Marathon Puts the Bahía Azul Shopping Centre in Málaga up for Sale for c. €30M

11 April 2019 – Idealista

The US fund Marathon has put the Bahía Azul shopping centre in Málaga up for sale for an asking price of between €25 million and €30 million.

Marathon has owned the centre since 2016, when it acquired it for €18.5 million, and has appointed Savills-Aguirre Newman to manage the sale, which will begin after Easter.

Bahía Azul, which was inaugurated in November 2008, has a surface area of 13,827 m2, divided into four retail spaces, plus a 9,445 m2 underground parking lot. It is located opposite Guadalmar in the same complex as Ikea, and is home to high-profile brands including Worten, Conforama, Schmidt, Prenatal, McDonald’s, Visionlab, Carrión and Maisons du Monde.

Marathon Asset Management has headquarters in New York, London and Singapore. It is one of the minority shareholders of the property developer Vía Célere, which is controlled (75%) by Värde.

Original story: Idealista (by Custodio Pareja)

Translation/Summary: Carmel Drake

Vía Célere Completes its Merger with Aelca to Create a Giant Firm with Land for 25,000 Homes

16 January 2019 – El Confidencial

Vía Célere has completed the integration of the real estate assets (land and property developments) of Aelca, to become one of the largest property developers in Spain with a gross asset volume (GAV) of €2.2 billion and a land bank for the construction of 25,000 homes. From today, the company has the capacity to deliver an estimated 2,000 homes in 2019 and 5,000 homes in 2021.

To put that into context, Metrovacesa owns land for the construction of 38,000 homes, has a GAV of €2.6 billion, and so it is still the largest property developer in Spain. Meanwhile, Aedas has land for 14,521 homes and a GAV of €1.6 billion, whilst Neinor, with a GAV of €1.7 billion, has land for another 13,500 units.

Following the operation, Värde is now the owner of 75% of the shares in Vía Célere, whilst the other minority shareholders (Marathon, Attestor, BAML, Barclays, DB and JPM) own the remaining 25% stake. The company is also strengthening the diversification of its asset portfolio with 38% in Madrid, 20% in Málaga, 11% in Barcelona, 9% in Sevilla, 5% in Valencia and 17% in other provinces across the rest of Spain.

The purchase of Aelca by Vía Célere was made with one clear objective in mind: to grow the company so as to be able to list it on the stock market, given that the transaction has allowed the company chaired by Juan Antonio Gómez-Pintado (pictured above) to incorporate assets worth €1.3 billion (…).

Future stock market debut?

Since then, the rumours regarding the possible stock market debut of Vía Célere have been constant (…). In fact, it was initially scheduled for the spring of 2018, but it was always known that the property developer needed to be larger to be able to compete in the market with Neinor, Metrovacesa and Aedas (…).

Original story: El Confidencial 

Translation: Carmel Drake

Marathon Buys an Office Building & a Hotel in Madrid for c. €30M

21 November 2018 – Expansión

The US investment fund Marathon is increasing its commitment to Spain with the acquisition of a mixed-use complex of buildings in Madrid, which houses an office block and a four-star hotel managed by the Mallorca-based chain Barceló.

Specifically, the US investment fund has closed an agreement with Credit Suisse Real Estate, owner of the asset until now, to acquire the complex for around €30 million, according to market sources speaking to Expansión.

The complex has a total surface area of 14,000 m2 and is located at numbers 19 and 21 Calle de Julián Camarillo in Madrid, one of the most established office districts in the east of the capital, a few minutes by car from the Ifema exhibition centre and Adolfo Suárez-Barajas airport.

The operation has been advised by the real estate consultancy firm Knight Frank.

The complex includes an office building, with a surface area of more than 9,100 m2, occupied by several tenants: Adquira, the company specialising in e-commerce; Lebara, the telephony company; Ixion, the robotics and drone firm; and Norgine, the pharmaceutical business, amongst others.

The complex also has retail and leisure areas and indoor and outdoor parking.

In addition, the asset houses a four-star hotel, managed by Barceló Group, now under the Occidental Hoteles brand.

