Emesa Sells a 32,000 m2 Warehouse to Blackstone for €18M

17 June 2019 – Eje Prime

Emesa has completed the sale of a logistics warehouse spanning 32,000 m2 located in Valls (Tarragona) to the US fund Blackstone for €18 million, as part of its mission to divest its non-strategic assets.

The warehouse does not currently have a tenant and will have to be renovated before being put up for rent.  

Original story: Eje Prime

Translation/Summary: Carmel Drake

El Corte Inglés Doubles its Assets for Sale to €3bn & Invites Preliminary Offers by End of March

11 March 2019 – El Confidencial

El Corte Inglés has set a deadline of the end of March for interested parties to submit their preliminary bids for its real estate assets. Moreover, it has increased the perimeter of the portfolio from the initial value of between €1.5 billion and €2 billion to €3 billion.

ECI engaged PwC at the end of 2018 to help it define the perimeter, which comprises non-strategic assets, primarily land, offices, logistics platforms and stores.

The portfolio can be divided into three batches, based on on the liquidity of the assets: assets in good locations and with the possibility of being sold quickly (liquid) account for around one third of the perimeter; intermediate assets represent around 15% of the total; and just over half of the portfolio comprises assets that are not very liquid or that are located in complicated areas.

The aim of the sale is to use the funds raised to reduce the distribution group’s debt, which amounted to €3.8 billion at the end of 2017, equivalent to around four times its EBITDA of c. €1 billion.

Original story: El Confidencial (by Jorge Zuloaga & Ruth Ugalde)

Translation/Summary: Carmel Drake

Bain Capital Launches a €1.25bn Fund to Invest in Europe

10 March 2019 – Eje Prime

Bain Capital has created a fund to invest €1.25 billion in European real estate. The US investment group is expected to concentrate a large part of that investment in Spain, where it already controls the property developer Habitat.

The target of the new fund will be portfolios of non-performing loans and non-strategic assets, of which there are plenty in the Spanish market.

Bain Capital has acquired several portfolios from financial institutions in Spain in recent years with a gross value of €3.5 billion.

Original story: Eje Prime

Translation: Carmel Drake

El Corte Inglés Considers Creating a Socimi to List its Real Estate Assets on the Stock Market

15 February 2019 – Modaes.es

El Corte Inglés is looking for solutions for its portfolio of real estate assets. The Qatari sheikh Hamad Al Thani, the third largest shareholder in the Madrilenian department store group, has proposed the creation of a Socimi to manage the rental of its assets.

The plan proposed by Al Thani, who entered the company’s share capital last summer, involves creating a company in which El Corte Inglés would own a 51% stake. The remaining 49% of the shares would be listed on the stock market.

The Qatari investor already proposed this solution to the previous President of the group, Dimas Gimeno, but it was not successful then, according to El Economista. For the time being, the Board of Directors of El Corte Inglés has not received a formal petition regarding the plan.

The real estate portfolio of El Corte Inglés is worth €17.1 billion, according to a report from Tinsa. The department stores and hypermarkets are worth €15.0 billion, whilst the warehouses, offices and mixed-use buildings are worth €1.1 billion. Finally, the high street establishments are valued at €1 billion.

It is estimated that, in the event that the operation proposed by the sheikh goes ahead, the valuation of the assets could amount to half their current value, around €8.2 billion, according to Tinsa.

In parallel, the group is continuing to work on the sale of 130 real estate assets worth €2 billion in conjunction with the consultancy firm PwC. The property that El Corte Inglés wants to divest now comprises land, offices and buildings defined as non-strategic. Those assets also include some logistics centres.

The objective of these divestments is to reduce the group’s debt so that it can obtain a level of solvency that will allow it to raise financing in the capital markets at a lower price. In this sense, Núñez de la Rosa, the President of the group, has committed to reducing the group’s liabilities by €1 billion in twelve months.

Currently, the real estate portfolio of El Corte Inglés comprises 94 shopping centres, which account for 87% of the total value of the company’s assets. Two of those properties are valued at more than €500 million each, and another two are worth between €400 million and €500 million each.

