Azora and Oquendo Capital End Direct Lending Partnership

15 July 2019 – Richard D. K. Turner

A short-lived alliance between Azora and Oquendo Capital, designed to facilitate access to alternative financing for companies in the real estate sector, has ended before it really even had begun. The two firms initially planned to raise €300 million to finance debt and other operations linked to the real estate sector. However, after just eight months and €40 million, Azora and Oquendo are now negotiating how the end their partnership.  

Since November, Azora and Oquendo Capital had been attempting to raise €300 million to directly finance small to medium-scale real estate projects in Spain and Portugal. The two firms had planned to focus on land, logistics and the hospitality sectors.

Sources are pointing to possible disagreements regarding the distribution of commissions.  Both companies declined to comment.

Original Story: El Confidencial – E. Sanz / C. Hernanz

NH Breaks with AMResorts After Minor’s Entry

28 August 2018

The alliance to incorporate the subsidiary of Apple Leisure is frustrated in the middle of the Thai firm’s takeover bid.

The strategic alliance between the NH Hotel Group and the US-based Apple Leisure Group to jointly operate holiday hotel complexes in Europe, announced last May, has ground to a halt in the middle of the Thai group Minor’s takeover bid for 100% of NH.

Market sources explain that Minor’s participation in the firm, where it already controls 44.75% of the capital, has brought the alliance, which should have been signed at the end of last July, to an abrupt end.

The agreement involved the arrival of AMResorts, one of the subsidiaries of the US holding company, in Europe and opened the door for NH to expand in the holiday segment together with the North American company. The alliance was another step in the relationship that AMResorts had maintained with NH since 2011 when both companies established a similar model to operate three complexes in the Dominican Republic.

Under the agreement, currently halted, AM Resorts would have been in charge of brand management and the marketing of the resorts, while NH would maintain operational management. The first complexes in Europe were scheduled to open during 2019.

The American group planned to market three hotels with the AMResorts brand in Lanzarote, Fuerteventura and Mallorca from 2019. These hotels are owned by Hesperia and are managed by NH.

“The resorts will be brand conversions of existing hotels, which will be remodelled to adopt the standards of the AMResorts brands with which they will operate,” the companies indicated at the time.

Also, the alliance envisaged a greater partnership when evaluating “additional opportunities for conversions and new constructions,” that would allow the expansion of AMResorts in Europe and NH to extend its footprint in vacation resorts.

However, Minor’s participation in NH has put an end to the agreement.

The Thai group controls 1,75516,807 shares of NH, equal to 44.75% of the share capital of the Spanish firm and has launched a takeover bid for the rest, although it intends to control between 51% and 55% of NH and keep the group listed.


After the takeover by Minor, NH contracted Bank of America Merryl Lynch to evaluate the offer and look for alternatives.

So far, no white knight has appeared at NH’s door, except for Hyatt, which, despite having expressed interest in the Spanish network, has ruled out a counter-takeover bid, believing that the operation has little prospect of success with Minor controlling more than 44% of its capital.

The Thai group’s bid was accepted by the CNMV on July 19. After the approval of its shareholders and once the market’s supervisory body approves the deal, Minor expects to complete the transaction in October 2018.

Original Story: Expansion – Rebecca Arroyo

Translation: Richard Turner


ASG Homes Is Planning to Build 10,000 Homes in Spain

9 April 2018 – Cinco Días

Metrovacesa, Aedas, Neinor, Vía Célere, Aelca… they are the everyday names of the new players that are reviving the house building sector following the real estate crisis. They are the companies that have stolen the limelight thanks to their ambitious plans and the return of these kinds of businesses to the stock market. But there is a quieter successor that is silently gathering a giant portfolio of land and with some ambitious plans of its own in the residential development sector. The company in question is ASG Homes, backed by the British fund manager ASG Capital Management and its subsidiary ASG Iberia.

Recently, the initiative has been baptised ASG Homes, the brand that will reach out to potential homebuyers. That will be the logo that clients will see when they visit one of the developments. Behind the brand is the ASG Iberia team, which in recent years has been acquiring a collection of plots in different provinces across Spain to accumulate 500,000 m2 of land in total, one of the largest portfolios in the country.

“We are the great dark horse”, recognises Víctor Pérez Arias, CEO of ASG Homes for Spain and Portugal. The current portfolio of land gives the company the possibility of building 5,000 homes. “The aspiration is to double our existing capacity”, he adds. That means investing more over the coming months to accumulate a portfolio with the potential for the construction of 10,000 homes. To date, the company has invested €400 million of its own funds to obtain its current land portfolio.

The property developer focuses on operations involving the purchase of debt with real estate collateral and on complex situations to reduce the prices it pays. Precisely for those reasons, the company rules out competitive tenders for acquiring land.

Currently, its plots are located in Valencia, Alicante, Málaga, Costa del Sol, Madrid, Salamanca and Sevilla. Specifically, in the Andalucían capital, the company is already planning to build 1,100 homes. So far, it has not entered the market in Barcelona, above all because prices are high in the city, but it does not rule out future opportunities.

Based on data provided by the companies, ASG is positioned in fifth place in the ranking of property developers planning to build the most homes, with around 2,000 units in the pipeline. It comes in behind only Neinor, Metrovacesa, Aelca and Amenabar.

Moreover, this year, the property developer plans to sell 1,500 new homes and hand over 500 homes to its clients. The market is looking at all of these new companies with a magnifying glass, above all of those that are listed on the stock market, to check whether they are capable of fulfilling their plans. Pérez Arias says that the company is already handing over its first developments in Alicante.