The Hotel Occidental Madrid Este – previously known as Barceló Torre Arias – has 108 rooms, four of which are junior suites, as well as a gym, sauna and restaurant. The establishment also has two meeting rooms with capacity for up to 80 people.

With this operation, Marathon is strengthening its presence in the Spanish real estate market. The US fund is, together with Attestor, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Barclays, Deutsche Bank and JP Morgan, one of the minority shareholders of the property developer Vía Célere, which is controlled by Värde (75%).

Moreover, the investment fund acquired the Bahía Azul shopping centre in Málaga in 2016.

Original story: Expansión (by Rebeca Arroyo)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Aelca to Manage Sareb’s Land After Selling its own Assets to Vía Célere

2 October 2018 – El Economista

The property developer Aelca has sold its entire asset portfolio to Värde, including its land and developments in progress, which are going to be integrated into Vía Célere. Nevertheless, far from disappearing from our radars, the company founded by José Juan Martín and Javier Gómez is going to continue operating and, for the time being, is going to do so linked to Sareb, according to explanations provided by several sector sources speaking to this newspaper.

The company has been negotiating with the bad bank for months to sign an alliance that would turn it into the manager of a portfolio of land worth €800 million. At the outset, Sareb structured the operation in a different way, since its initial objective involved injecting those assets into a listed industrial company or one with concrete plans to debut on the stock market, to give liquidity to the land.

Nevertheless, Sareb’s plans for its property developer business took an about turn after both Aedas Homes and Vía Célere took the decision to exit the process in which they were finalists together with Aelca. In addition, the intentions of Värde, the main shareholder of both Vía Célere and Aelca, to integrate the assets of the latter into the former, were revealed, giving rise to the large property developer in Spain by asset volume, with a gross asset value (GAV) of €2.2 billion.

In this context, Sareb and Aelca sought a formula that would allow them to continue with their future partnership. And that involves creating a company with the bad bank’s property development business, in which it will hold a majority stake and Aelca will serve as the industrial partner and manager of the assets. Thus, according to the same sources, the most likely scenario is that a banking asset fund (‘fondo de activos bancarios’ or FAB) will be created, which will include land and residential projects from Sareb worth €800 million, in which the company chaired by Jaime Echegoyen will own around 90% and Aelca will acquire the remaining 10%.

On the other hand, the same sources state that Aelca will continue to buy land and build developments independently of Sareb. In this business, the founders of the real estate firm enter into play again, who despite having sold their stakes to Värde, will continue to be associated with the fund “to support the company as an independent manager and developer of residential properties in Spain”, explains the firm in a statement.

After the transaction, Javier de Oro will take on the role of Director General at Aelca, having served as Head of Real Estate at Aliseda, the exclusive administrator of Banco Popular’s real estate assets at risk.

Vía Célere, founded and chaired by Juan Antonio Gómez Pintado, will retain its identity and its 300 employees; depending on its on-going needs, it will resize its structure over the next few months. The new company will have the capacity to deliver around 2,000 homes in 2019 and 5,000 homes in 2021, with a more diversified portfolio, although ,most of its land is located in Madrid (38%), Málaga (20%) and Barcelona (11%), three of the markets with the highest demand.

Following the integration of Aelca’s assets, Värde will control 75% of Vía Célere, and the remaining 25% will be distributed between minority shareholders (Marathon, Attestor, BAML, Barclays, DB and JPM).

Original story: El Economista (by Alba Brualla)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Habitat Purchase: Bain Looks Set To Pip Apollo & Oaktree At The Post

16 November 2017 – El Confidencial

Provided nothing goes wrong in the next few hours, tomorrow, Bain Capital will be the party chosen to buy Habitat, after the US fund submitted an offer that values the real estate company at around €225 million, according to confirmation from several sources in the know.

Its proposal has been valued as the best by Irea, the firm contracted to lead the sale process. And it is looking likely that, on Friday, the owner funds of Habitat – Capstone, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, Värde and Marathon, amongst others — will endorse its opinion.

