German Fund Manager Aquila Capital Launches its own Property Developer in Spain

1 August 2018 – El Economista

The German fund manager, Aquila Capital, is demonstrating its commitment to Spanish property by launching a new property developer called AQ Acentor.

Until now, the firm has worked in Spain by delegating its development activities and in partnership with other real estate companies such as Inmoglacier, with which it has undertaken several projects. “The strategic partnership with the property developer has been positive and has resulted in the construction of three successful real estate developments, which have contributed to Aquila Capital’s expansion plans in the Spanish market under its own brand, AQ Acentor”, explains Sven Schoel, CEO of the German manager in Spain.

Aquila has been operating in Spain since 2014, focusing its business on the real estate sector, with projects worth more than €800 million. With the creation of this new brand, the firm has incorporated a management team to boost growth through in-house development.

AQ Acentor has been created with more than 3,000 new homes under construction, of which around 500 will be handed over during the course of this year. Currently, the firm is working on residential projects in metropolitan areas, primarily in Madrid, Barcelona, Málaga and Valencia.

“The company has a multidisciplinary team comprising more than 40 professionals located in offices in Madrid, Barcelona and Málaga”, explain sources at the firm.

“The creation of AQ Acentor responds to our firm commitment to the Spanish market and is backed by a pipeline amounting to €1 billion over the next five years”, specifies Schoel.

The manager is also present in the logistics market in Spain, one of the other real estate segments that is experiencing a boom, besides the residential segment. In that case, it has launched an investment plan amounting to between €350 million and €400 million for the Iberian Peninsula and Italy.

Original story: El Economista (by Alba Brualla)

Translation: Carmel Drake

MAB Approves Testa’s Stock Market Debut with Market Capitalisation of €1.83bn

24 July 2018 – Eje Prime

Testa is getting ready to refinance its debt. The Socimi in which Santander, BBVA, Merlin and Acciona Inmobiliaria hold stakes has included the refinancing of its liability on its roadmap, given that 91% of the firm’s gross financial debt is due to expire in 2022, according to an information document prepared for its incorporation onto the Alternative Investment Market (MAB), which was published yesterday.

As at 31 March, Testa’s gross financial debt amounted to €475 million, whilst the net financial debt amounted to €415 million. In addition, in order to finance the purchase of the BuildingCenter, the company took out two more loans amounting to €230 million.

As the company explained, of the total gross financial debt, €431 million (91%) expires in 2022. The company plans to refinance its debt by resorting to different instruments.

Testa’s plans following its debut on the MAB involve continuing with its purchase process, which involves acquiring between 1,000 and 2,000 apartments each year. According to the document, the Socimi has a pipeline with a GAV of around €539 million, which represents around 2,959 apartments.

As at 31 December 2017, Testa’s portfolio comprised 9,244 homes, 295 retail premises, located in the same buildings as the homes, and an office building and parking lot in Plaza Castilla, with a combined market value of €2.276 billion. Nevertheless, that data does not include the BuildingCenter portfolio.

In March, Testa signed an agreement to acquire the residential portfolio of the real estate arm of CaixaBank, comprising 1,458 homes. To date, according to the MAB document, Testa has acquired 1,450 apartments from that portfolio for a price of €226 million.

By geographical area, the Community of Madrid accounts for approximately 65% of the gross value of the portfolio, followed by San Sebastián, with 7.2%; Barcelona, 4.1%; Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, 2.9%; Valencia, 2.5%; Toledo, 2.4%; Pamplona, 2%; Valladolid, 1.9%, and Oviedo, 1.5%.

The company, in which Santander holds a 36.8% stake; BBVA a 25.6% stake; Acciona a 20% stake and Merlin Properties a 17% stake, will make its debut on the stock market with a capitalisation of more than €1.83 billion. The company’s stock market debut has suffered several delays, but yesterday it received the green light from the MAB.

Original story: Eje Prime (by P. Riaño)

Translation: Carmel Drake

ICG Makes €105M Investment in Eroski Spanish Hypermarkets

31 May 2018 – Property Magazine

Intermediate Capital Group (ICG) will invest €105 million in six Spanish hypermarkets. ICG has partnered with Inmobiliaria Armuco S.L., a real estate company 45% owned by Eroski, a food retailer in Northern Spain, to acquire five of its hypermarkets and one more completely owned by Eroski in a primary sale and leaseback transaction underpinned by 21-year, CPI-linked, triple-net leases.

