Spanish Government Fears a Slowdown in Tourism Due to Fall in Arrivals by Germans and British

31 August 2018

COMPETITION FROM GREECE, EGYPT AND TURKEY / “The symptoms of the slowdown we have observed are beginning to consolidate,” Turespaña expects the year to end with “very moderate, zero or negative growth.”

The Government of Pedro Sanchez has added its voice to the experts forecasting a turbulent year for tourism, believing that the sector could end the year with “very moderate, zero or negative growth.”

Successive falls in the main indicators (e.g. hotel occupancy rates, overnight stays, prices) and comments by representatives of the sector, such as Exceltur, sounded the alarm several months ago, warning that the sector was in the throes of a slowdown.

“The behaviour of our three major emitting markets, and that of Italy, the Netherlands and the US, can tilt the balance between very moderate growth and zero or negative growth,” the Spanish government warned through Turespaña in its Quarterly Prospective Report for International Tourism, published at the end of August.

“We must not forget that 2017 was an absolute record year across the board,” sources at the Ministry for Industry, Trade and Tourism said in statements to this newspaper. In 2017, Spain received almost 82 million tourists, a figure that made Spain a world leader in international arrivals, only behind France.

Even so, the forecast for arrivals for the period from July to October is positive, with an estimated increase of 2.4% in the number of tourists, for a total number of arrivals for this period nearing 38 million.

The report notes that “the symptoms of the slowdown we have observed are beginning to consolidate.” The problem is that Spain’s two principal emitting markets for tourists both began to opt for other destinations. The price of oil, the appreciation of the euro, the effects of Brexit and the insecurity generated by the independence movement in Catalonia are some of the proximate causes. In July, the number of German tourists who visited Spain fell by 11%, and the number of British arrivals fell by 6%. Between July and October, Turespaña expects British tourists to fall by 4.2%, and overnight stays by Germans will fall by 5.1%.

German tourists begin to replace Spain with Greece as a destination. “Although it is less well-known than Spain, it gets higher marks ​​in the minds of German tourists as a unique destination,” says another report by Turespaña. In the case of British tourists, Turkey and Egypt have recovered their shares of the reservations of tour operators, to the detriment of Spain, which registered a fall of 4% in reservations between July and October, losing a 3.6%-share.

Turespaña does expect that tourist spending will continue to increase at a good pace, with an expected increase of 5.3% between July and October. “We are working to attract tourists with greater purchasing power and to lengthen their stays to increase spending,” they explain.

Original Story: ProOrbyt Expansión – I. Benedito

Translation: Richard Turner

 

STR & Magma HC: Hotel Investment Continues to Rise in Spain

2 August 2018 – Hosteltur

The Spanish hotel industry has increased its interest in investment due to the strong growth in yields in several markets, and despite the fact that the political scenario in Cataluña has slowed down the performance of the country as a whole. That is according to analysts from STR and Magma HC, who explain that the investment boost has been largely driven by the strength of international demand, even during the financial crisis.

“The increase in holiday tourism, as well as in ‘bleisure’ (business with leisure tourism) has opened the market to numerous development opportunities, with several operators currently working on improving their products and services to satisfy the growing demand”, says Albert Grau, founding partner at Magma HC. Thus, in his words, the Spanish hotel sector “is continuing to boom, despite the challenges ahead”.

In this sense, it is worth remembering that, between March 2015 and March 2018, Spain registered 37 consecutive months of RevPAR (revenue per available room) growth. In recent months, by contrast, there have been marginal decreases, above all due to the slow down in Barcelona, which is home to the largest number of rooms in the country. Even so, according to data from STR, in most of the key domestic markets, including in Madrid, hotel yields are continuing their strong upwards trend.

“Vacation markets, primarily Gran Canaria, have experienced YoY decreases because tourist demand has returned to rival destinations such as Turkey and Egypt”, says Javier Serrano, manager at STR for Spain.

Barcelona

STR’s study shows that, in general, hotels in the Catalan capital have managed to keep their tariffs more or less stable, although there have been more notable decreases in recent times. Following the independence referendum last October, the occupancy rate of establishments in Barcelona fell considerably. During the first half of 2018, they fell by 5.2% with respect to the same period a year earlier, whilst the ADR (average daily rate) fell by 1.4% compared to 2017.

