Goldman Sachs Pays €63M for A Plot of Land in Madrid

6 December 2018 – Eje Prime

Goldman Sachs is targeting the prime housing market in Madrid. The US investment fund has just purchased a plot of land in the centre of the Spanish capital for €63.7 million. The development of luxury apartments planned for the site is going to be built by the Catalan property developer Uniq.

The acquired plot is located at number 147 Paseo de la Habana and has a finalist surface area of 10,000 m2. The vendors are members of a family from Asturias. In the bid for this plot, Goldmans competed with other funds and property developers, such as Grupo Ibosa, Grosvenor, Pryconsa, Domo and Nozar, according to El Confidencial.

With this partnership, Uniq will have the possibility of increasing its presence in Madrid, where it already has a project underway in a former tenement building in Plaza de San Juan de la Cruz. Now, the Catalan property developer is going to build a development less than 1km from Paseo de la Castellana and the Santiago Bernabeú.

The area in which the development will be located has been receiving a lot of investment from wealthy Latin American families, recently. They are driving prices up in the residential market since they are “willing to pay well above the market average”, according to sources in the sector speaking to Eje Prime. They are interested in withdrawing their capital from their countries of origin, many of which are unstable, economically speaking, to invest in Spanish real estate, which offers them greater security.

Original story: Eje Prime 

Translation: Carmel Drake

Grupo Ibosa Acquires 10,000m2 Plot on Paseo de la Habana for c. €70M

24 July 2018 – El Confidencial

It has undoubtedly become the most expensive land operation since the start of the real estate recovery. Paseo de la Habana, 147 has smashed all records, given that almost €70 million has been put on the table for its 10,000 m2, which represents a repercussion price of between €6,500/m2 and €7,000/m2. That figure is significantly higher than the expectations of the plot’s vendors, which had set a sales price range of between €60 million and €65 million.

Since the real estate bubble burst, no one has paid such a high repercussion price for a plot of land. The figure comfortably exceeds the €5,000/m2 that the builder Rafael Ortiz and the popular shipping entrepreneur Fernando Fernández Tapias paid in 2007, at the height of the boom for a plot located on Juan Bravo 3, where the Spanish capital’s largest luxury development is currently being constructed, Lagasca 99.

Since coming onto the market just three months ago, the plots have passed through the offices of more than a dozen property developers and private investors and, although many of them agree on the high price of the operation, the fact is that the plot has had half a dozen suitors in the end.

The companies that placed an offer on the table include Nozar, Grosvenor, Domo and Pryconsa, although the successful bidder in the end was Grupo Ibosa, according to some of the candidates that have been left out of the process, speaking to El Confidencial. Both JLL, the consultancy firm advising the sales process, and Ibosa declined to comment in this regard.

The plot in question is located in the heart of Madrid, opposite the Cuban consulate, just 700 m from Paseo de la Castellana and 1km away from the Santiago Bernabéu stadium, where the supply of buildable land for sale is very scarce. In fact, the vast majority of the projects in the area are being built in renovated properties.

Five detached homes are currently being constructed on the acquired plot, with surface areas of between 300 m2 and 400 m2 each, which will have to be demolished to make way for the buyer’s future project. All indications are that a luxury apartment development will be built on the plot, which will be added to the high-end projects that Ibosa currently has underway in Valdemarín – on some plots it acquired from Blackstone – and in Aravaca, and marketing of which has just been launched.

The lack of new build product in the area and the high demand explain this pressure on prices. The development will be built in the Chamartín district, which is home to some of the most sought-after residential areas in the centre of the city, such as El Viso, where the Venezuelan investors Miguel Ángel and Áxel Capriles arrived in April last year to purchase Villa San José on Pablo Aranda 3, just opposite Florentino Pérez’s real estate bunker.

In terms of benchmark prices, one example is the 11 homes that are being built on the plots of the former headquarters of RTVE. The Ministry of Finance put that plot up for auction at the end of 2015 and it was awarded to Martell Investment for €10.8 million, which represents a repercussion price of €4,800/m2. Construction of those homes has now begun and the prices fluctuate around €7,000/m2.

