26 September 2016 – Expansión
Merlin, Hispania, Axiare and Lar España, which all debuted on the stock market in 2014, have closed June with assets worth €10,253 million. From zero to €10,000 million in just two years. That is the giddy journey that the largest four Spanish Socimis have just embarked on. (…).
Founded by Ismael Clemente and his team at the management firm Magic Real, Merlin is now the eighth largest real estate company in Europe and the largest in Spain. (…).
Merlin debuted on the stock market with an initial share capital of €1,250 million and in less than three months it managed to invest €1,000 million. As at June 2016, its real estate portfolio was worth €6,527 million, with office buildings (with an estimated value of around €2,338 million), high street premises (worth €2,040 million) and shopping centres (€709 million) representing the Socimi’s main investment categories.
During the first half of 2016, Merlin bought two office buildings in Portugal; four logistics assets under development in Pinto (Madrid), Azuqueca (Guadalajara), Meco (Madrid) and Cabanillas (Guadalajara); a retail outlet in the Larios shopping centre and another property in Porto Pi. The Socimi spent €149.3 million in total on these purchases.
The shareholders of Merlin and Metrovacesa recently approved the merger of the two companies, which means that the Socimi will soon own assets worth €9,400 million.
It was the first Socimi to debut on the sotck market (in March 2014), it is managed by the team from the real estate company Lar and it had an initial share capital of €400 million. Lar España closed the first half of 2016 with a portfolio worth €1,050 million.
The main operations of the company include several recent acquisitions, including the Vistahermosa retail park in Alicante; large establishments such as Megapark; and the luxury residential project Juan Bravo 3, which it is developing along with one of its shareholders, the US management firm Pimco.
Others, such as the Gran Vía de Vigo shopping centre, purchased for €141 million, will be accounted for in the third quarter of this year, as the Socimi strengthens its commitment to the shopping centre market in Spain.
Another real estate company, Hispania Activos Inmobiliarios, also debuted on the stock market in March 2014. The company, created by the managers of Azora, Fernando Gumuzio and Concha Osácar, raised €550 million to purchase various assets.
After acquiring several complexes of homes, hotels along the coast and offices in Madrid and Barcelona, Hispania launched a takeover bid for the real estate company Realia to create a giant in the sector. That transaction was foiled in the end, after the Mexican businessman Carlos Slim made a better offer, and so Hispania opted for another operation: an alliance with the chain Barceló to create Bay, a Socimi specialising in hotels.
Currently, Hispania owns a portfolio of assets worth €1,627 million, which represents a two-fold valuation increase compared to the same period in 2015. Its hotel portfolio alone is worth €970.3 million. As at 31 December, the Socimi owned properties worth €1,425 million, but following its purchase of assets such as the San Miguel company (owner of three hotels in Ibiza) and a residential complex in Madrid (Hispanidad), that value increased.
Moreover, Hispania has managed to revalue its hotel portfolio by €67 million, its offices by €28 million and its residential portfolio by €22 million.
Axiare was the last of the great Socimis to list on the stock market, in July 2014, when it had €360 million to invest.
As at 30 June, Axiare’s portfolio of assets was worth €1,049 million, which represents an increase of 25.3% over the acquisition prices of those assets.
Moreover, the Socimi is in “advanced” negotiations regarding investments worth €400 million. (…).
Original story: Expansión (by Rocío Ruiz)
Translation: Carmel Drake