In Spain, these types of international funds have starred in the recovery of the house building sector, either through the creation of new property developers, such as in the case of ASG, or by refloating companies with problems.

The new property developers include Neinor, backed initially by Lone Star, after it purchased Kutxabank’s real estate business for €935 million. It was the first property developer to debut on the stock market in more than a decade and its main shareholder has already collected its profits after selling all of its share on the market.

It was followed on the stock market by Aedas Homes, backed by Castlelake. The 100-year old Metrovacesa also returned to the stock exchange, in that case, led by Santander and BBVA. Moreover, the fund Värde has two property developers that are currently sounding out the same path (Aelca and Vía Célere). In turn, Baupost has created Q21 Real Estate. Cerberus has also acquired the historical Inmoglacier and in the same vein, Bain Capital has purchased Habitat. Another example is the alliance between Gestilar and Morgan Stanley.

Original story: Cinco Días (by Alfonso Simón Ruiz)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Aedas Homes Positions Itself as a Potential Partner for Sareb, Studying the Creation of a Joint Venture

29 March 2018

The real estate developer, with a portfolio of land sufficient for 13,000 homes, is studying the creation of a joint venture with Sareb.

Aedas Homes may be studying one of the corporate deals of the year. The real estate developer, with a land portfolio to build 13,000 homes, is studying the creation of a joint venture with Sareb, which is in the process of searching for an industrial partner.

As Hernando de Soto, Aedas Homes’ director of investor relations explained to El Economista, “if the land is attractive and meets the characteristics that we require, we could ally ourselves with Sareb: obviously we are talking about a very significant deal, so we would have to look for alternative financing, since our current funding levels would not be sufficient.”

On the other hand, the firm does not rule out growth through the acquisition of smaller developers. “If there is the possibility of acquiring good land, at a given time, we will consider the possibility of acquiring a local developer,” the executive explained, noting, however, that Aedas’ goal is to acquire more land, and ensured that its strategy is to buy land with the capacity for some 1,040 more homes this year.

Original Story: EjePrime

Translation: Richard Turner


Parques Reunidos to Spend €15M on new Lionsgate Leisure Centre in Madrid

31 January 2018 – Eje Prime

Parques Reunidos is strengthening its commitment to forming alliances with multinational brands to open new leisure spaces in Spain. The latest company that the group has created is the film production company Lionsgate, with which it is going to develop an indoor activity centre in Madrid. Investment in the project will reach €15 million in total and the inauguration of the centre is expected to take place at the beginning of 2020.

Located next to Príncipe Pío station, the centre will have a surface area of 4,200 m2 and will house an obstacle course, a climbing wall, a state-of-the-art movement simulator, a 4D cinema and various virtual reality experiences, according to Expansión.

Similarly, a restaurant and cafeteria will be installed in the space, which will operate independently of the centre and which will not charge an entry fee.

This alliance between Parque Reunidos and producer of films such as The Hunger Games and the series Mad Men, follows several that it has signed in the past with other multinationals such as Ducati and Nickelodeon.

The group’s roadmap establishes the opening of half a dozen more centres of this kind over the next few years, with an average investment equal to the amount being spent on the Lionsgate space.

Original story: Eje Prime

Translation: Carmel Drake

Sareb Emulates The Funds By Teaming Up With Local Developers

23 November 2015 – El Confidencial

Two years after its creation, Sareb has decided to change its strategy and instead of selling large portfolios of land to opportunistic funds, it will now develop these plots of land itself and whereby benefit from the resulting margins.

Aware that the bulk of the large operations have now been completed, the President of the entity, Jaime Echegoyen, has decided to adopt a retail sale strategy, in which one of the main growth drivers will be the formation of partnerships with local developers, to jointly develop the greatest possible volume of land.

For these co-investment agreements, Sareb will provide the land, whilst the local partners, which specialise in the business, will take care of the construction and development of the homes, in projects that would be very difficult for them to aspire to if they had to purchase the land, since many domestic companies are still unable to make that kind of financial commitment.

Sareb hopes to lay the first stone in this new initiative in Andalucía, where it is currently finalising an agreement with a local property developer. And it will soon add other projects in Madrid, where the entity owns various plots on which it is looking to develop several promotions through this kind of co-investment formula.

On the trail of the large funds

These types of agreements between Spanish property developers, who know the business, and financial institutions, have been one of the main drivers behind the emerging recovery seen over the course of the last year, above all in Madrid and Barcelona, which have enabled international funds to now be financing the development of 10,000 homes.

For example, Castlelake, which acquired around twenty plots of land from Sareb in two different operations – the Crossover portfolio and 76,100 m2 of land in Boadilla del Monte – have a total surface area large enough for the development of 1,200 homes. It is working together with its local partner, Aelca, on this project.

Other examples of partnerships between international funds and local property developers include: Renta Corporación and Kennedy Wilson, Momentum Real Estate and Harbert Management, Uniq and Bream Real Estate, and InmoGlaciar and the German fund Aquila.

To become a partner of reference for domestic companies, Sareb has the experience and position of having more than 17,000 debtor companies, with which it is trying to negotiate solutions, such as “daciones en pago” and other conversion formulae. In fact, between January and June this year, it managed 5,413 proposals from property developers, around 30 proposals per day, according to its half yearly report.

During this period, the entity led by Jaime Echegoyen also completed six real estate developments, resumed another 11 and approved the development of 13 plots of land, where it plans to build another 780 homes.

Original story: El Confidencial (by Ruth Ugalde)

Translation: Carmel Drake