Boom in prices

In just two years, the prices in the most sought-after neighbourhoods of the Spanish capital have soared by more than 20% (…).

According to a recent report from Engel & Völkers, maximum prices in this Madrilenian neighbourhood amount to €6,000/m2, although, as sources specialising in the sale of luxury homes at the agency explain, “there are no new build properties in the area, and so the final prices depend a lot on the features of each project”.

In terms of the area, like in the most trendy areas of Madrid, prices have risen sharply over the last year. According to Engel & Völkers, prices have risen by 10% since 2017, “although, at the moment, more operations are being closed than last year because there is greater access to credit, but, nevertheless, prices are barely rising”.

Original story: El Confidencial (by E. Sanz)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Who are the Key Players in the Spanish Real Estate Market?

4 May 2018 – El Mundo

House sales are on the rise, as are house prices and rentals. Mortgages are also continuing their upward trend. Moreover, the resurgence of real estate activity is now a reality that can be seen in the increase in the number of new construction and real estate companies.

A recent report published by Gedesco, a firm specialising in financing for companies, says that one in four of the businesses created in Spain during the first quarter of 2018 belonged to the construction or property development sectors.

That represented a volume of almost 6,000 companies, 1.75% more than during the same quarter in 2017. With respect to the last three months of last year, the increase amounts to 21.9%.

Some good news to help us try to forget the fact that 142,576 construction companies disappeared between 2008 and January 2017 – both building firms and property developers -, according to the latest data from Spain’s National Institute of Statistics (INE).

In eight years, the sector went from having almost 360,000 companies to having just 216,987, a reduction of 39%. If we take the look at real estate companies, there were 106,375 in 2008, whereas there were just 67,812 by 2017, almost half.

The data compiled by INE reveals another interesting fact: the construction companies that had more than 5,000 employees in 2008 have disappeared. Although there were actually only three (including building firms and property developers), by 2017, there were just nine companies with 500 or more workers.

Names such as Martinsa Fadesa – created by the businessman Fernando Martín-, Astroc (chaired by Enrique Bañuelos) and Nozar went into the history books of the Spanish real estate sector, after failing to survive the impact of the recession.

Good health

Now, the outlook for the sector is looking healthy, in line with the increase in construction activity, which last year recorded a 28.9% increase in new build permits, to 80,786. According to the latest data from the Ministry of Development, corresponding to the first two months of this year, new home permits rose by 17.4% to 8,035 in February. Estimates in the sector indicate an output of 150,000 homes p.a. for the next few years.

For Elisa Valero, Marketing Director at Gedesco, “the construction sector is back in business”. Nevertheless, the director adds that “the creation of businesses has never gone away, if we look back a few years, the property developers were still there, but the volume of business creation was much lower”.

Whereas 5,000 companies are now being created, in 2011 – at the height of the crisis – just 2,000 were being constituted (…).

Success stories

Another report published in recent weeks by the College of Registrars in Spain also shows that real estate activity in the country is gaining momentum. In 2017, the weight of construction companies and property developers over the total number of businesses constituted rose to 20%, and the rate of growth in relation to 2016 was 14%.

But, looking beyond the figures and back to specific cases (…) we see, for example, that two of the largest property developers of the current cycle were created less than three years ago. The firms in question: Neinor Homes and Aedas, which were created in 2015 and 2016, respectively.

The origins of Vía Célere, another of the important property developers these days, dates back to 2007, at the height of the crisis. The firm emerged after Juan Antonio Gómez-Pintado sold the company that he had chaired, Agofer, and created Vía Célere.

In all three cases, the presence of funds in the shareholding of the companies has stimulated their rates of investment to purchase land on which to build new homes.

Second chances

On the list of property developers that have been created recently, highlights include Kronos Homes, Stoneweg and Q21 Real Estate.

There is another noteworthy name on the current panorama, which, although it cannot be considered a new company, is a clear example of the resurgence of a business after the crisis. The company in question is Metrovacesa. Following a facelift by its creditor banks, it returned to the stock market at the beginning of this year, after abandoning it in 2013.

