Phoenix Buys Hotel Intercontinental In Torre Pacheco

18 January 2016 – La Opinión de Murcia

A Chilean group has acquired the five-star Hotel Intercontinental La Torre from Polaris World, the property developer from Balsicas, which filed for liquidation following the suspension of payments that ended with the transfer of the majority of the homes that it had constructed in urbanisations in Murcia to Sareb.

The new owner of the property, considered the jewel in the crown of the company created by Pedro García Meroño and Facundo Armero, is the company Phoenix, which already owns a luxury resort in Marbella called La Quinta. The so-called bad bank is also negotiating sales operations with a Spanish chain, which, if they materialise, may result in the sale of other assets by the property developer.

The Chilean group Phoenix is a business conglomerate backed by family capital, headquartered in Santiago de Chile. It holds investments in the real estate, tourism, renewable energy and finance sectors. One of its most high profile projects is Haciendas Talinay, a megaproject involving real estate and tourism developments located to the north of Santiago, in the IV Region of Chile, covering a surface area of 25,000 hectares, along 23 km of the Pacific Ocean coast.

Besides the Hotel Intercontinental La Torre, the Chilean group has acquired a retail centre containing a number of restaurants.

Polaris had constructed another five star hotel in Torre Pacheco called Intercontinental Mar Menor, which has 64 rooms.

The majority of Polaris’s urbanisations that have golf courses were transferred to the company IRM, which was constituted by the banks that had financed the company’s expansion until the burst of the real estate bubble halted its plans in their tracks….However, most of Polaris’s assets ended up in the hands of Sareb, which is now negotiating other operations. Sareb’s President, Jaime Echegoyen, declared in Murcia last May that he expected to see options to sell homes constructed by the property developer from Balsicas “in a piecemeal fashion”. (…).

The purchase of the Hotel Intercontinental, which has been closed to the public since 2013, is considered as an example of the interest that investor groups and tour operators have in Murcia. It is hoped that the operation will represent a new start for the region, which has endured severe economic hardship in recent years, since the crisis put a stop to the ambitious tourism projects of the boom years (…). CAM and Banco de Valencia both become major creditors of Polaris World, which ended up transferring the hole caused by debts with Polaris, which reportedly amounted to around €900 million, to Bankia.

Meanwhile, legal investigations that are being undertaken, following the collapse of CAM and Bancaja, have identified irregularities in terms of the granting of loans to the company from Balsicas.

Original story: La Opinión de Murcia

Translation: Carmel Drake

Sareb Is Selling The Assets It Inherited From Polaris

7 May 2015 – Expansión

The company has appointed N+1 to manage the sale of 3 golf courses, two 5-star hotels and several residential estates.

Sareb wants to cut its ties with one of the ‘great chapters’ of the real estate bubble as soon as possible. In the last few days, the company chaired by Jaime Echegoyen has started the process to dispose of the property it inherited from Polaris World, by putting a portfolio with a nominal value of €500 million up for sale. The market price may amount to less than half of that value.

The portfolio comprises three golf courses, two five-star hotels and several residential complexes, built in Murcia by Polaris, which Sareb inherited in the form of property developer loans from Banco Valencia and Bankia. The sale also includes loans with real estate collateral that have not yet been foreclosed.

Sareb has appointed N+1 to manage the process and according to sources at funds consulted by Expansión, the firm has already distributed information to potential investors (corresponding to the so-called) Project Birdie.

The assets and loans up for sale come from Inversiones en Resorts del Mediterráneo (IRM), a company created in 2009 by Bancaja, Banco de Valencia, Popular and CAM to manage the Polaris assets that were left after the property developer’s debt was restructured.

Sareb’s decision to sell has generated confusion for the other two creditors, Banco Popular and Sabadell – following the latter’s absorption of CAM – because they were not notified (in advance) and because they believe that the best way of maximising the value from IRM’s assets is a block sale, given that they comprise a single residential estate and six golf courses. As a result, it is likely that these entities will contact Sareb over the next few days with a view to repositioning the sale.

When IRM was created, the company held assets worth €991 million, although by the end of 2013 – the latest available accounts – they had deteriorated (in value) by almost €500 million. The owners of its capital are Sabadell – covered by CAM’s EPA (Asset Protection Scheme or Esquema de Protección de Activos) – Bankia, CaixaBank and Popular.

Original story: Expansión (by Jorge Zuloaga)

Translation: Carmel Drake