South African Fund Vukile Acquires 9 Retail Assets For €198M

4 July 2017 – Expansión

A new institutional investor has arrived in Spain. And it comes from an unusual place for large investors in the Spanish real estate market: South Africa.

The South African real estate investment fund (REIT) Vukile Properties has completed its first operation in Spain by purchasing nine commercial assets located all over the country. The South African firm has disbursed €198 million for the properties, which have a combined surface area of 117,700 m2.

Of that amount, €193 million will be paid to the owner until now, the company Redevco Iberian Ventures, a joint venture created in 2015 by the groups Ares and Redevco to invest in the Iberian Peninsula.

Vukile has completed its purchase through the Spanish company Castellana Properties. This company, previously known as Vinemont Investments, changed its corporate structure last summer, to become a Socimi, after completing a capital increase of €12.6 million.

The first properties acquired by this Socimi form part of the portfolio that the Dutch company Redevco has been creating in the Iberian Peninsula over the last few years. The assets include five stores in the Parque Principado de Asturias complex and Parque Oeste, in Alcorcón (Madrid), spanning a surface area of 13,600 m2. The largest property is the Kinepolis complex, in Pulianas (Granada), measuring 25,900 m2 distributed over six stores.

97% of these retail spaces are leased to operators such as Mercadona, Día, Media Markt and fashion labels such as C&A and Kiabi.

For its first operation in Spain (and Europe), the South African REIT, which is listed on the Johannesburg and Namibia stock exchanges, has joined forces with the brothers Lee and Chad Morze, who it defines as “well-known and successful businessman living in Spain”. According to the commercial registry, Chad Morze is the administrator of Diversified Real Estate Asset Management, a company whose primary activity is the provision of tax, audit and accounting advice. Created at the end of 2015, the company has not filed any annual accounts yet. Lee Morze is also registered as an administrator of the same company.

Of the total amount disbursed (€198 million), Vukile has announced that it will contribute own funds amounting to €103 million, whilst the other almost €95 million will be obtained through a bank loan to Castellana Properties from the entities Santander, CaixaBank and Bankia, amongst others.

Original story: Expansión (by Rocío Ruiz)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Bouygues Relaunches Its RE Business In Spain

3 February 2017 – El Independiente

Bouygues, the French industrial giant that operates in the construction, public works and telecommunications sectors, wants to reactivate its real estate division in Spain. Its Spanish subsidiary was created in 1989, but following the burst of the real estate bubble, its activity in the sector was paralysed. Now, it is returning to property: at the end of 2016, it completed the construction of a hotel in Barcelona, the Ibis Bogatell, located next to the Olympic Park, and it wants to increase the number of projects in its portfolio in 2017.

That is according to Bouygues’ Spanish subsidiary. “We are not going to promote residential properties”, specified the Director General of Bouygues Inmobiliaria, Ana Vidal. “We are going to focus on the hotel, office and retail sectors, amongst others”. Although the French Group never disappeared from the Commercial Registry, Bouygues’ real estate activity in Spain has been suspended for almost seven years.

Before the real estate bubble burst, the multi-national firm was a key player in the market, in particular in the construction of business parks and shopping centres. In the case of the latter, Bouygues constructed Parque Oeste (Alcorcón, Madrid), Alcalá de Guadaira (Sevilla) and El Triangle (Barcelona). In the year 2000, the French group expanded its operations to Portugal.

The crisis forced the subsidiary to carry out an aggressive capital reduction in 2010, which left its own funds at 10%. “We are not going to be a Metrovacesa or a Merlin”, said Vidal. “We want to boost the development of projects in Spain through selective, carefully-chosen projects, which prioritise environmental improvement”, added the Director General. One of the models that the real estate division is likely to promote are eco-neighbourhoods, such as the one Bouygues developed in Bordeaux, called “Ginko”.

Bouygues Inmobiliaria is looking to become a “pure property developer”, adopting the turn-key formula, whereby it will take responsibility for identifying the plots of land, designing the properties and executing the construction work. In addition to Barcelona, the subsidiary has acquired a plot of land measuring 18,000 m2 in the industrial area of Julián Camarillo, to the east of Madrid.

Bouygues’ return to activity is further evidence of the recovery of the sector in Spain. Nevertheless, the improvement is slow and uneven. The property development sector estimates that 450,000 new homes were constructed in 2016, compared with 400,000 during the previous year. And house prices have soared in Madrid and Barcelona, along with in the traditionally robust Basque real estate market; however, they are falling in more than half of Spain’s provinces.

Original story: El Independiente (by Pablo García)

Translation: Carmel Drake