The department store group recorded EBITDA of €335 million during the first half of 2018, up by 4.4% YoY. Between January and August, the company recorded turnover of €7.6 billion, up by 0.4% YoY.

Original story: Modaes.es

Translation: Carmel Drake

Mapfre Accelerates its Divestments: 250 Properties Up For Sale

9 November 2018 – Economía Digital

Mapfre acknowledged in its annual report for 2017 that its real estate strategy “was focused on the divestment of non-strategic assets”. That strategy has intensified in 2018: the Spanish insurance company has started a major sales operation, involving more than 250 assets, which now have a “for sale” sign hanging over them. The divestment will materialise next year.

According to sources speaking to Economía Digital, Mapfre has engaged Solvia, the real estate firm still owned by Banco Sabadell – which is up for sale itself and which is expected to change hands before the end of the year – to exclusively market 256 real estate assets located across Spain, although they are particularly concentrated in Barcelona, Valencia and Madrid.

The most important assets in this portfolio are six plots in Madrid, Las Palmas and Mallorca, whose sale is expected before the end of this year. The other assets are essentially commercial premises that Mapfre owns as investment assets and leases to third parties. The divestment period will run until 31 December 2019.

The plots and offices that the insurance company wants to sell are located in around a dozen Spanish provinces. Approximately, half of them are situated in three autonomous regions: the Community of Valencia, Cataluña and Madrid, although the firm also has assets in Galicia, Andalucía, Aragón and Navarra.

When consulted by this newspaper, Mapfre and Solvia did not deny the operation but they did decline to comment. Sources at the insurance company have explained that the company is constantly rotating its real estate assets and searching for others of more value, although they have not explained whether the company is currently investing or not.

Mapfre’s real estate sales

The truth is that in 2016 and 2017, Mapfre completed some major real estate divestments, but it did not get rid of anything close to 250 assets in either year. Last year, it sold properties for €130 million, mainly corresponding to four large assets: a plot in Madrid for €5.5 million; a building also in Madrid for €72 million; and two plots in Palma de Mallorca for €22.5 million. With these sales, the company chaired by Antonio Huertas (pictured above) obtained capital gains of €65 million.

In 2016, the entity’s property sales were clearly impacted by the sale of a majority stake in Torre Mapfre in Barcelona. First, it tried to sell that property to an investor who wanted to convert it into a Four Seasons hotel, but after failing to obtain the necessary permits due to Ada Colau’s moratorium, it sold 66% to the Fundación Mapfre for €175.4 million and renovated it.

Mapfre’s real estate risk amounts to around €3 billion. Specifically, it closed 2017 with properties that had a market value of €2.945 billion, around €170 million lower than in 2016. More than €1.2 billion correspond to own-use properties, such as headquarters and offices, whilst almost €1.7 billion are investment assets, including the portfolio that the entity has put up for sale through Solvia (…).

Original story: Economia Digital (by Xavier Alegret)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Colonial Divests 7 Office Buildings & 1 Turnkey Project in Madrid for €441M

6 October 2018 – Real Estate Press

Colonial has announced the sale of seven office buildings and a turnkey project in Madrid for a total price of €441 million. The sales have been made under very favourable conditions for the company for a premium of 12% above the most recent valuation.

The assets transacted have a gross leasable area of 106,574 m2 and are located, for the most part (91%) outside of the city’s central business district. They are non-strategic buildings for the company outside of the M-30, mature assets and a project in Castellana Sur / Mendez Álvaro.

Colonial has divested assets, which after a recent real estate transformation have reached high occupancy levels and the maximum point in the cycle for the creation of real estate value. For example, in the case of Alcalá 30-32, the rental contract was recently renegotiated with a +21% increase in the rental price and which is currently 100% occupied by the Public Administration with a long-term contract.

Office project

Colonial has reached an agreement with Grupo Catalana Occidente to sell it a turnkey project spanning more than 20,000 m2 on a plot that it acquired under the framework of the Alpha-III project in January. The project is located in the Méndez Álvaro office market and will allow the consolidation of the Castellana Sur area with the occupancy of the building by a large corporation.