“Although it is still too early to make any kind of prediction about what will happen in the market in the end, it is likely that Barcelona will recover quickly once the situation stabilises”, says Serrano. “Hotels in Barcelona”, he adds “saw constant monthly RevPAR growth rates in the double digits in 2016 and 2017, when the market was still benefitting from strong international demand and demand diverted from destinations such as Turkey and the north of Africa. The recent instability in Barcelona slowed down those previous growth rates, with decreases in occupancy rates driven by the decrease in domestic and international demand, mainly from the USA. Nevertheless, if the market manages to keep tariffs stable, we should see growth to the extent that consumer confidence returns to Barcelona”.

Madrid

Madrid, with the highest RevPAR growth rate in all of Spain in 2017, has benefitted over the last three years from demand due to leisure and corporate business. As well as being one of the main weekend destinations for Europeans, it has also seen an increase in interest from several Asian countries and the USA, especially when it comes to group reservations (…).

The Director-General of STR, Robin Rossman, believes that “there is enormous potential for Madrid’s hotels to continue pushing up rates”. In his opinion, “to the extent that demand continues to grow and the hotel supply market continues to evolve with the arrival of more high-end properties, we can expect to see increases in the ADR”.

Overall, the analysts at STR expect that corporate demand in Madrid will continue to increase thanks to the celebration of international events and the relocation of the headquarters of several companies from Barcelona to the Spanish capital. As such, they forecast ADR growth of close to 3% in Madrid by the end of 2018.

Original story: Hosteltur

Translation: Carmel Drake

Galicia Awards 1.1 million m2 of Industrial Land Supported by Aid from La Xunta

6 June 2018 – Eje Prime

La Xunta is promoting the sale of industrial land and Galicia is whereby reaching pre-crisis occupancy levels in the logistics sector. In total, 1.1 million m2 of logistics land has been awarded in the autonomous region, which represents almost 40% of the total available land for sale in 2015.

Amongst the measures adopted by La Xunta in 2018 include the elimination of regional taxes for the purchase of industrial land from the administration, with a 100% deduction of the Property Transfer Tax and Documented Legal Act Tax, according to Inmodiario.

The intention of the territorial government is, in addition to promoting the entry of new players into Galicia, facilitate the reactivation of disused industrial plots. In those cases, La Xunta adds discounts to the land prices of between 30% and 50%.

The Councillor for Infrastructure and Housing at La Xunta, Ethel Vázquez, anticipates that 2018 “will continue along the same path”. Not in vain, her portfolio has received a significant increase in budgeted aid, of 16.5%, achieving an additional €60 million taking the total fund to €424 million.

Original story: Eje Prime

Translation: Carmel Drake

Irea: What Led to Last Year’s Record Inv’t in Spain’s Hotel Sector?

12 January 2018 – Hosteltur

Last year saw investment in the Spanish hotel sector break all records, with investors spending €3.907 billion on transactions involving existing hotels, properties for conversion into hotels and land for the construction of hotels. That figure represents an increase of almost 80% with respect to 2016, according to Miguel Vázquez, Managing Partner of the Hotels Division at Irea; and was the result of the sale of 182 establishments comprising 28,813 rooms, with an average price per room of €119,000, compared with an average price per room of €92,000 in 2016 and of €85,000 in 2015, which represents an increase of 40% in just two years (…).

According to the Irea Director, this investment boom was driven “not only by the greater number of operations but also by the fact that the prices of the assets sold were higher as they were coming onto the market after being repositioned in recent years. The types of investors have also changed, as have their demands in terms of returns: around 5-6% in the urban segment and around 6-7% in the holiday segment, given that we are no longer seeing as many opportunistic funds entering the market (…)”.

In fact, he has quantified that “more than 2,000 holiday hotels still need to be renovated and repositioned. There is a wide range of opportunities that the funds are focusing on, in search of agreements with small chains at times of generational changes and when they are interested in selling…or not, because the strong buyer pressure is continuing to motivate owners who are not typically sellers to put their assets on the market, especially independent operators. And that is leading to the entry into the market of large holiday hotel portfolios, which is what investors are backing Spain for, as well as independent hotels”.