The firm, controlled by BBVA and Santander, stands out since it is the largest landowner in Spain, amongst the listed property developers, with 6.1 million m2 of land spread over the whole country, with the capacity to build 37,500 homes.

Business transformations such as the one involving Metrovacesa were commonplace during the crisis and resulted in the appearance of new players on the real estate stage.

Another illustrative example has been the birth of the so-called servicers. These companies have emerged in recent years from the former real estate subsidiaries of the banks.

Altamira (whose origins are found in Banco Santander), Servihabitat (La Caixa), and Solvia (Banco Sabadell), amongst others, are fulfilling the mission entrusted to them: to take on the bank’s property, enabling them to complete their clean-ups and to divest the assets by taking advantage of the current boom in activity.

The servicers, whose main activity is located in the Community of Madrid, are also responsible for selling the properties of another one of the stars created in recent years: Sareb, commonly known as the bad bank.

In 2018, that company celebrates its 5th birthday, and during its short life, it has taken over the properties of the entities that have been intervened as a result of the bank restructuring (…).

In recent months, Sareb has also started to market its first new build developments constructed on own land that it holds in its portfolio. In addition, last week, it launched a campaign to sell 3,314 homes along the coast, 95% of which will be lived in for the first time by their new owners.

The Socimis

If there is one group of players that stands out above all of the other newly created real estate companies it is the Socimis.

The real estate investment companies started to trade on the Spanish stock exchange in 2012 as a result of a regulatory change introduced by the Government that gave them free reign to do so.

The Socimis Entrecampos and Promorent were the first to make their debuts. Six years on, there are 51 such companies and, according to some estimates, that number may reach 100 in the future. Merlin, Axiare, Hispania, Lar España, Testa and Colonial – the largest by volume – have all been created in the last four years and are now competing with property developers, such as Neinor and Aedas, on the real estate stage and on the stock market.

In April, one of the newest faces, Sareb’s Socimi Témpore, made its debut. In its first month on the Alternative Investment Market (MAB), it has seen its share price appreciate by 3.85%. When it made its stock market debut, the company’s valuation amounted to €152 million (…).

Original story: El Mundo (by María José Gómez-Serranillos)

Translation: Carmel Drake

UBS Finalises Purchase of Torre Titán from España-Duero for €50M

29 December 2017 – Voz Pópuli

UBS is on the verge of closing one of the largest real estate operations of this year-end. The Swiss entity is negotiating the purchase of one of the two Titán towers, owned by Banco Ceiss (España-Duero), a subsidiary of Unicaja. The sale is in its final phase and could be closed within the next few days, for more than €50 million, according to financial sources consulted by Vozpópuli.

The final consideration may even reach €55 million, which is exactly the price that España-Duero paid Nozar for the tower in 2008. That acquisition caused a great deal of controversy at the time to the point that some of the former directors of Caja Duero were subjected to investigations, but the case was archived in the end.

The Titán towers are two 13-storey buildings constructed by Nozar in 2008. One of them is owned by Invesco (which acquired it in 2011 for €40 million) and leased to the state-owned firm Adif. The other one is owned by España-Duero and it not only houses the headquarters of Unicaja’s subsidiary but is also home to Nozar and Enagás.

Ceiss continues

This process has been led by Irea, according to El Economista, and two other consultancy firms, Knight Frank and Aguirre Newman, have also been involved, in the search for tenants for the 30,000 m2 of available space. The useful surface area for offices is 10,722 m2.

According to sources close to the operation, España-Duero is expected to commit to continue to occupy the offices. The entity is in the middle of a merger with Unicaja, after the Malagan entity acquired the 12.5% stake that it did not own in the subsidiary from the Frob.

During the IPO in the middle of this year, the heads of Unicaja expressed their intention to merge the two companies (Unicaja and Banco Ceiss). As such, observers in the market speculate that Torre Titán will serve as the new headquarters for the central services team in Madrid.

The sale of Torre Titán will be added to the list of divestments that the Unicaja Banco group has been carrying out in recent weeks. Earlier this month, it sold a portfolio of foreclosed assets to the fund Axactor, as this newspaper revealed.

