialist division of the insurance group. That company currently manages 46 nursing homes, including eleven in Catalunya and fourteen in Madrid, along with 3 day-centres, comprising more than 6,000 beds in total and employing a team of more than 3,000 professionals. The average occupancy rate of its properties amounts to 96%.

Original story: Eje Prime

Translation: Carmel Drake

Lar Launches Fund to Coinvest in Residential Segment in Spain & Latam

12 March 2018 – Expansión

Founded in 1975 by Felipe Pereda, the real estate developer Lar was one of the few high-profile companies during the boom that survived the subsequent crash. Having become the manager of one of the largest real estate companies on the stock market, Socimi Lar España, the company owned by the Pereda family has not been neglecting its house building activity. “We are currently working on residential projects in seven countries. At the global level, we are working on projects involving 18,000 units”, explains Miguel Amo, Director General of the Lar Group.

This extensive portfolio also includes the Spanish market, where the company has focused on the residential business, after years of investing in shopping centres (it has a clause not to invest in commercial assets beyond the Socimi). “The first thing we did when we saw the signs of recovery in the market in 2013 was to team up with Fortress to acquire a portfolio containing almost 1,400 homes and plots of land spread all over Spain from Sareb. With that batch, we created a FAB (banking asset fund), which expires this year, with the delivery of the final homes. Next, we entered the luxury business, with Lagasca 99, a project that we are managing and in which we also hold a stake through the Socimi. And, with the market recovering, we saw the opportunity for new build projects”, said Amo.

First fund

Last year, after selecting several plots of land, Lar opted to create a fund, called Acacias Inmuebles, to promote seven projects with 450 homes in total. “The vehicle was created in July 2017 with €35 million and we have now invested 100%. We manage it and we own 30% of the vehicle (…) and the rest is owned by investors from Spain and Peru (…), explains the head of Lar.

In total, Acacias Inmuebles is going to promote five primary residence projects over the next three years in Madrid, Valencia, Málaga, Torremolinos and Sevilla, and two other second-home developments in the Malaga towns of Benalmádena and Mijas (…).

The success of that first vehicle has caused the real estate company to launch a second fund. “We are asking for a minimum capital investment of €500,000. It is a fund without any intermediary liquidity, but which will distribute dividends when the projects are handed over and the investments will be recovered within a period of between three and five years, with an approximate annual return of 12%”.

Besides Acacias and Lagasca, Lar owns other plots for the development of an additional 400 homes. “They are located in Móstoles (Madrid) and Valladolid; in the case of the latter, we will likely sell off some of the land to be developed by third parties”, said Amo. In addition to its activity in Spain, the majority of Lar’s developments are based abroad, primarily in Latin America.

Specifically, Lar, which was one of the first Spanish real estate companies to branch out overseas (in 1998) has 9,000 homes under construction in Mexico, another 5,000 in Peru and 1,300 in Colombia (…) “We are also building in Romania. We always do it by ourselves, in conjunction with a local team, and we are very happy with the results so far”.

Revenues

Thanks to all of these projects, Lar had forecast revenues of between €400 million and €450 million in 2017, which would be added to the fees received for the management of the Socimi. “2017 was a good year in all areas, we sold 1,500 homes in private contracts and 1,300 were notarised. This year, we will hand over 1,500 homes, of which between 200 and 300 will be in Spain”, highlights Amo.

Lar is also committed to buying land for its subsequent management. “In Spain, we are also going to intensify our investment in land. We think that developable land is running out all over Spain, after 10 years with no investment and, so there is a need to “manufacture” land. We want to acquire plots for at least 1,000 homes and if we can buy land for 3,000 units, then even better”.

Original story: Expansión (by Rocío Ruiz)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Azora Postpones the Liquidation of its European RE Investment Fund

6 March 2018 – Expansión

Strategy / The manager is asking the shareholders of Azora Europa 1, including Sabadell, Bankia, Abanca, Manuel Jove and the President of Ebro Foods, Antonio Hernández Callejas, to extend the divestment period.

