Bankinter’s Socimi Negotiates the Purchase of Hotel Meliá Valencia

18 February 2019 – Expansión

Atom wants to strengthen its portfolio with the acquisition of one of the main hotels in Valencia for €50 million.

Bankinter’s hotel Socimi, Atom, wants to strengthen its portfolio and add the Meliá Valencia (formerly the Hilton Valencia) to its list of assets. The property is one of the main hotels in the city, located on Avenida de las Cortes Valencianas, close to the Palacio de Congresos.

Atom, which made its debut on the Alternative Investment Market (MAB) in November, is holding negotiations with the fund Colony to purchase the 4-star hotel for around €50 million, according to explanations provided by market sources speaking to Expansión. Those same sources state that, although the negotiations are in an advanced stage, no agreement has yet been reached between the parties.

History

The hotel, located in a tower standing more than 110m tall, was officially inaugurated in February 2008 and has had several owners since then. The establishment, which has around 300 rooms and 21 meeting rooms, with the capacity to host up to 875 people, is managed by Meliá.

Colony purchased this asset along with some other Spanish hotels just a year ago from the investor group Continental Property Investment, controlled by the Lebanese businessman Boutros El-Khouri (…).

With this operation, Atom would increase its portfolio, which currently comprises 21 hotels and 5,232 rooms, with a gross value of €485 million. 82% of the hotels in its portfolio are 4-star properties and 60% are holiday establishments (…).

Original story: Expansión (by R. Arroyo, R. Sampedro & A.C. Álvarez)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Testa to Invest Another €500M Buying Up New Homes for Rent

20 April 2018 – Eje Prime

Testa is continuing to grow ahead of its stock market debut. The company is going to invest €500 million in its growth through the purchase of new homes to rent. These new assets will be added to the 10,700 homes that the Socimi already owns, a portfolio worth €2.3 billion that makes it the largest rental home company in the country.

This new investment forms part of the company’s preparations to make its stock market debut, according to Expansión. The leap onto the public market is going to be carried out through a double operation: a public offer for sale (OPV) and a public offer for subscription (OPS) of new shares, both aimed exclusively at institutional investors.

Testa is currently owned by: Santander and BBVA, which hold stakes of 37% and 26%, respectively; Acciona, which acquired 20% of its share capital in exchange for contributing a portfolio of homes; and Merlin, which holds the remaining 17%.

The Socimi is focusing its expansion on the purchase of entire blocks of apartments in the metropolitan areas of Spain’s main cities, including Barcelona, Palma de Mallorca, Pamplona, San Sebastián as well as Madrid, which already accounts for 65% of its current portfolio of homes.

Original story: Eje Prime 

Translation: Carmel Drake

CaixaBank Sells Office Building in Valencia to Bancalé

9 March 2018 – Levante EMV

The Aragonese holding company Bancalé has just acquired an office building measuring more than 7,300 m2 on Avenida del Puerto in València. And it seems that the firm, which owns the electronic goods chain K-tuin, has put the building up for rent, as evidenced by the enormous sign that has been hanging from the façade for several weeks now.

According to sources at the company, the building was acquired from CaixaBank a few months ago, in an operation whose economic consideration has not been revealed. The property used to belong to Banco de València, which used to operate some of its services from there. However, the seven-storey building has been empty since 2012.

With the sale of the historical Valencian entity to CaixaBank for €1 in 2012, the building was taken over by Building Center, the real estate subsidiary of the Catalan bank. In 2017, it was finally sold, after it was put on the market and Bancalé made the best offer.

Sources at the group, which is headquartered in Zaragoza, and which comprises a family office linked to the businessman Juan Ramón Fabre, believe that they will be able to let the entire building to a single tenant. The offer includes the ground floor, which is currently occupied by a branch of CaixaBank. “The feeling we have is that there are no products like this in Valencia, with 7,000 m2 of office space available and concentrated in a single space”, say sources at the company. The new owners intend to invest in the building and will do so to adapt it to the needs of the client that rents it out.

With this operation, Bancalé has made its first incursion into the real estate sector in Valencia. The holding company has a real estate division, with offices in Madrid, Barcelona and Zaragoza. It is also a majority shareholder in a hotel investment vehicle that has a presence in Washington, New York, London, Brussels, Berlin and Cologne, according to its website.

Student halls of residence are another focus for the firm’s investment, as well as the logistics sector, where it owns assets in the Plaza de Zaragoza platform. In recent times, the group has also been positioning itself in the renewable energy field with projects in Aragón.