Forecasts for 2018

And after “the stratospheric data of 2017”, in the words of Vázquez, “the inertia with respect to 2018 is very positive, the year is starting off very well”, although he thinks that hotel investment will moderate and “the effect of the uncertainty in Cataluña will make it very difficult for us to see a repeat of last year’s figures”.

Nevertheless, he cites three operations that should be resolved during the first few months of this year: the completion of the purchase of the Alua portfolio by Hispania (…); the sale of a portion of the Ayre hotel portfolio, which is currently on the market; and the launch of a hotel Socimi by a financial entity with 15 establishments, which could take place soon.

Vázquez estimates that the investments already committed for the first few months of the year identified by Irea amount to €4 billion, comprising mainly new build projects, taking advantage of the increase recorded in the purchase of land for the construction of hotels, with operations in Bilbao, San Sebastián, the south of Tenerife, Barcelona and Sevilla.

In terms of the strengths in the market, besides the repositioning of hotels that is leading to an improvement in competitiveness and the appeal of Spain as a destination, the Director highlighted “the magnet effect of qualified investors such as Blackstone, which are reinforcing Spain as a destination for hotel investment” (…).

Weaknesses: overheating

Vázquez highlighted the overheating of prices that is happening in destinations such as the Canary Islands, where the average (sales) price per room has increased to €152,000, compared to the national average of €119,000, although, it should also be taken into account that “the operation that carried the most weight in terms of those figures was Sabadell’s sale of HI Partners to Blackstone (…), involving high quality, repositioned hotels, which increased prices”.

In fact, the most expensive prices were recorded in Barcelona and Madrid, which holds the record for the sale of the most expensive room with Operación Canalejas, for approximately €1.4 million, whereby exceeding the figure of €1.2 million recorded during the sale of Hotel Villa Magna (…).

In the Balearic Islands, as the director acknowledges, “there is still more margin because there are a lot of hotels there that still need repositioning and, although there is price inflation, it is not as marked as in the Canary Islands, which benefit from having year-round demand and five years of high occupancy rates, which drives up prices”.

Original story: Hosteltur

Translation: Carmel Drake

Madrid Gets Ready for the Opening of 2,000 Luxury Hotel Rooms

7 January 2018 – Expansión

The hotel market in Madrid is enjoying a happy time. After years as the ugly ducking of Europe’s capitals, with barely any major luxury brands operating in the city, 2,000 luxury rooms are scheduled to open in the city centre over the next two years. “Spain had a very moderate number of five-star hotels in comparison with other global capital cities. Nevertheless, the Town Hall of Madrid implemented a strategic plan for tourism, which boosted the image of the city as a global destination and that attracted international companies, which are taking the city to their own tourist clients”, says Javier García-Mateo, Partner in Financial Advisory at Deloitte.

“The existing luxury hotel stock comprises around 5,000 rooms and over the next few years, another 2,000 rooms will be added, of which 1,000 will be new and the rest will be in renovated properties”, adds Félix Villaverde, Manager at Deloitte Financial Advisory.

The first hotel already opened over Christmas: the US hotel chain Hyatt Hotels has returned to Madrid, specifically, to the heart of the city with the opening of Centric Gran Vía Madrid, a five-star establishment with 159 rooms – including 16 suites (…). With an investment of €30 million, Hyatt has returned to Madrid, after leaving the management of another five-star hotel in the capital in 2009: the Villamagna.

During the first quarter of 2018, another five-star establishment is expected to open. In this case, it will be the chain VP in Plaza de España. It will contain 214 rooms, spread over 17 storeys, following an investment of €90 million (…).

Projects on the lookout for a brand

Some of the other new projects planned for this year in the luxury hotel market in Madrid have not yet been defined. They involve plans for the former Hotel Velázquez and the property owned by the fund KKH in Plaza de las Descalzas.

Last May, the Salazar family sold the Gran Hotel Velázquez for around €60 million. Now, the new owner, the real estate group Didra, is looking for a hotel partner to operate the renovated property. In the case of KKH’s property in Madrid, the negotiations are more advanced. The former headquarters of the Monte de Piedad de Madrid is being renovated to open a five-star hotel and a dozen brands have expressed their interest in operating it. The Park Hyatt, The Peninsula and Saint Regis, from the Starwood group, are the favourites in the running, according to sources in the sector (…).