The assets are located in the Basque region of Spain and each rank in the top quartile in terms of Eroski’s trading performance. According to Savills, Spain has enjoyed a return to growth in excess of 3% for the last three consecutive years and is predicted to outperform the Eurozone, in terms of GDP, for the next three years.

Chris Nichols, Managing Director of ICG Sale and Leaseback, commented: “We are pleased to have partnered with Eroski on this transaction and to have acquired six assets in strategic priority locations for Eroski. We have a pipeline of deals, and are actively looking for further opportunities in this space, both in Spain and across the wider European market”.

ICG was advised by Savills and Eversheds.

Original story: Property Magazine

Edited by: Carmel Drake

Deloitte: Spain’s Logistics Sector is Hot Property Thanks to the ‘Amazon Effect’

18 May 2018 – Expansión

Investment funds want to take advantage of the collateral effects that the boom in e-commerce is going to have in the real estate market by taking positions in a segment with great potential, namely: the storage of goods and products. The logistics segment has become the “golden girl” of the real estate sector and one of the favourites of investors boosted by strong yields and the expectations of business growth. In this context, Asian investors have placed their focus on the European logistics market.

According to the Logistics Property Handbook compiled by Deloitte, last year, investment in logistics assets in Europe recorded a milestone with €42.5 billion of assets transacted, thanks to mega-operations such as the purchase by China Investment Corporation (CIC) from Blackstone of the Pan-European platform Logicor for €12.2 billion, and the acquisition of the European platform Gazeley by Global Logistic Properties (GLP), headquartered in Singapore, for €2.4 billion.

Mega-operations

In Spain alone, investment in logistics assets amounted to €1.63 billion, which represented a 75% increase compared to the previous year, and a historical record, due to significant transactions involving logistics portfolios. CIC’s purchase of Logicor implied a transaction volume of €652 million in Spain. Meanwhile, P3 Logistic Park – owned by the Singapore sovereign fund, GIC – purchased 11 assets from Green Oak in Spain for €243 million. Those operations boosted investment to historic levels.

Moreover, last year, Mango sold its logistics centre in Palau-Solità I Plegamans (Barcelona) to the fund manager Invesco for €100 million. That transaction was the largest involving a single asset in Spain and the fourth-largest in Europe.

According to the forecasts in the report, operations in the pipeline, which may be closed this year, already amount to €980 million.

“The large institutional funds that aspire to lead the logistics sector in Europe and around the world are bidding hard to accumulate the largest logistics surface area possible during this economic cycle. The location and size of their international logistics platforms are the two key variables for exercising greater negotiation power and whereby obtain the highest rents from operators”, explains Javier García-Matro, Partner in Financial Advisory at Deloitte.

Despite the record investment figure recorded last year, the volume of assets transacted in Spain represents just 4% of the total European market. “This fact is proof of the growth potential of these types of assets in our country. In 2017 alone, 865,000 m2 of logistics space was handed over in Madrid, Cataluña and Valencia. The strong demand of the current cycle is causing logistics promoters to develop more than 2 million m2 of land in these markets, in both turnkey and speculative projects”, says García-Mateo.

One of the major players in the sector is the Socimi Merlin, which has placed logistics asset at the centre of its growth strategy. Merlin’s expansion plan involves the development of land and turnkey construction, a roadmap that has allowed it to become one of the leaders in the sector in just four years.

The main players

Merlin has 2 million m2 of logistics land, both in portfolio and under management, and its plans involve increasing that volume to 3 million m2 before the end of the economic cycle. Specifically, it plans to spend around €250 million on logistics development over the next four years.

Another important player is Logicor, the Pan-European platform, which has been controlled by the Chinese group GIC since last year and which owns 1.2 million m2. Meanwhile, the alliance formed by the real estate manager CBRE GI and its local partner Montepino is going to develop a portfolio of prime assets in the main geographic areas of Spain with a planned investment of around €300 million.

They are joined by the European giants Prologic and the platform P3 Logistic Parks, which own 900,000 m2 and 400,000 m2, respectively, as well as the European investment group VGP, which owns almost 400,000 m2 of logistics space in Spain.

In terms of the types of assets, the Amazon effect has revolutionised the industrial sector and forced logistics operators to reinvent themselves to adapt to the new needs of clients (…).

Original story: Expansión (by Rebeca Arroyo)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Medcap Diversifies & Allocates €50M to Alternative Investments & Portugal

19 March 2018 – Eje Prime

Medcap is starting 2018 by making new investments and entering new markets. Diversification and alternative assets are going to be the focus of the group over the coming months, which has just invested €50 million on its entry into Portugal and the launch of a healthcare assets investment division, according to explanations provided by Dimas de Andres, the group’s CEO to Eje Prime.