With this step, Bain will create a new real estate giant in Spain and follow in the footsteps already taken by other large investment vehicles such as Lone Star, which created Neinor, Castlelake, owner of Aedas and Värde, owner of Vía Célere.

In fact, Bain was on the verge of acquiring the company founded by Juan Antonio Gómez-Pintado, but a failure to align economic expectations undermined that operation and left the path open for Värde, which had previously acquired San José Desarrollos Inmobiliarios, to purchase the property developer.

Far from throwing in the towel, Bain has continued to insist on its strategy of acquiring a platform on which to build a large real estate company with the assets that it has been acquiring in Spain. It has purchased several non-performing loan and real estate asset portfolios from the banks, amounting to almost €2,600 million in total, although the investment made by the fund, which specialises in opportunistic operations, amounts to just one-third of the nominal value of those portfolios.

Most of the assets and collaterals acquired are residential, although Bain’s portfolio also includes properties dedicated to hotel, industrial and commercial use located all over Spain. The land and developments of Habitat, at the end of 2016, the most recent full financial year, amounted to just over €1,000 million, but its provisions of €848.5 million reduce its net valuation to €238 million.

One example is the recent purchase of €602 million in real estate assets from Liberbank, which it acquired in partnership with Oceanwood, for a discount of 65%. This operation also forms part of Bain’s accelerated plan for growth in Spain, where its objective is to get on the wave of recovery in the Iberian residential market.

Besides Spain, the fund has its sights set on Portugal, where a similar upward movement is expected, similar to that already seen in Spain over the last year and a half. In fact, in the summer, it made its debut in the country with the purchase of a portfolio of non-performing loans and real estate assets from Caixa Geral, an operation that was closed almost in parallel to the purchase of a €489 million portfolio of non-performing loans to property developers from Ibercaja.

Italy is the other market where Bain has now taken some important steps with the acquisition of a portfolio of €385 million in non-performing loans backed by real estate assets, as well as of the bad bank Heta Asset Resolution, with a portfolio of €570 million.

Original story: El Confidencial (by Ruth Ugalde)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Sale Of Habitat Set To Close This Week Despite Catalan Crisis

15 November 2017 – El Confidencial

Last weekend marked the deadline for the three funds interested in buying the Catalan real estate company Habitat, namely Apollo, Bain and Oaktree, to submit their binding offers. Despite constituting one of the most important real estate sales of our times, there have been doubts in the market about the impact that the sovereign challenge in Cataluña may have on the appetite of these three investment giants. Their parent companies have ended up living through the worst moments of the crisis once again, requesting regular reports about the political situation in Spain.

And in the end, all three interested parties decided to push ahead and put their binding offers on the table for the purchase of the real estate company, which is worth between €200 million and €250 million. Irea, which has been engaged by the shareholders of Habitat to lead the sales process, plans to explain to them the pros and cons of each proposal between now and Friday, the day when the winner of the process is expected to be chosen.

Sources consulted by El Confidencial state that the most attractive offers were those presented by Bain and Apollo and they all but rule out Oaktree‘s chances. According to the schedule, the players behind the two best offers will be given the opportunity to fine-tune their proposals between today and Friday. Although the possibility also exists that Irea may choose the best proposal, without asking for any improvements, to present it directly to the shareholders of Habitat.

One way or another, the idea is that this week, the winner of the quest for Habitat will be chosen, a transaction that the interested parties are looking to complete before the end of the year.

Buildable land platform

The purchase of Habitat will allow the successful buyer to acquire an important platform through which to benefit from the recovery of the Spanish residential property development market. That desire has had a strong impact on the parent companies of the three interested funds, all from the US, allowing them to overlook the political and economic uncertainty unleashed by the independence challenge.

Habitat is the heir of the former Ferrovial Inmobiliaria, a company that the firm controlled then by Bruno Figueras acquired for €2,200 million at the end of 2006; that operation that gave rise to the fifth largest property developer in Spain. But, just two years later, during the first few months of the crisis in the sector, the company filed for the fourth largest creditor bankruptcy of all time, with debt amounting to €2,800 million.