All in all, one of the most well-known facets of the Aragonese group is its chain of electronic shops K-tuin. Bancalé owns the network of 17 establishments in Spanish regional capitals, which sell Apple products and generate a global turnover of more than €150 million.

In addition, Bancalé has also had interests in the social healthcare field, specifically in Valencia. Fabre’s firm had a fleeting experience in the retirement home sector, as the owner of the La Seu nursing home, an establishment with 155 beds on Calle Gobernador Viejo in the old town. The Aragonese firm sold that building to Sanitas at the end of 2016, after experiencing problems with the management of the centre.

Original story: Levante EMV

Translation: Carmel Drake

The Hotel Ritz in Madrid Closes its Doors for a €99M Refurb

27 February 2018 – Invertia

Following the purchase of the Ritz hotel in 2015 for more than USD 148 million (€120.7 million), its current owners, Mandarin Oriental and the Saudi group Olayan, announced that they would subject the property to an extensive renovation to significantly improve its facilities and services.

The investment by Mandarin Oriental, which administers the hotel under a long-term management agreement, quantifies its stake in the renovation at USD 60.5 million (€49 million), which is going to be financed through an appropriate combination of capital and debt.

Whilst the hotel is closed, its staff will participate in training programs and/or will be sent on temporary assignments at other Mandarin Oriental establishments, in preparation for the grand reopening.

Following the remodelling, in which the Spanish architect Rafael de La Hoz is participating, along with the French designers Gilles & Boissier, the hotel will have 106 rooms and 47 suites and Mandarin Oriental will be added to its current name ‘the Ritz’.

The intention of the owners is to improve the facilities and services at the hotel but to conserve its essence, which is defined by the “Belle Epoque” style of the original building.

Sources at the Hotel Ritz have informed Efe that the construction work will involve the remodelling of the dome and the installation of a swimming pool, amongst other aspects.

The same sources have said that the furniture and objects of value at the hotel will be stored in warehouses in Madrid and that a decision will be taken in the future as to whether some of them will be sold directly or through auction.

The hotel, located in the so-called “Golden Art Triangle” of Madrid, has hosted members of royalty, politicians, magnates and celebrities since its inauguration in 1910.

Original story: Invertia

Translation: Carmel Drake

Rental Boom Triggers Investment in Madrid & Barcelona

27 January 2018 – Expansión

Markets are booming / The central parts of Spain’s two largest cities are the most sought-after by those investing in housing in search of returns, but rental prices are increasing more quickly in the districts on the outskirts of those cities, with rises of more than 10%. The experts forecast an accentuation of this trend, given that the supply of rental properties in the prime districts is starting to prove insufficient to cover all of the demand.

The real estate recovery is happening at three speeds. On the one hand, the large cities and most established areas along the coast are experiencing significant house price rises, a notable increase in sales, an increase in rental prices, a rise in non-residential investment and even a shortage of land for sale. On the other hand, medium-sized cities have left the lethargy behind and are now recovering, although with less energy than the large real estate centres. Finally, the less populated provinces are still recording ups and downs, although even there it is clear that the worst of the crisis is now over.

A large part of this improvement is due to the country’s underlying macroeconomic performance, but not all of it. The impact of private investors is playing a crucial role in the strengthening of the two large real estate centres, whose prime areas are the most sought-after by those looking to buy homes to put them up for rent, where they can obtain returns of more than 10%. Why? Because, in addition to the immediate increase in value that they are obtaining, a kind of rental boom is also happening in Madrid and Barcelona.

That said, “rental prices may be starting to peak in cities such as Barcelona and Madrid” says Beatriz Toribio, Head of Research at Fotocasa. “The market is normalising”, and so “although rental prices will continue to rise during 2018, they will do so at a lower rate than they did in 2017”, she adds.

The district of Chamberí exceeded the district of Salamanca in 2017 as the most expensive in the capital for renting a home. The average price of a rental home in Chamberí is €16.41/m2/month, followed by Salamanca (€16.07/m2/month), Tetuán (€14.94), Chamartín (€14.46) and Retiro (€14.35). At the other end of the spectrum, the district of Villaverde, with an average rental home cost of €8.91/m2/month was the most affordable. It was followed by Vicálvaro (€9.58), Moratalaz (€9.68), Villa de Vallecas (€9.90) and Usera (€10.15).

Almost all of the districts in the capital saw rental prices increase with respect to 12 months earlier. The district that rose by the most was Hortaleza, which increased by 13.1%, followed by Puente de Vallecas (12.9%), Ciudad Lineal (11%), Usera (9.4%), Retiro (9.1%) and Tetuán (9%) (….).