With renowned shareholders, the firm Azora Europa 1 has convened an Extraordinary General Shareholders’ Meeting on 21 March, where it is going to address a change of strategy. The company was created by the heads of Azora in 2005 with the aim of looking for real estate investment opportunities. Two years later, when the real estate bubble burst in Spain, the firm started its journey with investments from Sabadell, Bankia, Kutxabank and Abanca, the businessman Manuel Jove – President of the holding company Inveravante and founder of the real estate company Fadesa –, and the President of the listed company Ebro Foods, Antonio Hernández Callejas.

Azora Europa 1 chose Eastern Europe as its primary investment destination and rental properties as its main asset. Thus, between 2008 and 2015, Azora Europa undertook 10 real estate projects in Poland and another one in the Czech Republic. During that period, Azora’s fund closed its investor period with a total volume of €410 million, of which €140 million corresponded to own funds.

Ten years after its launch, its directors terminated the fund’s journey and requested authorisation from its shareholders to initiate the divestment process. Nevertheless, one year on, the company has taken a step back from that initial plan and is going to ask its investors to postpone its complete liquidation. The fund, which at its height accumulated a dozen properties, two for residential use and the rest for office use in Poland and the Czech Republic, has decided to divest the residential complexes and the Galerías Louvre in Prague, and exclusively hold onto its office portfolio in Poland. The reason given is the high returns offered by those assets, say sources at Azora. It is a portfolio leased almost in its entirety and which includes, amongst others, the headquarters of BNP Paribas Fortis in Krakow and the Harmony Office Centre in Warsaw, whose main tenant is Millennium Bank.

Now, the heads of Azora (the company that also manages the Socimi Hispania) are going to have to obtain approval from their shareholders, on 21 March, to extend the initial divestment period. At the meeting, the subject of a capital reduction will also be addressed, for a maximum amount of €6.16 million.

Valuation

According to the latest published accounts, Azora Europa 1’s real estate investments were worth €260.7 million as at December 2016, compared with €269.5 million a year earlier. In 2016, the fund recorded revenues of €30.6 million, of which €12.8 million proceeded from the sale of properties (compared with €1.8 million generated from the same concept a year earlier). In that year, Azora Europa 1 recorded losses of €3.73 million, primarily due to provisions recorded for the impairment of tax credits.

Original story: Expansión (by Rocío Ruiz)

Translation: Carmel Drake

British Fund Buys Modoo Shopping Centre in Oviedo from Alpha Real Capital

22 January 2018 – Eje Prime

The shopping centre that Calatrava designed for the heart of the Palacio de Congresos in Oviedo has a buyer. Modoo, owned until now by Alpha Real Capital, has been acquired by a British investment fund. Created by the famous architect Santiago Calatrava, this complex is located in the Buenavista neighbourhood of the Asturian capital.

The sale and purchase negotiations have also resulted in the arrival of a new manager for Modoo in the form of Estabona Management, which has already announced its plans to renovate the shopping centre, as well as to add a cinema and include more spaces. The operation, led by Estabona, was signed on 31 December 2017, the last day of the period set to agree a sale, according to reports from La Nueva España.

Located in the upper area of Oviedo, inside the city’s Palacio de Congresos, the complex was acquired by Alpha Real Capital in 2014, when it purchased the property from the Dutch firm Multi Development.

Estabona, which already has a presence in Spain in the Albacete Imginalia shopping centre, has proposed a renovation plan for Modoo. The shopping centre has a surface area of 40,000 m2 and is home to renowned retailers such as Primark and El Corte Inglés. This will not be the first space restructuring that has been requested for the shopping centre, given that Alpha Real Estate and its former managers, JLL, tried to incorporate a cinema and make significant changes to the land in the past, but that construction project never got off the ground.

Original story: Eje Prime

Translation: Carmel Drake

ECI & Matutes Negotiate the Sale of Ayre Hotels for €200M

12 January 2018 – Expansión

Advanced conversations / The retail giant and hotel chain want to cash in on the sale of a hotel portfolio comprising five establishments and more than 800 rooms.