Similarly, Colonial will begin construction of another major project “Méndez Álvaro Campus” over the next few months. That project has an above ground surface area of 90,000 m2 and will house the largest office complex inside the M-30.

Optimal conditions at the right time

This operation has been carried out taking advantage of the good momentum in the office investment market in Spain, which is continuing to generate strong interest amongst institutional and private investors.

Only 4 months have passed since the company identified these assets for sale along with the potential investors, demonstrating the Colonial Group’s capacity to execute this type of transaction under optimal conditions.

The buyers include institutional investors of recognised prestige such as Tristan Capital Partners, Real I.S. and Grupo Catalana Occidente. In the different operations, Colonial has received legal advice from Ramón y Cajal Abogados and Roca Junyent

Reinvestment of capital focused on Prime

The funds received from the divestments will be used primarily to finance the portfolio of high-quality office projects spanning a surface area of 320,000 m2, as well as the company’s acquisition program. The Group’s net indebtedness (LTV) following the divestment of these assets will clearly fall below 40%.

“The company frames these divestments within its strategy to focus on prime assets with maximum added value, where demand and value growth are most notable. With this operation, Colonial increases its flexibility and capacity to continue developing its growth strategy, focused on projects with maximum values and returns”, explained Pere Viñolas, CEO of Colonial.

Original story: Real Estate Press

Translation: Carmel Drake

Unibail-Rodamco Puts 4 Shopping Centres Up For Sale

14 March 2018 – Eje Prime

Unibail-Rodamco is getting rid of a package of assets that are non-strategic for the group. The French giant has put the following complexes up for sale: Los Arcos, in Sevilla; Bahía Sur, in Cádiz; Vallsur, in Valladolid, and El Faro, in Badajoz, on the basis that they do not fulfil the group’s needs in the Spanish market, according to sources close to the company speaking to Eje Prime.

According to the same sources, “the assets that the group wants to divest are profitable, but due to their location, size and strategy, the firm has decided to get rid of them”. Unibail-Rodamco has entrusted the sale of these four assets to the real estate consultancy firm Cushman&Wakefield.

Sector sources say that, initially, the Equinocio shopping centre in Madrid was also going to be put on the market alongside the other four assets, however, Unibail-Rodamco must have changed its mind at the last moment. The price that Unibail-Rodamco has set for each asset is unknown.

The sale of these four assets forms part of the operation that the firm carried out last year with Barnasud, the complex acquired by Meridia Capital, a Catalan fund owned by the businessman Javier Faus, which paid Unibail-Rodamco €35 million for the asset.

In recent years, the French group has spent a significant amount on the renovation of some of its shopping centres in Spain. The most ambitious project was the Glòries shopping centre, where the company invested €150 million on its complete transformation. In total, the transformation added 12,500 m2 of public space, spread over 8,500 m2 of new streets, 2,500 m2 of urbanisation and pavements around the site and 1,500 m2 of new green space in the 22@ neighbourhood.

Whilst Unibail-Rodamco waits to receive the green light for the expansion of one of its main shopping centres in Spain, La Maquinista, the group’s portfolio in Spain comprises 12 shopping centres, with Barcelona and Madrid as the cities that are home to the most complexes. Whilst in the Catalan capital, the company operates La Maquinista, Glòries and Splau, in Madrid it manages La Vaguada, Equinoccio and Parquesur shopping centres.

In the rest of the country, Unibail-Rodamco has one complex in Valencia, Bonaire; one in Cádiz, Bahía Sur; one in Sevilla, Los Arcos; Vallsur, in Valladolid; El Faro, in Badajoz, and one in San Sebastián, which operates under the name Garbera.

Currently, the group led by Christophe Cuvillier has a portfolio in Spain worth €3.6 billion, which receives 126.2 million visitors per year. These assets represent 10% of the firm’s global portfolio.

Double-digit growth in Spain

The company ended last year in the Spanish market with a net profit of €161 million, up by 10.3% compared to 2016, when the group earned €146 million.