In Barcelona, the same thing is happening. The two districts that closed 2017 with decreases in rental prices are two classics in the rental market: Eixample (-1.4%) and Ciutat Vella (-1.2%). How come? “The rental boom started in the best locations and so when those areas reach very high prices, demand starts to withdraw from these areas and move to other more peripheral neighbourhoods”, says the real estate consultant José Luis Ruiz Bartolomé, Managing Partner at Chamberí AM. “The push from investors is also moving to other less central neighbourhoods, which are very well connected and cheap compared to the city centre”, he adds (…).

Specifically, the district of Ciutat Vella is the most expensive in all of Spain when it comes to renting a home. The average price there amounted to €17.16/m2/month in December 2017, despite the decrease seen YoY. It was followed by the second most expensive district, Sarrià-Sant Gervasi, whose average price amounted to €16.63/m2/month in December (…). Compared to 2016, prices rose in eight districts in the Catalan capital. The leader of that ranking was Sant Andreu, where prices rose by 12%, followed by Gràcia (9.5%), Les Corts (8.1%), Sants – Montjuïc (6.7%), Nou Barris (6.4%), Horta–Guinardó (4.8%), Sarrià-Sant Gervasi (3.9%) and Sant Martí (2.7%).

Gustavo Rossi, President of Alquiler Seguro, adds that “2017 will be remembered as the year in which the supply of rental housing became insufficient to meet demand”. The sector needs to be professionalised and the owners of empty properties need to realise that putting them on the market is a good option”, he says.

“Over the last decade, rental has established itself as the preferred option for young people and new families. In 2018, we are going to move closer than ever to the European model, where the rental segment has many followers”. (…).

Original story: Expansión (by Juanma Lamet)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Sharp Fall in House Purchases by Brits in Alicante due to Brexit

29 December 2017 – El Boletín

A survey of real estate professionals conducted by the College of Real Estate Agents (API) of Alicante reveals that Brexit is having a significant effect on the real estate market in the region. The research indicates that many areas in the province, in particular along the coast, have experienced a notable decrease in the volume of house sales to British buyers in 2017 and that this trend is forecast to intensify in 2018.

The API College of Alicante points out that “traditionally, Brits have represented one of the largest groups of house buyers in Alicante, the province where the most homes and apartments are sold to foreigners in all of Spain”. Some of the Real Estate Agents are certain that 2017 has seen the lowest volume of sales to British citizens in decades”, although the situation is not being replicated with other overseas buyers.

Moreover, API’s research also shows that the decrease in sales to British citizens does not necessarily mean a reduction in the volume of purchases by foreigners, given that the gap being left by the Brits is being covered by foreigners from other countries. The report indicates that Belgians, Dutch, French, Norwegians, Germans and Russians will be the most active house buyers in 2018. People from up to 125 different countries are now buying homes in the province of Alicante.

Moreover, Brexit is not only affecting house purchases, it is also being felt in that more and more British citizens are putting their properties up for sale in the province of Alicante. In summary, more than 90% of the Real Estate Agents that work with foreigners have already felt the effects of Brexit on their operations and are convinced that the trend may yet intensify further during the course of next year.

Prices on the rise

Another conclusion from this study is that “nine out of every ten APIs interviewed are convinced that house prices in the province of Alicante will continue to rise in 2018, with increases that could range between 3% and 10%, depending on the area and type of home”. The average forecast increase in house prices amounts to around 5% in the province of Alicante as a whole.

The Real Estate Agents are also convinced that, after a year marked by the recovery of the sector, 2018 is going to be a year in which house purchases will continue to rise. “The second-hand market is going to continue to perform well, but 2018 will probably be the year in which new builds start to take off again, in towns where there is still land available”, explained Marife Esteso, President of the API College of Alicante.

In 2018, the worrying upward trend in the rental market is also expected to continue, where the gap between high demand and scarce supply, together with the diversion of homes to holiday lets, means that prices are going to keep rising. In this sense, many real estate agents indicate that the rise in holiday rentals is being driven not only by the higher returns on offer but also because holiday lets allow owners to avoid the problems of non-payment and property damage that are typically caused by long-term tenants.

Original story: El Boletín (by E.B.)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Madrilenian Investor Group Buys Hotel Las Vegas In Málaga

17 November 2017 – Diario Sur

A Madrilenian investment group has acquired Hotel Las Vegas, in the centre of Málaga, which has been operating for more than half a century. The new owners, who want to remain anonymous, have signed an agreement with the Malagan chain Soho Boutique Hotels, founded by Antonio Gordillo and Gonzalo Armenteros de Dalmases, to operate this hotel facility for a period of 30 years. Although the amount paid for the purchase operation has not been disclosed, Gordilla did reveal the future plans for the establishment: Soho Boutique Hotels is going to invest around €2 million immediately in the complete renovation of the facilities, located right on the beachfront and with 107 rooms.