Original story: Voz Pópuli (by Jorge Zuloaga)

Translation: Carmel Drake

EspañaDuero Finalises Sale of its Madrid HQ

19 December 2017 – El Economista

Over the next few weeks, EspañaDuero will close the sale of its headquarters in Madrid, located on Calle Titán 8, according to confirmation from various sources in the sector, who say that the entity is holding advanced, exclusive negotiations with an investor.

The entity, which is soon going to be completely integrated into Unicaja Banco, declined to comment about the operation. However, this sale is reminiscent of the divestment strategy that the entity has been carrying out in recent years.

The office block that is about to be sold is located in the Méndez Álvaro area of the Spanish capital, overlooking the M-30 ring road. It also houses the offices of Enagás and Nozar, the former owner of the property. In this way, Caja Duero acquired the building for €55.8 million in 2008, a price that is €9 million higher than its current valuation.

At the end of 2011, following the merger of the entity with Caja España, which resulted in the creation of the current EspañaDuero, the combined company moved its offices to Caja Duero’s headquarters in Madrid, on Calle Marqués de Villamagna, 6.

In 2015, the company began a period of office restructuring, which led it to sell one of its real estate jewels: the former headquarters of Caja España in Madrid, on Calle Velázquez 23, in the heart of the Salamanca neighbourhood.

A year later, in the middle of 2016, EspañaDuero decided to move its headquarters again and vacate the offices on Marqués de Villamagna, very close to Madrid’s Paseo de la Castellana. The entity put them up for sale for €90 million and moved to Titán 8. Now, history is repeating itself, as the entity continues to sell off property, in a discrete sales process being advised by the consultancy firm Irea, according to the same sources.

The 13-storey building, including one underground floor and three basement levels for parking, has a total surface area, including the outside space, of 18,152 m2, of which 10,711 m2 are offices and 6,643 m2 are garages, with 212 parking spaces.

Currently, the property has almost 3,000 m2 of office space available for rent, which is being marketed by Knight Frank and Aguirre Newman.

Original story: El Economista (by Alba Brualla)

Translation: Carmel Drake

The New Kings Of The Residential Market

17 November 2016 – Expansión

The crisis in the real estate sector not only led to the disappearance of some of the historical giants, such as Martinsa Fadesa, Reyal Urbis and Nozar, it has also resulted in a structural change in the residential landscape, with the emergence of new players, including several international investment funds, which have revived the market by injecting their capital. (…).

“Traditionally, the residential sector has been a very polarised market, with lots of local developers playing key roles. Nevertheless, the residential business model has changed following the crisis. In 2014, we began to see new players emerging in the form of partnerships between local property developers and international investment funds, with the funds providing the capital and the developers the local knowledge and ability to manage the market”, explains Ernesto Tarazona, Partner-Director of Residential and Land at Knight Frank.

Meanwhile, the National Director of Residential at CBRE, Samuel Población, explains that the partnerships created by the international funds and local developers bring together the local developers’ capacity to manage and know the local market, and the funds’ capacity to invest and provide solvency levels (…). “Grupo Lar and Pimco; Renta Corporación and Kennedy Wilson; Momentum Real Estate and HMC; Aquila Capital and Inmoglacier; Mina Inmobiliaria and Eurostone; Aelca and Värde; and Q21 Real Estate and Baupost, are just some of the partnerships that have been formed in recent months”, he says.

In this way, we are seeing “the professionalisation of the sector with institutional money that wants to enter this market”, says Borja Ortega, Director of Capital Markets at JLL. (…).

Enrique Isla, Partner at King & Wood Mallesons (KWM), explains that, in addition, some of the funds have burst into the market by purchasing real estate companies in order to access their portfolios of land as well as their management teams. “That was the case with Lone Star’s purchase from Kutxabank of its real estate subsidiary Neinor; and Värde’s acquisition of Sanjosé’s real estate subsidiary to create Dospuntos; it also explains Castlelake’s interest in Aedas, the property developer that has emerged from the ashes of Vallehermoso”, he adds.

Isla thinks that the investment funds see great potential for growth and profitability in the residential sector, given the improvement in the Spanish economy and employment, as well as the favourable financing conditions.