One of the main operations that Medcap is going to carry out this year, as well as continuing “to keep an eye on opportunities in the prime retail sector, which is one of the fund’s main activities” is going to be the launch of two out-of-town retail parks in the Portuguese market, specifically, in Lisbon and Porto.

The company has invested €30 million in the purchase of 2 plots of land, one spanning 19,000 m2 and the other measuring 27,000 m2, for the complete development of two commercial areas, which are going to be leased in their majority to a supermarket group, according to explanations from Medcap.

Medcap Real Estate, a company owned by the De Andrés Puyol family, has also explained that it is going to back alternative investments this year. The company is currently involved in a healthcare project in the Community of Valencia. With an investment of between €15 million and €20 million, Medcap is going to construct the building with all of the needs that a healthcare operator may have, in order to put it on the market and lease it or resell it.

With these types of assets, the company is going to focus its efforts on Valencia and Cataluña. “We are not afraid to continue buying in Spain: our investments in Madrid and Barcelona are still intact”, explains the CEO of the company. “We are long-termists and we are not afraid of the political situation”, he says.

In addition to its investments, the group is also starting a divestment phase in 2018. The company has already sold the NH Murcia Hotel, located in Cartagena, and a supermarket, also located in Cartagena, for €12.5 million. “At the end of the day, divestment forms part of our business too”, say sources at the company.

MedCap, ten prime assets

At the beginning of 2015, the De Andrés Puyol family constituted Medcap Real Estate to manage its portfolio of assets, formed as a result of the contribution by Inversora del Reino de Valencia of one of its branches of activity, which included all of the urban assets leased or offered as rental properties, as well as all of the shares of the subsidiary specialising in managing operations relating to prime retail.

Medcap’s shareholders have a long history in the real estate business, with extensive experience in the search for, development of and letting of assets. Medcap focuses its activity mainly on the prime segment given the greater stability of that sector. Nevertheless, it also has a portfolio of rental properties for operation such as supermarkets in more secondary areas.

Medcap has a pipeline of assets in different stages of development or study in Spain, the Netherlands and Italy. Its most noteworthy properties include the building at number 80 Paseo de Gracia, where the luxury firm Louis Vuitton has its flagship store in the Catalan capital, as well as the Desigual megastore on Plaza Cataluña and the Apple store on Paseo de Gracia, according to the firm’s annual accounts.

In Madrid, until January, the group was the owner of the Adidas flagship store at number 21 Gran Vía (pictured above), which it sold to Triuvua; and the Louis Vuitton flagship store at number 66 Calle Serrano in Madrid, amongst others. The valuation of Medcap’s prime retail assets exceeds €475 million, according to the most recent valuation performed by the company.

Original story: Eje Prime (by Custodio Pareja)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Madrid’s Offices Record Highest Occupancy Rates For 10 Years

29 November 2017 – Eje Prime

Offices are getting increasingly busier. In Madrid, the real estate sector is recording pre-crisis figures, with an occupancy (take-up) rate during the first nine months of the year of 359,000 m2, the highest volume for a decade.

This indicator is also encouraging the leasing of workspaces. According to a report from the consultancy firm Knight Frank, the Madrilenian office market is aspiring to close 2017 with half a million square metres of space leased, in large part, thanks to the 3.1% growth rate of Spain’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). This data consolidates the Spanish capital as a point of reference for the sector across the country and makes it one of the fastest growing markets in Europe.

The volume of investment in this segment of the tertiary sector as at September 2017 was €928 million, with British and US investors increasing their activity by the most this year. That fact has caused the domestic quota to decrease from 80% to 65% in just twelve months.

The availability of office space in Madrid has decreased by 11.6% during the same period; the expectation is that over the next two years, the pipeline of stock will increase by 325,000 m2. Of that future space, 26% is already leased, most notably, the 36,000 m2 of space that the British company WPP acquired on Calle Ríos Rosas, where the former headquarters of Telefónica was located, and the 48,000 m2 of space that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is going to make use of at number 8 Plaza del Marqués de Salamanca.

In terms of the economics, the high demand in this market in the Spanish capital is resulting in an increase in prime rents in the city, with an upward trend that saw rental prices reach €29.50/m2 during the third quarter.