El Corte Inglés and Grupo Matutes want to take advantage of the good times that the tourist sector is enjoying and the investor appetite for the real estate market to sell some of the assets in the Ayre chain – a brand of urban hotels, which they jointly control (50:50) – and make some money.

Specifically, the groups are finalising the sale of a portfolio comprising five hotels, with more than 800 rooms, located in Madrid, Barcelona, Oviedo and Córdoba, worth around €200 million, according to sources in the sector. Those sources indicate that the two companies have already received several offers and that the operation could be closed during the first quarter of the year.

Ayre was created in 2006 as the urban brand of the Palladium Hotel Group – then known as Fiesta and belonging to the Grupo Empresas Matutes (GEM) –. At the end of that year, El Corte Inglés purchased a 50% stake in the chain, through Parinver, its holding company. The retail group classified that acquisition as an operation of a financial nature at the time.

Currently, the urban chain Ayre owns 10 hotels in Madrid, Barcelona, Sevilla, Valencia, Córdoba and Oviedo. Last summer, the companies decided to put half of the assets up for sale and reposition at least two of the other establishments – the hotels in Valencia and Sevilla – under the Only You brand, the premium sub-brand of Ayre.

The company that owns Ayre is FST Hotels, controlled equally by Fiesta Hotels & Resorts (Grupo Matutes) and Parinver (El Corte Inglés). FST Hotels, which is headquartered in Palma de Mallorca, closed 2016 with turnover of €49.4 million, up by 14% and a net profit of €4.2 million, up by 100% compared to 2015, according to the most recent accounts filed with the Commercial Registry.

The President of the Company is Abel Matutes Juan, whilst Florencio Lasaga, the director of El Corte Inglés and President of the Ramón Areces Foundation (its largest shareholder) serves as the Vice-President. FST Hotels also has Jesús Nuño de la Rosa, the CEO of El Corte Inglés, on its Board, as well as Carlos Martínez Echevarría and Cristina Álvarez Guil, both directors of the retail group; and Abel Matutes Prats, Director General of Palladium, amongst others.

The operation forms part of the strategy of Grupo Palladium, whose objective is to grow through hotel management, and move from being an owner to a manager, in line with other Spanish chains. Palladium, which is headquartered in Ibiza and is more than 40 years old, has 50 hotels in six countries – Spain, Mexico, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Italy and Brazil – and operates three other brands besides Ayre: Palladium Hotels & Resorts, Fiesta Hotels & Resorts and Ushuaïa.

Meanwhile, El Corte Inglés would add the sale of this hotel portfolio to the list of non-strategic divestments that the group has undertaken in recent months: in November, it reached an agreement with the fund GPF to sell it the management of its Motortown workshops, located in 55 of its shopping centres; in October, the company chaired by Dimas Gimeno sold 40% of Torre Serrano to Infinorsa for €50 million; and in September, it sold off a logistics warehouse in La Bisbal del Penedès (Tarragona). The group has also sold buildings in Madrid, Barcelona and Sevilla, amongst other cities, in recent months.

Original story: Expansión (by R. Arroyo and V. M. Osorio)

Translation: Carmel Drake

B&B Sells 8 Hotels In Spain To Corum For €30M

19 May 2017 – Expansión

The hotel chain B&B Hotels and the investment fund Corum have reached an agreement to allow the former to divest the assets that it owns in Spain, whilst continuing to manage them, and the latter to strengthen its presence in the country with the purchase of eight hotels.

According to the terms of the agreement, B&B will sell the establishments to Corum for €30 million, although it will continue to operate them under a lease arrangement for at least 15 years. The hotels included in this operation are located in Figueres, Girona, Granollers, Mollet, Viladecans, Valencia, Albacete and Fuenlabrada.

The two groups also plan to explore new opportunities to collaborate in Spain and Portugal during 2017.

B&B Hotels, owned by the fund PAI Partners, operates 20 hotels in Spain after it purchased the low-cost chain Sidorme last October. The French hotel group, which tripled its turnover in Spain in 2016, to exceed €20 million, wants to double in size in the country within three years and is evaluating its expansion into Portugal.