In addition to these projects that still need to be defined, in 2019, several luxury establishments are due to open, including, the first Four Seasons Hotel in Spain, which will open in the Canalejas complex with more than 200 rooms.

Moreover, a four-star, but nevertheless high-profile, hotel is being created by the Mallorcan chain RIU, which will restore Edificio España, in disuse for a decade, to open a modern urban hotel with 650 rooms.

Meanwhile, Marriott Starwood, the largest hotel chain in the world, has teamed up with the Indian investor Harry Mohiani to open a five-star hotel in the former Hotel Asturias, in the same square as the Four Seasons (Canalejas). That property will have 160 rooms (…).

Prices

The opening of these new luxury hotels will have an impact on room rates, which already saw a significant increase in this niche last year.

“Revenue per room (RevPar) in the five-star segment in Madrid has grown by 6.4% p.a. in recent years, almost four times more than the average in other European centres, due not only to the increase in rates but also the better performance in terms of occupancy rates”, say sources at Deloitte.

“The arrival of new luxury operators in Madrid will drive up the price of five-star hotels in the city. In fact, after carrying out comprehensive renovations, we have already seen examples of hotels that have increased their rates by 50%. The most exclusive hotels will charge €750 per night during certain periods of the year”, they add.

Original story: Expansión (by Rocío Ruiz)

Translation: Carmel Drake

BNP Paribas: Office Rentals Rose by 22% in Madrid in 2017

5 January 2018  – Eje Prime

The good news is never-ending for the office sector in Spain. In Madrid in 2017, the market recorded its highest level of office rentals since 2007, increase the absorption of this asset type by 22%, thanks to greater demand from public administrations, according to a report from BNP Paribas Real Estate.

According to the entity, last year, 525,000 m2 of office space was leased in Madrid. The office rental figures recorded in Madrid still do not approach the almost 1 million m2 of space that was leased ten years ago. Nevertheless, it is worth taking into account the fact that companies no longer need such large spaces to undertake their activity because working practices have changed, and there is now a trend to optimise spaces.

The increase in demand was also accompanied by an increase in prices, which rose to €31/m2/month in the most exclusive areas. Nevertheless, some lease contracts were also signed for prices of up to €36/m2/month in certain buildings in the Spanish capital’s financial district.

Original story: Eje Prime

Translation: Carmel Drake

Alpha Pyrenees Sells Alcalá Plaza & Las Torres Shopping Centres

4 January 2018 – ABC Sevilla

Alpha Pyrenees Trust Limited, an investment fund listed on the London Stock Exchange, has sold the Alcalá Plaza and Las Torres shopping centres, located in the Sevillan towns of Alcalá de Guadaíra and Écija, respectively, and with a combined surface area of more than 11,000 m2, through the Andalucían consultancy Realtis Real Estate. The properties were auctioned on 13 November 2017 in Madrid, but the offers presented did not reach the asking price of €1,150,000 for Alcalá Plaza and €850,000 for Las Torres.

Thereafter, a period of negotiations was opened with the interested companies, culminating recently in the Andalucían real estate consultancy Realtis Real Estate completing the sale of the Alcalá Plaza commercial and leisure building, as well as the 39 premises that comprise most of the surface area of the Las Torres shopping centre in Écija. The investment fund has sold the Alcalá Plaza shopping and leisure centre for €655,000 to an Andalucían family business group, whilst the majority of the stores in the Las Torres shopping centre in Écija have been acquired by another real estate group for €500,000.

Both properties were acquired from the Detea group (Bogaris) a decade ago by the fund Alpha Pyrenees, which decided to sell them in the end as part of a divestment process that it has been carrying out with some of its assets in Spain during 2017.

For Gabriel Álvarez and Álvaro Rojas, partners at Realtis Real Estate, “this has been a very complex process due to the particular characteristics of both assets, which means that they could not be treated like the typical real estate investment rental projects that local investors and families are accustomed to. In any case, we are convinced of their real estate potential and possibilities in the future if they are managed efficiently and with an innovative approach”.