With the management of this hotel, the Malagan group is now the chain with the most hotel establishments in the capital, given that it already operates the Itaca Málaga, Soho Bahía Málaga, which will see its category rise to a four-star property at the beginning of next year, following a €500,000 investment, Soho Los Naranjos, Soho Boutique Málaga and now Soho Las Vegas, encompassing 270 rooms in the city in total.

Antonio Gordillo, partner and director general of the chain, wanted to send a message of calm to the workforce and assure the thirty employees that they are guaranteed the same conditions they have enjoyed until now. “We are a young chain, we started out in 2010, and one of our maxims is that our employees represent one of the company’s greatest assets. We place a lot of emphasis on ensuring our staff are happy and motivated”, he said.

In terms of the new activity for Soho Las Vegas, Gordillo said that all of the furniture, beds and televisions, amongst other items, will be replaced immediately, to adapt them to the needs of guests and the quality standards of the group. In the second phase, they are planning more comprehensive work such as the renovation of bathrooms and the launch of new services. “We are really surprised by how well the facilities have been maintained”, he said.

Soho Hoteles does not rule out incorporating more establishments in the city. The chain is in full swing with its expansion process, with new projects in Madrid and Cádiz. It already has establishments in Sevilla, Córdoba, Jerez, Granada, Fuengirola, Cáceres and Salamanca, taking its total portfolio to fifteen, including the properties in Málaga. “The company’s turnover amounts to €16 million, and in 2018 we expect to double that figure thanks to the new additions, including Soho Las Vegas”, he said, adding that the key to the chain’s success is that all of its establishments are located in the city centre. As such, they register an average annual occupancy rate of 82% and a revenue per available room (RevPar) of €82.

Original story: Diario Sur (by Pilar Martínez)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Sabadell Sells Its Hotel Management Company To Blackstone

17 October 2017 – Expansión

Sabadell has sold 100% of the share capital in HI Partners, its hotel management platform, to Halley Holdco, an entity controlled by funds advised by subsidiaries of Blackstone. The transaction price amounted to €630.73 million, according to a statement filed by the bank with the CNMV. Nevertheless, the definitive valuation will be subject to “possible non-material adjustments” and “is conditional upon obtaining the necessary authorisation from the National Securities Market Commission (CNMV)”.

Sabadell will recognise a net gain of €55 million in its results for this year as a consequence of the sale. Moreover, it will improve its maximum quality capital ratio (CET 1 without full implementation of Basel III) by 22 basis points. In June, its capital ratio amounted to 12.67%, in accordance with the calendar for the gradual adaptation of the rule, and to 12.1% assuming the full application of Basel III (fully loaded).

HI Partners is one of the largest managers of hotel assets, including debt, in Spain, with 29 properties in its portfolio and 4,793 rooms in total. Its establishments include the Hotel Ritz-Carlton Abama, in Guía de Isora (Tenerife); the Hotel Abora Catarina, located in Maspalomas (Gran Canaria); and the Hotel ME Sitges Terramar (Sitges), the Hotel Hilton Sa Torre, in Llucmajor (Mallorca); and the Abba Acteon, in Valencia.

Before the summer, Sabadell engaged the investment banks Citi, JP Morgan and Credit Suisse to sound out the market regarding the possible placement on the stock exchange of its hotel management subsidiary.

In addition to Sabadell’s majority stake, HI Partners’ other shareholders include the company’s management team, comprising Alejandro Hernández-Puértolas, Sergio Carrascosa and Santiago Fisas. Its most recent operations involve several agreements with the Canary Islands-based hotel group Lopesan, from which it purchased the hotels ‘Ifa Dunamar’, ‘Ifa Continental’ and ‘Ifa Beach’.

Original story: Expansión

Translation: Carmel Drake

Europe GRI 2017: 11-12 September, Paris

12 July 2017 – Press Release

Aura REE & GRI Club have come together for Europe GRI. Senior real estate investors, developers, lenders, asset owners, major corporates and planners connect, share ideas and strengthen relationships. The collegial discussions enable you to interact and engage – much like an after-dinner conversation in your own living room. Identify like-minded peers, build relationships, and continue the conversation afterwards.

Members and non-members are welcome. If you would find it useful to join your peers at this exclusively senior-level club meeting, you can register here.