In this sense, Población points out that the new developments in Spain will have to respond to the depletion in the stock of new housing that we are seeing. “Given the high number of housing permits granted in 2015, we expect between 60,000 and 65,000 new homes to be ready in 2016”. (…).

In addition to the funds, Spain’s banks, through their servicers – companies created during the crisis to streamline the administration and sale of portfolios of properties and loans by financial institutions – are becoming increasingly involved in property development.

In this sense, Anida, one of the few large platforms that is still completely owned by its parent company, BBVA, has just signed an agreement with Inveravante, a holding company owned by Manuel Jove. During the first phase, the new company, in which Jove holds a 70% stake and BBVA the remaining 30% stake, will develop 850 homes in Málaga, Madrid and Las Palmas.

The experts think that other movements of this kind may well take place in the real estate market, given that many of the banks are still major land owners.

Meanwhile, Sareb is continuing to be a major player in the residential market, with its stock of almost 100,000 units as at June last year.

Original story: Expansión (by Rebeca Arroyo)

Translation: Carmel Drake

RE Firms Prevalent On Hacienda’s List Of Overdue Debtors

24 December 2015 – El Mundo

The tax authorities have published their list of overdue debtors for the first time.

Four large construction companies from the bubble – Reyal Urbis, Nózar and the Cordoban companies Prasa and Arenal 2000 – together owe the tax authorities €852 million.

The real estate bubble was made possible not only thanks to the banks’ willingness to grant loans, but also because the property developers that borrowed money stopped paying their taxes. That is the main conclusion to be drawn from the list of overdue debtors that the tax authorities have published for the first time just days before Christmas Eve – which features construction companies and manufacturers of construction materials in abundance. (…).

Almost none of the stars of the Spanish real estate bubble are missing from the list of major overdue borrowers. Four names stand out in particular: Reyal Urbis, owned by Rafael Santamaría; Nózar, owned by the Nozaleda family; the controversial property developer Rafael Gómez ‘Sandokán’ (Arenal 2000) and the Cordoban group Prasa, owned by the Romero family. Together, the four owe debt amounting to €852 million.

Reyal Urbis leads the ranking of overdue borrowers with a tax debt of €378.2 million. (…). But countless other companies owe millions of euros. From Fernando Martín, the major shareholder of the bankrupt Martinsa Fadesa (€65.39 million) to Carlos Cutillas, one of the main operators in the north of the capital with his company Inmobiliaria Chamartín (€20.53 million). Alongside them feature hyperactive property developers from the boom years, such as Dirusa (€40 million), the Lábaro group (€27.8 million) the Álvarez family (Gedeco-Avantis, with €17.7 million) and Detinsa (€29 million).

Riofisa, the construction company created by the Losantos family and acquired at the height of the boom by Luis Portillo, owes €31.97 million. Another one of the major overdue borrowers is Hilario Rodrígeuz Elías, who was considering listing Group Tremón, a construction company with operations in Madrid and Andalucía, on the stock exchange. His companies Atlantis Servicios Inmobiliarios and TR Hoteles Alojamientos y Hosterías together owe €47.77 million. Other less well known property developers that also have sizeable debts with the tax authorities include: Ventero Muñoz (€11 million); the unknown Ramón Olivareas Garrigós (€68.6 million), owner of Grupo Casoli and the company Vivienda y Bienestar SL; Carlos Monteverde de Mesa, owner of Grupo Monteverde (€13.9 million) who was linked to the “Blesa case”; José Ávila Rojas (€4.3 million); and the Torrego family (Conther), former owner of Cine Bogart and Continental Auto (€2.5 million).

Sahanuja, the great Catalan saga

The Sanahuja family owes the tax authorities €37.2 million through three of its companies -Sanahuja Escofet, Sacresa Terrenos and Sacresa, Terrenos y Promociones-. (…). Another one of the largest overdue debtors is Vicente Roig, owner of Grupo Coperfil, who owes the tax authorities €69.79 million through four companies.