Meanwhile, the real estate investment fund Corum, which manages more than €1,300 million in assets across Europe, is planning to invest more than €450 million in various European countries, including Spain, in 2017.

Corum made its debut in Spain in 2013 with the purchase of a commercial property in Tarragona. This is the sixth operation that the fund has completed in the country.

For Jairo González, CEO of B&B Hotels in Spain and Portugal, this operation allows the chain to “lighten the load” on its balance sheet in Spain to be able to incorporate more hotels into its network.

Philippe Cervesi, Director of Investment at Corum, said that the agreement reflects Corum’s capacity to find “interesting assets, with a good return and excellent guarantees, in an attractive market such as Spain”.

Original story: Expansión (by Rebeca Arroyo)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Meliá & the CIO Group Bury The Hatchet

22 August 2016 – Expansión

Meliá and Compañía de las Islas Occidentales (CIO) – the Canary Island-based family group that brings together tourism, industrial and service sector companies – have put an end to the legal battle that has been raging between them since 2008.

The hotel chain owned by the Escarrer family has reported in a statement that CIO has acquired all of the shares that Meliá still owned in that group’s companies. Specifically, the company chaired by Francisco Javier Zamorano has acquired 5.03% of Inversiones Hoteleras Playa del Duque from Melía, along with the 8.42% stake that the hotel chain owned in Inversiones Turísticas Casas Bellas.

Inversiones Hoteleras Playa del Duque is the owner of the Gran Hotel Bahía del Duque (pictured above). Meanwhile, Inversiones Turísticas Casas Bellas owns and manages 40 five-star luxury villas at a complex that also houses a spa, mini-golf course and other facilities in the Playa del Duque urbanisation, in the town of Adeje (Santa Cruz de Tenerife), according to recent information filed with the Commercial Registry.

The business relationship between the two groups began in 1993, when Melía was chosen to operate Gran Hotel Bahía del Duque. The problems first arose in 2008, when CIO pushed Meliá aside from the management of the property. CIO defended its decision on the basis that Melía had opened a hotel complex in the same tourist area, which competed directly with Gran Hotel Bahía del Duque, given that, in its opinion, that represented a “clear conflict of interests”.

Meanwhile, Meliá initiated arbitration proceedings, which concluded that the Mallorcan chain had not breached any exclusivity agreement and that, therefore, the decision (to remove Meliá as the hotel manager) was improper and Meliá should receive €1.29 million by way of compensation.

Following that ruling, the company chaired by Zamorano understood that CIO would be automatically entitled to repurchase the shares that Meliá still owned in its companies, and that the dividends received for those shares would be returned, and so, it decided to appeal to the courts. Now, eight years later, and following Meliá’s exit from the CIO companies, the groups have definitively buried the hatchet.

Original story: Expansión (by R.Arroyo)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Restaura’s Former Directors Launch A €60M Fund

16 August 2016 – Expansión

AKM is transforming itself into an investment entity manager, regulated by the CNMV, and is finalising the September launch of a fund amounting to €60 million, which aims to buy and renovate residential buildings in Madrid and Barcelona.

The firm is led by Xavier González, who was executive Vice President of Restaura. One of its other founding partners is Fernando Conde Arriera, who was Commercial and Marketing Director of the same real estate company. The executive management team of the new management company also includes Lorenzo Abascal and Stephen Koen, both former Directors of Andosins, a holding company owned by the Cerqueda family, which in turn owns the Andorran bank Andbank, together with the Ribas family.

Since 2013, AKM has launched three funds with a combined capital value of almost €63 million and its portfolio contains a dozen real estate assets in Madrid and Barcelona. In the capital of Spain, the firm owns, amongst others, residential buildings located on Calles Francisco Silvela 65 and Menéndez Pelayo 41, as well as a complex of 14 properties on Arganzuela-Santa María de la Cabeza, containing 214 homes, 31 premises and 224 parking spaces.

Original story: Expansión (by J. Orihuel)

Translation: Carmel Drake