Although it managed to get out of that hole in 2010, five years later Figueras was forced to cede control to the creditor funds, and firms such as Capstone, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, Värde and Marathon acquired 70% of the share capital when the bulk of the debt was converted into shares. (…).

Bain, Apollo and Oaktree have all been trying to acquire a large domestic property developer for some time now, to allow them to create a large group through which to benefit from the recovery in the market. In fact, the former has just acquired, together with Oceanwood, €602 million in real estate assets from Liberbank, whilst Apollo fought to the end to acquire the €30,000 million portfolio of toxic assets from Banco Popular that was sold in the summer.

Original story: El Confidencial (by Ruth Ugalde)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Apollo, Bain & Oaktree Compete To Acquire Habitat

25 September 2017 – El Confidencial

A new large real estate operation is on the horizon. The process to sell Habitat Inmobiliaria has entered the home stretch, after the Catalan company selected a shortlist of three candidates to submit their bids.

The three finalists are the international funds Apollo, Bain and Oaktree, whose binding offers are expected to be received by the beginning of October, according to several sources familiar with the operation. The bids are expected to amount to between €200 million – €250 million and the intention is to announce the winner before the end of the year.

Habitat is the heir of the former Ferrovial Inmobiliaria, the subsidiary that the Del Pino family’s group sold to the Catalan property developer, controlled at the time by Bruno Figueras, for €2,200 million at the end of 2006. That deal was signed just before the outbreak of the crisis and it converted the Catalan company into the fifth largest property developer in the country. Nevertheless, that glory was short-lived.

Just two years after that Pharaonic purchase, Habitat filed for the fourth largest creditor bankruptcy in history, by declaring itself in ‘suspension of payments’ with debt amounting to €2,800 million, exceeded only by Abengoa, Martinsa-Fadesa and Reyal-Urbis.

From there, it began a titanic fight to survive, which included a preliminary agreement in the spring of 2010, which saw it emerge from bankruptcy and then, a modification to that agreement, five years later, which gave control of the company to its creditor funds.

In 2015, firms such as Capstone, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, Värde and Marathon acquired 70% of the company’s capital, by converting the bulk of its debt into shares, and they ordered a return to house construction, to take advantage of the recovery in the sector.

Moreover, those firms continued as the group’s main financiers, with a participation loan of €70 million and another senior loan of €80 million, they took over the management, and they gradually sidelined Bruno Figueras; he currently holds the role of Vice-President.

At the time, the company analysed the option of organising a sales process, but that never ended up happening. The same idea was revived during the first half of this year when Habitat engaged Irea to organise a sale, merger or the entry of a new shareholder into the company.

After almost 11 years (since the purchase of Ferrovial Inmobiliaria), the Catalan property developer is barely a shadow of its former self, but it still holds a juicy portfolio of buildable land – currently, the most sought-after asset by international funds – concentrated in Madrid, Cataluña, Andalucía and Valencia, plus the company also has a presence in Aragón, Portugal and Hungary.

The three finalists in the bid for Habitat have competed in the past for some of the most important real estate operations of recent times, such as the purchase of Vía Célere by Värde, which Bain analysed, and the acquisition of the €30,000 million in real estate assets from Santander-Popular by Blackstone, which Apollo bid for.

Whoever ends up taking control of Habitat will have the perfect platform to create its own group and to start to compete with other investment giants who have already trodden this path, such as Lone Star, the owner of Neinor Homes; Castlelake, owner of Aedas; and Värde, the primary shareholder of Vía Célere and Aelca.

Original story: El Confidencial (by Ruth Ugalde)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Via Célere Hires Credit Suisse to Lead Its IPO

 

24 August 2017

The investment bank will lead the initial round of contacts with investors, along with Jefferies-Arcano.