Register | Programme

Confirmed Participants include:

Brian Betel, Managing Partner, ASG Iberia Advisors
Steven Broch,  CIO, Aerium Group
Hunt Doering, Managing Director, Baupost Group International
Michael Zerda, Managing Director, Blackstone
Dale Lattanzio, Managing Partner, DRC Capital

Pedro Abella Langa, General Manager, H.I.G. Capital
Gregory Clerc, Managing Director, Bank of America Merrill Lynch
Duncan MacPherson, Managing Director & Head of Debt, Starwood Capital Europe Advisers
Cristina Pérez Liz, Managing Director, Kennedy Wilson
Norbert Müller, Managing Director, Deutsche Pfandbriefbank

Manuel Holgado, Partner, VKronos Investment Group
Tom Rowley, Managing Director, Angelo, Gordon Europe
Trish Barrigan, Senior Partner, Benson Elliot Capital Management
Michael Abel, Managing Director, TPG
Tavis Cannel,  Managing Director, Goldman Sachs International

Manuel Enrich, Investor Relations Director, Sareb
Miguel Pereda, CEO, Grupo Lar
Nic Fox, Partner & Head of Middle Europe, Europa Capital
Fraser Denton, Managing Director, UK & European Investments
David Matheson, SVP, MD Director Investments-Europe, Oxford Properties Group

Jeffrey Dishner, Senior Managing Director,  Starwood Capital Europe Advisers
Chris Evans, Founding Partner, Hamilton Hotel Partners
Ekaterina Avdonina, Managing Director, Delin Capital Asset Management
Christian Nickels-Teske, Head of Treasury Europe, Prologis Ian Worboys, CEO, P3 Logistic Parks 

Peter Cole, Chief Investment Officer, Hammerson
Carrie Hiebeler, Senior Investment Officer, Ventas, Inc.
Gordon Black, Senior Managing Director, Co-Head Europe, Heitman
Gregory Lanter,  Vice President Global Development, Club Méditerranée

Sessions Include:

Residential in Spain – Is product scarcity solved by the acquisition of developers?
NPLs – The last chance saloon?
Retail in Spain – Primary vs. Secondary cities
Co-Investment – As deals mature, will partners get their hands burnt?
European Gateway Cities – Where’s the smart money heading?
The Global Shift Towards Mediterranean Hospitality – New regions or new money?
Modern Retail – Convenience, leisure, technology or community?
Residential Alternatives – Are great operating partners essential or overrated?
What is Real Estate These days? – Financial asset or a service?

For event participation, contact:

Loredana Carollo | Club Director Spain
+44 (0) 20 7121 5089 | loredana.carollo@griclub.org | www.griclub.org

Original story: Press Release

Edited by: Carmel Drake

Axiare Acquires 12,000 m2 Office Building In Barcelona For €19.5M

27 March 2017 – Observatorio Inmobiliario

Axiare Patrimonio has closed its first purchase following the capital increase announced in March. The Socimi has invested €19.5 million in the acquisition of an office building that has a GLA of 12,000 m2 and more than 400 parking spaces. The building, which was constructed recently, comprises several floors measuring 2,500 m2 each, as well as an auditorium with capacity for 200 people. According to the Socimi, the building will generate annual rental income of €1.25 million over the next two years.

The asset is located on Avenida Can Fatjó dels Aurons in Sant Cugat, Barcelona. Sant Cugat is a strategic area for offices in Barcelona, with direct connections to the C-16 and AP-7 motorways and a 5-minute walk from the Sant Joan train station. The area is home to many institutional owners including Mapfre, Axa, Catalana Occidente, Banco Sabadell and Merlin and tenants of the calibre of Hewlett-Packard, TVE, Deutsche Bank, Banco Sabadell, Mapfre, Nespresso and Gas Natural. Sant Cugat has been extremely sought after by tenants is recent times and currently has one of the highest occupancy rates in Barcelona.

The CEO of Axiare Patrimonio, Luis López de Herrera Oria states that “we have purchased a magnificent office building for a price that is 27% below its repositioning cost and with a great potential to increase in value”.

Following this operation, during the first three months of 2017, Axiare Patrimonio has invested €157.9 million on the purchase of four tertiary-use properties, with a combined surface area of 46,354 m2 and almost 1,300 parking spaces. This property formed part of the pipeline announced by the Socimi when it presented its annual results for 2016 on 27 February.

For this operation, Axiare Patrimonio has been advised by EY, BNP Paribas Real Estate and Estrada & Partners.

Original story: Observatorio Inmobiliario

Translation: Carmel Drake