Before the auction, Realtis Real Estate drew up an action plan to improve the image and occupancy rates of the shopping centres. As a result, the German multi-national distribution company Tedi and the Domino’s Pizza chain opened their doors in the Alcalá Plaza shopping centre. In terms of the Las Torres shopping centre, as a result of the improvement plan, the toy and homeware company MGI opened its doors in that centre, along with a new store for books and musical instruments.

Original story: ABC Sevilla (by M. J. Pereira)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Lennar’s Socimi Al Breck Sells its first 4 Assets for €3.5M

5 January 2018 – Eje Prime

One of the largest real estate companies in the United States of America is doing business in Spain. Lennar Corporation has sold four properties through one of its Spanish Socimis, Al Breck, for €3.49 million, according to a statement issued by the company. The firm has carried out the transaction through the company Rialto Capital Management, an investment vehicle, headquartered in Luxembourg that Lennar uses to carry out real estate operations in Europe and the only one that has a stable structure in Spain.

The company disposed of the properties in December, whereby generating a profit of €1.79 million. The firm, which has a loan linked to the assets, will have to assume a financial cost of approximately €1.2 million in this regard.

Lennar Corporation debuted on the Alternative Investment Market (MAB) with Al Breck at the end of November 2016 (although it began its activity in Spain in December 2014), with a stock of almost 639 rental homes located in the centre of Madrid. The Socimi formed its asset portfolio by purchasing a batch of properties from Segurfondo Inversión in December 2014.

Specifically, the Socimi’s assets are located throughout the centre of the Spanish capital (in the following districts: Centro, Salamanca, Chamberí and Chueca), as well as in La Moreleja and areas close to Alcobendas and Torrejón de Ardoz. It also owns retail premises and offices. According to its IPO brochure, the market value of its asset portfolio amounted to €110.52 million (in November 2016).

The Socimi made its stock market debut with a business plan that seeks to generate value from its portfolio, in other words, by selling all of its homes within a five-year period, which ends in December 2020. The company has now started this divestment process with the sale of these four assets.

Al Breck’s strategy

Specifically, the company’s business plan involves investing in improvements to its homes, “to increase returns and improve their occupancy rates to stable levels, implementing an aggressive rental strategy that includes, where necessary, decreasing rents and making concessions to tenants to improve cash flow conditions”.

Subsequently, according to the group’s IPO brochure, “having improved the occupancy rates, the aim is to keep them stable and initiate a progressive increase in rental prices, to reflect the improvements made to the properties and market rates”.

Finally, the Socimi plans “to optimise the value of the portfolio, selling assets either individually or in batches, when demand and prices so favour it and having completed the minimum ownership period of three years”, according to details provided in the brochure.

At the end of last year, the company also launched a second Socimi, Ceres Real Estate Socimi. Although for the time being, the activity of that entity is very limited (it does not have any assets in its portfolio), the sole administrator of the company is Rialto Capital (…).

Original story: Eje Prime (by C. Pareja)

Translation: Carmel Drake

The RE Sector Is On Course For Record-Breaking Year

12 September 2017 – Expansión

The real estate sector is experiencing a whirlwind year. After breaking the investment record in 2016, experts now expect the pace to continue this year and for a new investment record to be registered, excluding corporate operations.

For Adolfo Ramírez-Escudero, President of CBRE, 2017 is going to be an “exceptional” year, once again. “Investment could reach €12,000 million, whereby exceeding the expectations at the beginning of the year, which would make 2017 the best year since records began, if we exclude the corporate transactions carried out by Merlin in 2015 and 2016”, he says.

The CEO of JLL, Enrique Losantos, says that investors are maintaining their interest in the Spanish market “attracted by the strong underlying economics, returns that are still higher than in certain other European markets such as Paris and prices that are much more affordable, comparatively”.

For Oriol Barrachina, the CEO of Cushman & Wakefield, although the ECB is expected to inject less money, the appetite from investors will continue into 2018, given that the growth in wealth and the performance of assets comes from economic activity and not from the issuance of money by the Central Bank”.

Meanwhile, according to Alberto Valls, Partner in Financial Advisory at Deloitte, whilst institutional stability continues and the expectation of growth and the creation of employment in the economy is sustained, Spain will continue to be an attractive country. “We are not ruling out consolidation in the sector towards larger vehicles, involving Socimis and property developers, therefore I forecast a high level of activity in terms of corporate operations in the sector in 2018 due to concentration”.