Marina D’Or and the Valencian clans

Jesús Ger, who was behind the Marina D’Or golf complex, owes the tax authorities €46.3 million through his company Comercializadora de Mediterránea de Viviendas. (…). The Community of Valencia is very well represented in the list of overdue debtors. Another illustrious surname is that of the Serratosa Caturla brothers, who together have a debt of €15.9 million. They are joined by Bautista Soler, the partner of Luis del Rivera, who owes €26 million through the companies Inmobiliaria Lasho and Urbanas de Levante. Andrés Ballester, owner of Edificaciones Calpe and the company Nereida, with a debt of €17.7 million. And the controversial builder from Alzira, Vicente Girbés Camarasa, owner of Grupo Blauverd, with €20.6 million. And Juan Cotina and his companies Asedes Capital and Asedes Infraestructuras, with €21.4 million.

Other (in)famous overdue borrowers include the Mexican businessman Luis Nozaleda Arenas; the Romero family, the Sánchez Ramade brothers and Rafael Gómez Sandokán, all from Cordoba; and Facundo Armero, the Murcian developer behind Polaris World, who owes €78.5 million.

Original story: El Mundo (by José F. Leal)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Disagreement Between Tax Authorities And 4 Top Banks Over Nozar’s Future

10 March 2015 – Expansión

Two camps have been established in the lengthy bankruptcy process involving the real estate company Nozar. The company, which operates food and hotel companies, in addition to its real estate business, is awaiting the court’s decision as to whether to accept or reject the proposed agreement presented at the end of last year.

This proposal has the support of 30 creditors, which together hold 73.73% of the senior loans and almost 70% of the ordinary loans. The creditors include entities such as Bankia, Banco Sabadell and Hypothekenbank, as well as companies such as Colonial and the Tax Authorities.

Nevertheless, another four financial creditors (BBVA, Popular, CaixaBank and Santander), together with Nozar’s bankruptcy administrators, have expressed their opposition to the proposal. Barclays has decided to abstain.

The confrontation between Nozar and the two bankruptcy administrators has led the company to file a criminal complaint against them. In turn, the administrators, together with the four Spanish banks, are calling for the liquidation (of the company).

The origin of this confrontation stems from a series of agreements that Nozar reached with its creditor banks before it filed for bankruptcy and which caused it to reduce its debt from €3,500 million to around €1,500 million. The bankruptcy administrators estimate that these financial creditors should return around €110 million to Nozar through rescissory actions. Nevertheless, the administrators abandoned the recovery of around €62 million.

Instead, Nozar understands that this figure is much higher and that BBVA, Popular, CaixaBank and Santander should repay €500 million that was (previously) distributed to the creditors. Therefore, the bankruptcy administrator of Dimora Gestión, the company created by Nozar, which is in turn a creditor, has claimed €479.4 million from these entities.

The Tax Authorities, which are owed €200 million, claim the payment of VAT on these rescissory actions; a payment that has been postponed by many real estate companies during the crisis. The creditors that have signed up to the bankruptcy agreement support the formula that once the €500 million from the rescissory actions has been repaid, then €50 million should be paid to the Tax Authorities and the asset shall be distributed based on the debt held by each one.

Original story: Expansión (by R. Ruiz)

Translation: Carmel Drake

ING Puts Up For Sale Old Madrid Headquarters of Telefonica

29/10/2014 – El Confidencial

Real estate investors have been looking forward for long to see the office building at 26 Rios Rosas street, Chamberi district, Madrid available for purchase. Former headquarters of Telefonica, which in fact still occupies several floors of the property, has fallen into hands of ING.

The juicy asset with great rental potential has a 35.000 square meter area and the future buyer will have to carry out significant remodelation of the building, an obligation that may pull the bids down.

The Dutch bank received the property through foreclosure lawsuit lost by Nozar, a firm whose arm NZ Patrimonio bought the office unit for €213 million from Peabody in 2007.

The family office has faced serious financial troubles, pushed even to asking for a loan to pay-off the VAT dues.

Apart from being known as the premises of Telefonica, the property became the target of an ETA terrorist attack in 1982.

 

Original article: El Confidencial (by Ruth Ugalde)

Translation: AURA REE