The US fund Värde Partners, one of the most active investors in the Spanish real estate market, is finalizing plans to list the real estate developer Via Célere on the Spanish stock market. The Madrid-based company was acquired last February by Värde to merge it with its property development company DosPuntos. After wrapping up the merger, the fund is preparing to take the merged company public in the coming months. To do this, the US firm has hired the companies Credit Suisse and Jefferies-Arcano to lead the initial rounds of contacts with investors, according to Bloomberg. CaixaBank will act as a placement bank, sources close to the process confirmed to Expansión. Sources at Värde declined to comment on the matter.

Värde’s objective is to list around 60% of the company on the stock market, following in the steps of its counterpart Lone Star, which last March listed its Spanish real estate development company Neinor Homes on the Spanish stock market. Initially, Värde had intended to take the company public at the beginning of 2018, but other sources now believe that the listing may be brought up to the end of 2017. This is due to favourable investor sentiment regarding Spanish real estate companies, with large socimis, such as Neinor Homes, trading above the value of their assets. In the case of Neinor, the company’s IPO was oversubscribed by 4.3 times and shares have since appreciated by 13%.

Investments

In addition to hiring the investment banks, Via Célere has accelerated its investment plan to grow the company before the public listing. In recent months, the real estate company founded and chaired by Juan Antonio Gómez-Pintado has spent close to 100 million euros expanding its portfolio of land to 1.2 million square meters.

In February, Värde Partners, along with five other funds, bought Via Célere from its founder for 90 million euros. Värde is the largest shareholder, holding 51% of the capital, followed by Attestor and Marathon, the second and third largest shareholders respectively.  JP Morgan, Barclays and Bank of America also have smaller stakes.

At the time, the estimated value the combined operations of Via Célere and DosPuntos was put at roughly 700 million euros.

Värde and its partners’ plan is that the company’s listing should be at a valuation superior to 1 billion euros. After the purchase, the new shareholders targeted investments between 200 and 250 million euros per year until 2023, to achieve a rate of construction of 3,000 homes a year (this year, the figure amounts to about 1,800 units).

At present, its portfolio is valued at more than €800 million, with 1.2 million square meters of land available for building.

Another listing

Another company in the real estate sector, Aedas Homes, is expected to go public even before Via Célere’s IPO. The developer, also controlled by a U.S. investment fund, Castlelake, hired Goldman Sachs and Linklaters for its IPO. At present, Aedas has assets valued at 1.1 billion euros, highlighted by a 1.35 million-square meter portfolio of land.

In addition to being the largest shareholder in Vía Célere, Värde controls another real estate developer, Aelca, and 40% of La Finca Global Assets, which owns several business parks in Madrid.

Original Story: ProOrbyt Expansion – R. Ruiz

Translation: Richard Turner

 

Vía Célere Boosts Its Land Portfolio Ahead Of Stock Market Debut

18 July 2017 – Expansión

The property developer Vía Célere is advancing with its growth plans ahead of its stock market debut. The Madrilenian real estate company was acquired in February by six funds led by Värde Partners, which owns 51% of its share capital. Following the operation, for which they disbursed €90 million, the company has been working on increasing its size and will debut on the stock market at the beginning of 2018, with a market capitalisation of more than €1,000 million.

The first step in this process was the integration of DosPuntos, the real estate company that Värde and its partners (the funds Attestor and Marathon, as the second and third largest shareholders, respectively, as well as Barclays and Bank of America) had created from the former subsidiary of San José (Parquesol). The operation saw the incorporation of 800,000 m2 of land into Vía Célere’s portfolio (meaning that the firm will be able to build around 7,000 extra homes).

Having closed that merger in record time (less than a month) Vía Célere, led by its former owner and CEO, Juan Antonio Gómez Pintado, has since launched several land purchase operations with the aim of increasing its real estate portfolio.

New portfolio

In total, Vía Célere has invested almost €100 million in nine plots of land through three operations. The land, located in several different provinces, will allow the property developer to increase its buildability by 212,016 m2 and construct 1,907 new homes (…).

Following the contribution of funds from the new shareholders, Vía Célere set itself the goal of investing between €200 million and €250 million per year between now and 2023 in order to maintain a construction rate of around 3,000 homes per year. This year, it plans to start building around 1,800 units: “Our intention is to continue identifying new opportunities and to expand our portfolio of land and projects over the next few months”.