The star players

In this sense, the Partner responsible for the Real Estate sector at KPMG in Spain, Javier López Torres, says that “the trend of consolidation amongst the new real estate companies, and their debuts on the stock market, is going to continue, and there will also be new inter-relations between new players”.

In terms of the most powerful players, institutional investors with the lowest capital costs will be the stars of operations with less need for management, which are becoming increasingly fewer because most of what could be sold has already changed hands, explains the Partner in Financial Advisory at Deloitte, Javier García-Mateo. “In the face of a pipeline of operations where there is a need for a strong transformation component, the PERES (Private Equity Real Estate) will be the players that will likely lead the sale and purchase of properties”, he adds.

Meanwhile, the Socimis will have more freedom to divest their assets as most have now fulfilled the three year period since their purchase, the fundamental requirement to be able to enjoy the tax benefits afforded to these vehicles, says Alejandro Campoy, Director General of the Investments Divisions at Aguirre Newman.

Increase in rents

In terms of the behaviour of rents in the office segment, Mikel Echevarren, CEO at Irea, says that “the economic recovery and the creation of employment will lead to an increase in occupancy rates and rents in Madrid and Barcelona”.

Sources at CBRE indicate that Barcelona is already ahead of Madrid, due to the even greater scarcity of high-quality office space in the Catalan capital. Moreover, that situation is giving rise to a significant number of pre-rental operations.

“The growth forecast in rental income is clear and very robust. Our data estimates that for the period 2017-2019, office rental prices in Barcelona will grow by around 5.2% p.a. on average, and in Madrid by 4.3% for the same period”, explains Losantos (…).

Original story: Expansión (by Rebeca Arroyo)

Translation: Carmel Drake

B&B Hotels Spain Revenues in Spain at 13 Million Euros in 1H17

 

22 August 2017

The hotel company has boosted its sales thanks to the acquisition of Sidorme Hotels in October 2016, together with the launch of new hotels such as the B&B Hotel Puerta del Sol in Madrid and the B&B Hotel Vigo.

The hotel group has quintupled it sales with this result

B&B Hotels, the hotel chain which specializes in offering comfortable accommodations with high-quality design and services, has quintupled its revenues in Spain in the first six months of this year compared to the same period in 2016, thanks to the 20 hotels the group operates in Spain.

The acquisition of Sidorme Hotels in October 2016, together with the launch of new hotels such as the B&B Hotel Puerta del Sol in Madrid and the B & B Hotel Vigo, haves boosted the group’s revenues above 13 million euros in the first half of the year.

This increase has had a positive impact on the hotel’s general operating profits, which have improved by 18 percentage points, leading Ebitda for the same period of 2016 to increase by a factor of fifteen, reaching 3.4 million euros in the period.

B&B hotels also obtained a 57% improvement in RevPar, with both occupancy (OCC) increasing by 45%, and the average price (ADR) by 9%.

Operating on a rental basis

In the first half of the year, the chain also sold the eight hotels it owned outright to the French fund Corum Asset Management so that all its hotels are operated on a rental basis.

“This is an excellent start for the first half of 2017, and we intend to improve our results even more by the end of the year. In 2016, the B&B Group registered the highest growth in the budget hotel sector, with a 15% increase, driven largely by the Iberian market, which further strengthened the confidence our shareholders and financial partners. We must take advantage of our good financial health to continue growing both in the Spanish market and in the Portuguese market with the medium-term intention of reaching the 40 hotels between the two countries. To achieve this goal, we will always offer our guests quality accommodations at an unbeatable price throughout Europe,” Jairo González, general manager of Spain and Portugal for B&B Hotels, stated.

B&B Hotels was the fastest growing independent hotel chain in Europe in 2016, reaching around 400 hotels in total, with 33,600 rooms and 6.8 million overnight stays.

The establishments are spread between France (254 hotels), Germany (93), Italy (25) and Spain (20). The company also operates five hotels in Poland, one in Morocco and another in the Czech Republic, and is expected to open units in Switzerland, Belgium, Austria and Brazil in the coming months.

The group intends to increase its network to 600 hotels by 2020, reaching some 50,000 rooms.

Original Story: agenttravel.es

Translation: Richard Turner