Apple Leisure Group Debuts in Spain with its Purchase of a Majority Stake in Alua Hotels

23 January 2019 – Revista 80 Días

The US group is one of the largest managers of accommodation in the Caribbean. This purchase allows it to enter the vacation segment and the European market.

Apple Leisure Group (ALG), one of the largest hotel investors in the USA, has acquired a majority stake in the share capital of Alua Hotels and Resorts, the hotel group founded in 2015 by its main executives and the private equity fund Alchemy Partners. The amount of the purchase has not been revealed, although the joint operating result of the chain’s main hotels amounted to €6 million in 2017. Given that the properties are located in areas with high tourist demand and good forecasts, the amount of the operation could have exceeded €40 million, based on the multiples that are typically used for this type of transaction.

With this acquisition, ALG is entering the European market through the sun and beach holiday segment. And it is doing so in a country such as Spain, which receives more than 80 million tourists per year in search of that kind of offer. Alua Hotels has 11 hotels located in Mallorca, Ibiza, Fuerteventura and Tenerife, together with an apartment building in Ibiza.

In total, ALG will manage more than 3,000 4-star hotel rooms, focused on the type of tourist who wants a superior service to that usually found in the average accommodation establishments in beach areas. The US company is planning to undertake more acquisitions in the European market and has announced that it wants to become a reference player in the main destinations in the Mediterranean (…).

Apple Leisure Group is one of the most important investment conglomerates in tourism in the USA. It used to be owned by the investment fund Bain Capital (…), which sold it in 2017 to the funds KSL Capital Partners and KKR for an undisclosed sum. (…). According to data from the conglomerate, it manages 14 brands and handles more than 3.2 million passengers per year (…). Its turnover exceeds USD 3 billion per year (…).

Original story: Revista 80 Días 

Translation: Carmel Drake

Sacyr Claims €518.5M from Government of Murcia for its Ghost Airport

23 April 2018 – El Confidencial

Sacyr wants to take the conflict with the Region of Murcia over the private airport in Corvera to its logical conclusion. The construction company chaired by Manuel Manrique is claiming €518.5 million from the Regional (Partido Popular) government for the suspension of the concession to operate the airport infrastructure, which has ended up in the hands of the public entity Aena. The company in which the Murcian owner of El Pozo also owns a stake is demanding twice the amount that it cost it to construct the property.

According to an internal document from Sacyr, the ‘Concessionaire Company of the Airport for the Region of Murcia’ (‘Sociedad Concesionaria del Aeropuerto de la Región de Murcia’ or SCAM) filed a report on 17 January urging the autonomous government to issue a resolution to award the concessionaire a settlement of €518.5 million. That petition comes almost five years after the Government, now chaired by Fernando López Miras, terminated the contract for an alleged breach and a month after the Murican Executive agreed the management of the private airport with Aena – which is controlled by the State – for the next 25 years.

The claim is based on three concepts. The first relates to the investments and costs incurred by SCAM, in which Sacyr holds an 80% stake, for the development and execution of the concession contract. That sum amounted to €256.69 million as at 22 March 2016, the date immediately prior to when the Region of Murcia took ownership of the asset, plus an additional €1.97 million for the maintenance work carried out by the construction company until 30 September last year.

Sacyr and its shareholders, which include Banco Sabadell and Grupo Fuertes (El Pozo), the largest industrial group in Murcia, are also claiming €35.1 million in extra costs borne by the company resulting from the early termination of the concession contract, amounts that “must also be updated at the date of their reimbursement and/or settlement”. Finally, the company is demanding €224.82 million for the profit forgone or forecast loss, as assessed by an independent expert, whose identity has not been revealed by Sacyr.

The Corvera airport was awarded to Sacyr in 2007 (…). Nevertheless, after construction was completed in 2012, it could not be opened due to insurmountable differences that were so great they even led to the intervention of the Guardia Civil.

After long disputes (…) and some unsuccessful negotiations, the regional Government expropriated the airport and awarded it again at the end of last year. The winner was Aena (…), which undertook to manage the airport in exchange for closing the San Javier military airfield, closer to the Mar Menor and just 30 km from Corvera.

The new airport, which is expected to begin operation in December, is going to be called Juan de la Cierva, in honour of the Murcian man who invented the gyroplane. The infrastructure is expected to receive 800,000 international tourists during its first four years and will be able to handle 3.5 million passengers per year. Initial forecasts indicate sales of €495.8 million during the 25-year concession. Its largest competitor will continue to be the airport in Alicante, which handles more than 12 million users per year.

Original story: El Confidencial (by Agustín Marco)

Translation: Carmel Drake