BBVA Breaks off Talks for Sale of Operation Chamartín with Merlin Properties

1 October 2019 – BBVA has informed Spain’s National Securities Market Commission (CNMV) that it has broken off talks regarding the potential sale of its development rights to the Operation Chamartín project. The bank did not cite a reason for the breakdown in the talks. Merlin Properties had recently  made a preliminary offer of almost 700 bank branches it leases to BBVA in exchange for the rights.

Recently, other candidates, such as the Canadian investment group Brookfield and the sovereign wealth fund Qatar Investment Authority, have also demonstrated an interest in the project. Construction in the Operation Chamartín area is expected to last for 25 years and require total investments of over €7 billion.

Original Story: La Vanguardia – Conchi Lafraya

Photo: Dani Duch

Adaptation/Translation: Richard D. K. Turner

Mountpark Negotiating the Acquisition of Land for Logistics Platform to the South of Madrid

30 September 2019 – Mountpark is negotiating the acquisition of more than two million square meters of land in the south of Madrid. The developer intends to build a major logistics platform at the site, one with more than 40,000 square meters of surface area.

The company is planning on copying another platform it built recently at the Iberum Central Platform, in Illescas, Toledo. Mountpark built a 44,000-square-meter warehouse for XPO Logistics that H&M is using.

Mountpark Iberia is a part of a joint venture by Usaa Realco-Europe Holdco, the Dutch subsidiary of the US firm Usaa Real Estate, and the Luxembourg-based Mountpark Finco Sarl.

Original Story: Eje Prime – Marc Vidal Ordeig

Adaptation/Translation: Richard D. K. Turner

Haya Real Estate Tops Off its Annus Horribilis with Losses of €0.5M

18 June 2019 – El Confidencial

Haya Real Estate suffered an “annus horribilis” in 2018 after it failed to debut on the stock market and was unsuccessful in its efforts to renegotiate its contract with Sareb (discussions are still on-going). Those events were further compounded by the servicer’s recently published results for the year, which saw it record losses of €445,000, compared with a profit of €32.57 million in 2017, despite a 6.7% increase in revenues to €273.7 million.

The losses were caused by several factors, both accounting and operational nature, and would have been even greater had the group not consolidated the results of Haya Titulización, which contributed profits of €1.27 million.

In fact, the real estate servicer platform Haya Real Estate itself recorded losses of €1.7 million in 2018 compared with profits of €20 million last year. They were caused in part by the new contract that the servicer signed with Bankia in 2018, to include BMN’s assets, which involves disbursements and amortisations during the first few years and which have penalised the company in accounting terms. In addition, Haya purchased the company Mihabitans from Liberbank in June 2018.

Specifically, the amortisations of the management contracts of Bankia and Liberbank increased by more than €20 million YoY in 2018, which, combined with the poor performance of other operating costs (they soared by 46% to €92.2 million) meant that the servicer had little chance of repeating its success of 2017.

Original story: El Confidencial (by Ruth Ugalde)

Translation/Summary: Carmel Drake

Blackstone Finalises the Purchase of Torre Tarragona from UBS

5 June 2019 – Cinco Días

The US fund Blackstone is negotiating the purchase of Torre Tarragona in Barcelona from UBS, according to several sources in the sector. The deal looks set to become the third major operation in the city’s office market this year after Naturgy sold its headquarters to Colonial and Telefónica sold its Diagonal 00 property to Emperador.

UBS Global Asset Management acquired Torre Tarragona in 2015 for €72 million from Omega Capital, the family office owed by Alicia Koplowitz. Now, having invested €10 million in a comprehensive renovation, the Swiss bank is hoping to sell the property for between €100 million and €110 million.

Torre Tarragona is located close to the Sants train station in the Catalan capital and spans a surface area of 18,150m2 spread over 19 floors. It has 250 parking spaces and its main tenant is Pepsico, together with other companies, such as the technological firm Acens (a subsidiary of Telefónica), Quercus and the laboratory Gentic.

Original story: Cinco Días (by Alfonso Simón Ruiz)

Translation/Summary: Carmel Drake

AXA Negotiates with ACS to Build 2 Office Blocks on Paseo de la Dirección in Madrid

29 May 2019 – Eje Prime

The insurance company AXA is holding negotiations with the construction company ACS to build two office buildings on plots that it owns on Paseo de la Dirección in Madrid.

The towers would be similar in height to the residential skyscrapers that Stoneweg is planning to build on the same street. They would include restaurants and shops, which would serve to regenerate activity in the Tetuán neighbourhood.

Original story: Eje Prime 

Translation/Summary: Carmel Drake

Haya Real Estate Looks to Expand into Italy & Greece to Grow its Business

27 May 2019 – Expansión

Haya Real Estate, the servicer controlled by the US investment fund Cerberus, is looking to grow its business. Following its merger with Divarian (formerly Anida), it is now the second largest servicer in Spain, after Altamira, with 1,200 employees and €47 billion in assets under management.

