Azora and Palladium Create Joint Venture to Operate Luxury Hotel son the Mediterranean

9 September 2019

Azora, a Spanish real estate fund manager, announced the creation of a new joint venture with the Palladium Group, which is owned by the Matutes family. Azora will control 75% of the new firm, with the rest going to Palladium. The firm will invest in luxury hotels on the Mediterranean coast.

The company will begin with an initial investment of €225 million, including three existing assets. Those consist of two hotels in Ibiza and one in Cefalù, in northern Sicily (Italy). The first is the BLESS Hotel Ibiza, a 151-room, five-star hotel owned by Palladium. The group recently converted the hotel from a 3-star unit.  The second asset is the Fiesta Hotel Tanit, a 440-room, 3-star hotel which the firm will also convert into an all-inclusive, adults-only luxury hotel.

The hotel in Italy is the 529-room, 4-star Fiesta Sicilia Resort, which like the first two,  the firm will convert into a 5-star unit.

Azora and Palladium have committed to investments of up to 500 million euros.

Original Story: El País

Adaptation/Translation: Richard D. K. Turner

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

Baraka Seeks Financing For Edificio España Purchase

3 March 2017 – Expansión

The Baraka group still has a month left before it has to close the operation to purchase the Madrilenian building Edificio España from the Chinese group Wanda, but the initial idea of financing the acquisition through a syndicated loan secured by the property itself, is not going to be possible.

The group is going to have to find another way, whereby it either contributes the funds to complete the purchase directly, or it finds a partner to participate with it in the operation.

By way of background, Baraka, the group owned by Trinitario Casanova, signed an agreement to purchase Edificio España for €272 million, in July 2016. To date, it has only disbursed a small amount of that sum, around €20 million, with the remaining balance due before the deadline at the end of this month (…).

The group has already held negotiations with Banco Sabadell and Bankia, as well as with other possible interested parties, regarding the granting of a syndicated loan amounting to almost €300 million. The idea was that it would serve to finance part of the purchase of the building and part of the renovation project, which is going to house a hotel, luxury homes for rent and a retail space, which will include a luxury restaurant and maybe even a casino.

This alternative, in which the group Matutes was initially going to participate, became impossible when Baraka reached a definitive agreement with the hotel group RIU. The deal significantly modified that real estate project, given that RIU agreed to contribute €100 million to carry out the renovation, in exchange for the expansion of the surface area designated to the hotel (to occupy 22 of the floors in the building), at the expense of space initially allocated for rental homes. The plans now involve building a 4-star macro-hotel in the centre of Madrid with 650 rooms, which will be run by the RIU Plaza brand.

However, the contract signed between Baraka and Riu strictly prohibits the mortgaging of Edificio España to finance the purchase operation, and so that ruled out the possibility of the syndicated loan. The banks interested in granting financing for the purchase of the building have asked Baraka to provide other, different, properties by way of guarantee. The group, which operates in the construction, real estate and supermarket businesses, owns several buildings but even combined they do not represent sufficient collateral, say sources in the sector.


One of the pitfalls for financing the operation is the high LTV demanded by the group led by Trinitario Casanova. Baraka has approached the entities to finance between 75% and 80% of the property’s value, however, the entities are prepared to lend only around 65%, say these sources.

Another option is that Baraka, which has sufficient funds, disburses the amount necessary to complete the purchase operation and then the banks finance the renovation project. In total, Baraka must invest around €400 million, from which it will have to deduct the €100 million that RIU will contribute (….) or reach an agreement with a third investor willing to participate in some or all of the project.

In addition, RIU reserves the right to veto any financing operation if it considers that it could endanger the project. (…).

Original story: Expansión (by S. Arancibia and R. Ruiz)

Translation: Carmel Drake

HI Partners Buys 2 Princess de Estepona Hotels For Matutes

8 July 2016 –

The fund HI Partners is on the verge of completing the purchase of two hotels from the Princess de Estepona chain, which will be operated by Matutes under the Hard Rock brand. The agreement is due to be signed on 15 July.

HI Partners and the Cabrera family, owner of the Princess hotel chain, have been negotiating this deal for more than six months. Matutes was the group chosen by the funds to operate the two properties from the get-go.

Initially, the Ibiza-based group analysed the conversion of the complex into a Ushuaïa model hotel, but in the end it is going to opt for the Hard Rock brand, just like it is doing in other Spanish destinations outside of the island of Ibiza.

The representatives of HI Partners held meetings with members of the Cabrera and Matutes families in Ibiza, when they visited the island in the middle of May. There, they saw the operations of Ushuaïa at first hand.

The fund Starwood holds a stake in HI Partners, but the fund’s main shareholder is Banco de Sabadell, which has a strong presence in the hotel sector. The fund previously tried to close a deal with the Amengual family, but that did not go ahead in the end.

The hotels in question are the Andalucía Princess, a four-star 383-room property; and the Costa del Sol Princess, with 118 rooms (including 15 family rooms) and 12 suites.

Original story:

Translation: Carmel Drake

Matutes To Expand Hotel Only You In Madrid

28 January 2015 – Expansión

Palladium, the hotel chain owned by the former minister and businessman Abel Matutes is strengthening its commitment to Madrid by expanding its Hotel Only You. The success of the boutique hotel, which opened its doors in 2013 and is located in Calle Barquillo, has encouraged the company to lease the adjoining building, which will allow it to add 50 rooms taking hotel’s capacity to 125 rooms in total; nine of these will be suites.

In 2014, Palladium recorded turnover of €429 million, an increase of 10% on the previous year. The hotel chain, which brings together 50 hotels and 14,000 rooms, will invest €80 million in three hotel projects this year, covering 1,280 rooms. In May, it will open the Grand Palladium White Island Resort & Spa in Ibiza. This will be followed by the opening of two new hotels between 2015 and 2016: one under the Ayre brand in Madrid, opposite the Atocha train station and the other, the Hard Rock Hotel in Tenerife.

Original story: Expansión (by Y. Blanco)

Translation: Carmel Drake