Before these purchases, the property developer’s real estate portfolio contained land covering 1 million m2, making it one of the largest land owners in the country, exceeded only by Metrovacesa, which, following the contribution of €1,108 million from its shareholder banks, now owns land spanning 6 million m2; Neinor Homes, which, following investment of €147 million this year now owns 1.2 million m2 of land on which to build homes; Aedas, the property developer backed by Castlelake, which owns 1.35 million m2 of land.

In total, Vía Célere’s assets are worth €704 million and it currently has 10,054 homes in progress or under construction. Before the integration with DosPuntos, the property developer recorded revenues of €75.4 million in its most recent full year.

Stock market

The property developer led by Värde Partners plans to debut on the stock market next year. In this way, Vía Célere will follow in the footsteps of Neinor Homes, the first real estate developer to debut on the stock market in almost a decade, with a value of €1,340 million. The market capitalisation of that firm currently amounts to around €1,498 million.

Aedas, the company backed by the fund Castlelake, is another of the property developers that has set its sights on the stock market; it plans to make its debut before the end of the year.

Meanwhile, the new Metrovacesa, led by Santander and BBVA, has already met with several investment banks to manage its return to the stock market, which it exited in 2013 after 72 years of trading (….).

Original story: Expansión (by Rocío Ruiz)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Vía Célere Engages Lazard To Prepare Its IPO

29 June 2017 – Expansión

Vía Célere is accelerating its process of debuting on the stock market. The real estate developer, controlled by the US private equity fund Värde, has engaged the bank Lazard as an advisor for its debut on the Madrid stock exchange.

Moreover, the firm chaired by the businessman Juan Antonio Gómez-Pintado (pictured above) is making contact with some of the placement entities of the operation, which is forecast to take place in the spring of next year, although a firm date has not yet been set.

The real estate developer, which owns a portfolio of more than 10,000 homes, plans to debut on the market with a capitalisation of more than €1,000 million, in an operation that will allow the US fund to undo positions at the same time, which will serve to raise financing to allow it to continue to grow.

Värde acquired a controlling stake in Vía Célere from Juan Antonio Gómez-Pintado – who has continued as the President of the company – in February for €90 million. The US fund carried out that operation a year after launching the real estate firm Dospuntos, which it constituted using assets from Parquesol – a subsidiary that the SanJosé group ceded to its creditors under its own refinancing framework at the end of 2014. The merger between the two groups was approved by the General Shareholders’ Meeting of Dospuntos in April.

Shareholders

Besides Värde, the following players also hold stakes in Vía Célere’s share capital: the funds Attestor and Marathon, which are the second- and third-largest shareholders, respectively, as well as Barclays and Bank of America.

The integration of Vía Célere and Dospuntos resulted in the creation of one of the major property developers in the sector, with a land portfolio spanning more than 1 million m2.

The company owns assets worth more than €700 million and has own funds worth €400 million. Its plans for the next three years include starting to build 4,491 homes and completing 2,494 units, according to data provided by the company in April.

Värde – one of the most active players in the Spanish real estate market in recent years – is also the majority shareholder of another property developer – Aelca, which purchased the Avintia group for €50 million in June 2016, and which controls 40% of La Finca Global Assets, which, in turn, owns the business park of the same name, together with the García Cereceda family.

With this operation, Vía Célere will follow in Neinor’s footsteps, after it debuted on the stock market in March, to become the first property developer to debut on the stock exchange in ten years, following Realia’s IPO in 2007. The property developer backed by Lone Star debuted on the stock market at a price of €16.46 per share and currently has a market capitalisation of €1,440 million.

Vía Célere’s debut on the stock market is likely to be followed by that of Aedas. That real estate firm, which is controlled by the fund Castlelake and led by David Martínez, engaged Goldman Sachs and the law firm Linklaters in April, to prepare its debut on the stock market, which is scheduled for October.

Original story: Expansión (by Rebeca Arroyo)

Translation: Carmel Drake