Original story: Eje Prime

Translation: Carmel Drake

Deloitte: Inv’t In Retail Sector Will Reach €3.046bn in 2017

23 November 2017 – Expansión

Shopping centres have reached their cruising speed. After breaking all records last year, with a transaction volume of €3.769 billion, investment in the sector is maintaining its strong dynamism and could reach €3.046 billion by year-end. That would represent the second highest annual figure for a decade, according to research by Deloitte for The Shopping Centre Handbook.

So far this year, investment in shopping centres has amounted to €2.296 billion, which represents 30% of the total volume invested in the non-residential real estate market in Spain. Moreover, the remaining weeks of the year are expected to be particularly busy, which should allow the figure to exceed the €3 billion threshold in 2017.

Historical operations, such as the purchase of Xanadú (Arroyomolinos, Madrid) by the British fund Intu Properties for €520 million and the subsequent sale of 50% of that asset to TH Real Estate for €264 million; and the acquisition by Klépierre of Nueva Condomina, in Murcia, for €230 million, have catapulted investment this year despite the fact that, if the outstanding operations in the pipeline materialise, the total volume will be 19% lower than in 2016.

Record operation

Compared with other countries in Europe, Spain is consolidating its position as the third largest market in terms of investment, accounting for 16% of total volume. In this sense, the purchase of Xanadú leads the ranking of the largest operations transacted in Europe this year. Nueva Condomina also features in the list of top 5 deals, together with the purchase of Rathaus Galerie Leverkusen, (Germany) and Le Befane Shopping Centre (Italy), both of which were acquired by Union Investment, for €220 million and €244 million, respectively.

“Investors in shopping centres in Spain believe that the strong macroeconomic outlook will continue to boost household consumption and with that, the valuation of retail assets”, said the Partner in Financial Advisory at Deloitte, Javier García-Mateo.

In terms of the investor profile, García-Mateo explains that this year, “the stage has been shared by Spanish Socimis, which have seen their stake of total investment fall to 16%, to the benefit of international funds, which are looking to build large multi-country platforms”.

The Director of Financial Advisory at Deloitte, Ana Granado, also points out that this year, financing for shopping centres amounting to between €1.2 billion and €1.5 billion has been closed. “The traditional banks are being joined by a select group of alternative providers of capital, which are willing to finance the development of land and projects in the transformation and renovation phase”, she said.

Regarding the supply, currently, the average commercial density of shopping centres in Spain amounts to 285 m2 for every 1,000 inhabitants. By province, Zaragoza (with 638 m2 for every 1,000 inhabitants) and Las Palmas (with 641 m2 for every 1,000 inhabitants) are the Spanish provinces with the highest commercial density. At the other end of the spectrum are Lérida, with 40 m2 for every 1,000 inhabitants and Gerona, with 65 m2 for every 1,000 inhabitants.

Renovation

In terms of the commercial park, José María Espejo, Senior Manager at Deloitte Financial Advisory, indicates that 45% of the current supply of shopping centres is showing signs of significant technical obsolescence. “Any renovation processes will have to go hand in hand with some major capex investment”, he said.

According to Deloitte’s calculations, the amount of investment required to reposition the obsolete assets amounts to around €1.08 billion.

By way of example of some of the shopping centres that have been repositioned in recent years, La Moraleja Green, in Madrid stands out, with an investment of €10 million. That shopping centre, located in Alcobendas and inaugurated in 1995 is owned by Kennedy Wilson, which bought it from ING Real Estate in December 2015 for €71 million. Meanwhile, Unibail Rodamco, has invested €148 million in the repositioning of the Glòries shopping centre in Barcelona and Intu has spent €12 million on improvements at its shopping centre in Asturias.

Omni-channels

In terms of challenges for the future, commercial spaces are going to have to adapt to cater for the new habits of consumers and to make e-commerce an ally.

According to the report, shopping centres are at very preliminary levels of evolution and only the most advanced have online shopping platforms, mobile applications and loyalty programs for their clients.

Specifically, the level of omnichannel use of shopping centres in Spain amounts to 33%. By category, retail outlets achieve the highest degree of omnichannel use, whilst shopping centres bring up the rear in terms of their degree of digitalisation.

Original story: Expansión (by Rebeca Arroyo)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Morgan Stanley & Gestilar To Build 1,050 New Homes

27 October 2017 – Eje Prime

Gestilar and Morgan Stanley are taking their first steps together in the sector. The property developer and the international fund have invested €120 million in the acquisition of land in Spain, where they plan to construct more than 1,050 homes, according to Javier García-Valcárcel, founder and President of Gestilar, speaking to Eje Prime. The company is currently marketing a portfolio of 1,000 homes, which it expects to complete and deliver in 2018.