In this way, Spain has become one of the highest growth countries for Unibail-Rodamco. In all of the markets in which it operates, the French company recorded a net profit of €1.35 billion in 2017, up by 5.8% compared to the previous year, when its earnings amounted to €1.27 billion (…).

Original story: Eje Prime (by Custodio Pareja)

Translation: Carmel Drake

UBS Euroinvest Fund Acquires Core Madrid Office Asset

6 March 2018 – Property Funds World

UBS Real Estate has acquired the Titán 8 office asset in Madrid on behalf of the UBS (D) Euroinvest Immobilien fund. This transaction represents Euroinvest’s debut investment since the fund’s recent strategic relaunch.

Titán 8 is a prominent office asset in the south of Madrid comprising 18 storeys spread across 10,633 sqm and including 228 underground car parking spaces. The imposing tower has been acquired in Grade A condition having been completed according to the highest quality, efficiency and design standards in 2008 and well-maintained since. It features a glass curtain wall façade that offers impressive views from upper levels. Main tenants are from the financial business, the energy and service provider industry.

The asset is strategically located in Madrid’s business district of Méndez Álvaro, in the south of the city centre, and benefits from strong transport links, positioned adjacent to the M30 ring-road, providing access to Madrid’s international airport in just 15 minutes and with the capital’s main train station, Atocha, nearby. With highly constrained supply in the area and resilient occupier demand, Méndez Álvaro office rents have demonstrated buoyant performance over recent years.

Euroinvest comprises an EUR820 million portfolio of predominantly core office assets located across key European cities. Following a strategic review of the Fund, Euroinvest has strengthened its core-profile through the disposal of non-strategic assets and delivered a strong performance of 4.4 percent for its investors (as of 31 December 2017), outperforming its benchmark (MSCI OFIX Europe) by 260 basis points. The Fund’s management team is actively seeking further attractive investment opportunities that are in line with its strategy across top performing European markets.

Alexander Isak, Fund Manager of Euroinvest, says: “As the fund’s maiden investment since relaunching, Titán 8 is a perfect illustration of the high quality and resilient assets that we are targeting, benefitting from an excellent location which is proven to generate robust occupier demand and offering further upside as the Spanish economy strengthens.”

“We are pleased to be in a position to prudently invest in new attractive opportunities that we are identifying in the market, following a disciplined programme of non-strategic disposals and the extensive management of the Fund’s assets that has delivered a viable core European real estate portfolio for our investors.”

Euroinvest was established in 1999 as the first open-ended public fund focusing primarily on institutional investors, with this category of investors currently holding more than 95 percent of the Fund’s units. Its investment strategy is focused on core office properties located in the strongest European cities, demonstrating resilient occupational demand.

Original story: Property Funds World

Edited by: Carmel Drake

Duro Felguera Sells 2 Madrid Office Buildings to Signal Capital

14 March 2018 – Property Funds World

Signal Capital Partners has completed the acquisition of two office buildings in Madrid from Duro Felguera. Optimus Global Investors acted as sole advisor instructed by the vendor.

The largest building is the corporate headquarters of Duro Felguera in Madrid, which is located at Via de los Poblados 7, in the consolidated Campo de las Naciones Business Park. The freestanding office building comprises an area of almost 14,000 sqm GLA, set over five floors, as well as two basements with 228 car parking spaces. Duro Felguera has entered into a new lease over part of this building.

The Campo de las Naciones office market is considered to be one of Madrid’s most established and attractive office markets outside the CBD, strategically located midway between the Barajas airport and the CBD and near Madrid’s exhibition centre. The building benefits from both high visibility from the main ring road (M-40) and large open plan floor layouts. It is also next to the Cristalia Business Park, comprising almost 100,000 sqm of office accommodation, a modern hotel and amenities such as a nursery and several restaurants.