In order to diversify its portfolio, the servicer led by Carlos Abad (pictured above) is evaluating its expansion into Italy and Greece, two emerging markets in which multiple NPL investment and management opportunities are expected to arise in the short term. That would help alleviate concerns over Haya’s future, which currently depends heavily on the outcome of the servicer’s negotiations with Sareb, whose contract is due to expire in December.

The future of Haya Real Estate has been up in the air since its stock market debut was postponed last year. Cerberus has held its stake in the servicer for six years now and is keen to exit soon given that its typical investment rotation period amounts to five years. Following the postponed IPO, the US giant is now holding preliminary conversations with several other investment funds interested in acquiring its stake, but the price will depend on the servicer’s future with Sareb.

Original story: Expansión (by Rebeca Arroyo)

Translation/Summary: Carmel Drake

Sareb Negotiates the Sale of Part of its Stake in Témpore with TPG

30 April 2019 – La Vanguardia

Sareb is holding formal negotiations with the US fund TPG Real Estate Partners III regarding the sale of part of its stake in the rental home Socimi Témpore Properties, of which it controls 98.38%.

Témpore owns 2,268 rental homes, making it the third largest operator in the Spanish rental home market. It closed last year with a loss of €384,394, but is expected to generate profits from 2020.

Sareb opened a process on 7 March to receive binding offers for Témpore. At least four funds expressed their interest, but it is understood that TPG is the only candidate left in the running.

The operation is expected to close during the month of May.

Original story: La Vanguardia

Translation: Carmel Drake

OHL Negotiates the Sale of Canalejas for €200M to Raise Liquidity

15 April 2019 – Expansión

The construction group OHL is considering selling its 50% stake in the Canalejas complex in order to raise cash. The other half was acquired by the PokerStars founder, Mark Scheinberg, in February 2017.

Canalejas, which is located in the centre of Madrid, just a stone’s throw from Puerta del Sol, and which is going to house Spain’s first Four Seasons hotel, with 200 rooms and a 15,000 m2 high-end shopping arcade, is one of the jewel’s in OHL’s crown. Nevertheless, the construction company chaired by Juan Villar-Mir de Fuentes, needs funding to undertake new projects and return to growth, and so it is considering selling its 50% stake in the complex.

Although no formal competitive process has been opened, sources report that preliminary conversations are being held with interested investors, including one international fund.

Canalejas spans a surface area of 50,000 m2 and its development has involved the investment of €525 million. The complex is due to open in the final quarter of this year.

Original story: Expansión (by R. Arroyo & C. Morán)

Translation/Summary: Carmel Drake

Criteria Finalises the Purchase of a 8,000 m2 Building in 22@ for €35M

9 April 2019 – Eje Prime

InmoCaixa, the real estate arm of La Caixa’s holding company Criteria is finalising the purchase of a 8,000 m2 building located at number 331 Calle Llull, in the 22@ district of Barcelona.

The building is managed by the German fund manager GLL and the purchase price is reported to amount to €35 million.

The property is currently leased in its entirety, mostly to Torraspapel, the paper company belonging to the Lecta group, which occupies 7,000 m2.

Original story: Eje Prime 

Translation/Summary: Carmel Drake

CVC to Purchase the Universidad Alfonso X for c. €1.1bn

26 March 2019 – El Confidencial

Following Permira’s acquisition of Universidad Europea de Madrid in December for €770 million, CVC Capital Partners is following suit. The private equity firm is on the verge of completing negotiations to buy Universidad Alfonso X El Sabio (UAX), also in Madrid.

The consideration for the operation could amount to €1.1 billion, equivalent to 14 x EBITDA, an investment record that reflects the huge interest in the sector from private equity firms.

The main shareholders of UAX are Jesús Núñez, who owns a 72% stake and Manuel Piñera Gil Delgado, who owns 15.67%, together with his ex-wife María Teresa Gallego García, heir of the alcoholic beverage company DYC. Another 7% is owned by their nephew José Jaime Núñez.

Currently, the most significant investments owned by CVC Capital Partners in Spain are its 20% stake in Naturgy, worth €3.8 billion, which it shares with Corporación Financiera Alba; its 25% share of CLH worth €1 billion; Deoleo, the olive oil company that is facing serious financial problems; and Lecta, formerly Torraspapel.

Jesús Núñez created UAX in 1993 after reaching an agreement with the Town Hall of Villanueva de la Cañada, which granted him the right to use 1 million m2 of land for 75 years on which to build the campus. The university now educates 15,000 students per year, generates a turnover of €104 million and makes a net profit of €45 million.

Original story: El Confidencial (by Agustín Marco)

Translation/Summary: Carmel Drake