For the most part, the land purchases have taken place following the signing of a joint venture with Morgan Stanley. “90% of these new acquisitions form part of the agreement”, says García-Valcárcel. Most of the land recently acquired by the group is located in Madrid, Cataluña, Galicia and the Balearic Islands, according to the director.

This land, which has a combined surface area of 150,000 m2, will be added to the portfolio that the company is already working on. It is constructing around 1,000 homes, which it will deliver during the course of next year and of which almost 80% have already been sold. “Gestilar has completed 600 homes in the last three years”, says the executive.

The roadmap for Gestilar and Morgan Stanley has already been defined, at least the next stage. “We have a pipeline for investing capital for the acquisition of land to build more than 2,000 homes”, explains García-Valcárcel. “That means investing around €250 million more”.

With García-Varcárcel as the sole shareholder, the company launched so-called Project Orizone, with the aim of searching for a strategic partner. Through a process led by A&G, it invited more than a dozen international funds, who had expressed interest in the project, to participate and in the end, the winner was Morgan Stanley’s fund.

“This investor was looking for a partner in Spain and after a year of negotiations, we closed an agreement”, says the executive. “We were never looking for a corporate operation but rather a single strategic partner to work with over the next four or five years”. The long-term objective is to launch 14 or 15 new projects.

Gestilar plans to build 2,500 new homes between 2018 and 2020, with an investment of around €500 million during that period. That will allow the company to place itself amongst the largest real estate businesses in the country in terms of construction volumes.

Morgan Stanley’s return to Spanish real estate  

With this alliance, Morgan Stanley’s fund is backing the Spanish real estate sector once again. In 2006, before the international economic crisis hit, the fund announced that it had €1,000 million proceeding from various funds to invest in real estate assets in Spain.

In line with its plans, Morgan Stanley launched a company together with the real estate group Lar. Moreover, during its time in the Spanish market, the fund joined forced with the real estate firm owned by the Pereda family to build shopping centres and holiday homes on the coast. Nevertheless, it never prospered and ended up shutting down the company after investing in five holiday home projects (with more than 1,500 units) and ten shopping centres.

Original story: Eje Prime (by C. Pareja)

Translation: 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

 

Savills: RE Inv’t In The Retail Sector Totalled €2,400M In 2015

14 March 2016 – Cinco Días

Real estate investors really like the retail sector in Spain. In fact, last year, they demonstrated their interest through the purchase of shopping centres, hypermarkets, supermarkets and other retail outlets. In 2015, total investment in the sector amounted to €2,400 million, to reach a new peak in the historical series prepared by the consultancy firm Savills, which dates back to the year 2000.

This data is better than any recorded during the real estate boom years of the last decade. The figure represents an increase of 14% with respect to 2014 and of 10% with respect to the market peak to date, recorded in 2006.

In terms of the number of operations in this segment, the increase of 35% with respect to last year, with 46 investment operations, also marked a new record with respect to the level reached in 2014, when 35 operations were signed.

Moreover, sources at Savills say that the pace of activity does not seem to have slowed down so far in 2016 – the number of transactions to date is in line with the number recorded during the first quarter last year. Almost €600 million has been invested so far this year, which represents a level similar to the annual volume recorded during the years of the crisis, between the period from 2009 to 2013.

The consultancy firm calculates that the current portfolio of operations in the pipeline (pending signing) and assets that are going to come onto the market in the short term could amount to an additional €2,500 million.

On the investor side, Socimis have become key players, with new players such as Lar España, which has attracted hundreds of millions in foreign funding.

In any case, cross-border investment by European and US funds accounted for more than two thirds of the total in 2015 and almost all of the investment made so far this year. On the sell side, international firms also account for most of the activity. “Players who purchased at the low point in the cycle and those that are now looking to rotate their assets are taking advantage of the recovery to generate more profits”, say the sources.

The largest transaction last year involved the sale of the Puerto Venecia shopping centre in Zaragoza, which Intu acquired from the fund Orion Capital for €451 million. That was followed by the sale of the Plenilunio shopping centre, which Klépierre bought from the same fund for €375 million. In third place was the sale of a portfolio of Eroski supermarkets to Invesco for €358 million.

Original story: Cinco Días (by A. Simón)

Translation: Carmel Drake