The second property is a vacant office building located at Calle Jacinto Benavente 4 in Las Rozas, Madrid. That property comprises an area of 2,600 sqm GLA, set over three floors and with 133 car parking places. The property, next to Tripark, is located in the Las Rozas Business Park, a consolidated office area in the northwest of Madrid in which well-known multinationals such as HP, Bankia, Oracle, Día, Santander, Adidas, ING and Triodos, amongst others, are located. It has a high occupancy rate, is easily accessible by car from the main highways of Madrid (A-6, M-40 and M-50) and enjoys amenities such as restaurants, gyms, shopping centres (Las Rozas Village and Heron City) and leisure activities.

Kris Van Lancker, Managing Director at Optimus Global Investors, says: “This has been one of the most complex transactions in which Optimus has successfully advised. The difficulty lay in finding the fine balance between the financial and office space needs of Duro Felguera in the scope of its global refinancing program and the investment requirements of Signal Capital Partners. It allows Duro Felguera to divest its non-strategic assets and at the same time helps Signal meet its risk-adjusted return targets.”

Original story: Property Funds World

Edited by: Carmel Drake

Colonial Concludes that Axiare Holds Non-Strategic Assets Worth €300M

26 February 2018 – El Confidencial

Axiare has assets susceptible to divestment worth €300 million”. That is according to the President of Inmobiliaria Colonial, Juan José Brugera (pictured below, left), and his CEO, Pere Viñolas (pictured below, right), at the presentation of the company’s results.

“We are least interested in the Socimi’s logistics and retail assets, but that does not mean that we are going to sell off all of those assets or that said divestment is going to be undertaken this year. We have not yet been able to determine whether the assets will be sold in the end or when, due to the fact that we are not yet involved in the ordinary management of the company”, they said.

What assets are we talking about? As at September 2017, Axiare held logistics assets with a net value (GAV) of €192.6 million, spanning more than 466,235 m2. The vast majority are located in Madrid and the rest in Barcelona and other markets. To give us an idea, Axiare’s portfolio at the end of the third quarter of last year comprised 74% offices (50% in prime areas), 18% logistics platforms and 8% commercial assets (…)

Colonial, which registered a record net profit of €683 million in 2017, more than doubling (+149%) the figure obtained in the previous year, boosted by growth in the rental income of its office buildings and the appreciation in value of its assets, also estimates making net future investments of between €300 million and €400 million, in line with those undertaken to date.

In other words, between investments and investments, the net result is going to hover around the €300 million mark. These investments are going to focus on those markets where the firms already have a presence and so they will strongly back Madrid, Barcelona and Paris. Moreover, they are expected to be financed, to a large extent, through the traditional mature asset rotation policy. “We are going to continue investing, and also selling”, said both directors.

The merger will be ready in H2 2018

In this way, the real estate company is going to continue with the organic growth strategy that it has been pursuing since 2015, whilst working on the integration process with Axiare, which it estimates will take between four and five months to complete. As such, Colonial expects to close its merger with the Socimi during the second half of the year, which will materialise through a share exchange to take around 13.1% of the firm that it does not control yet.

“Of the possible alternatives, a merger is the most likely”, although both Bruguera and Viñolas have said that all of the options are currently being evaluated and that there will not be any decision in this regard until the second half of the year. Similarly, they said that they are “in conversations with Axiare to join its Board of Directors”, where they do not have a presence yet even though they increased their stake to 86.86% through the takeover, so as to take part in the Socimi’s management whilst the merger goes ahead (…).

New real estate giant

For the time being, the integration between Colonial and Axiare, which constitutes the first merger between the new generation of Socimis, will give rise to a company with real estate assets worth €11.079 billion, thus surpassing Merlin Properties. Of those assets, €9.282 billion will correspond to office buildings that Colonial owns in the centre of Madrid, Barcelona and Paris, spanning a surface area of 1.36 million m2, and the remaining €1.797 billion will correspond to assets contributed by Axiare, most of which are also offices, according to the year-end valuations completed by both companies.

In addition, the two companies generated a joint net profit of €700 million and turnover from rental income of €355 million in 2017. Nevertheless, Colonial calculates that the combined group’s revenues will increase to €500 million once the projects it currently has under development come onto the market.

Original story: El Confidencial (by E. Sanz)

Translation: Carmel Drake