A Blow to Sevilla’s Retail Sector: Plans for Alcora Shopping Centre Cancelled

21 September 2018 – Eje Prime

Sevilla has lost one of its major post-crisis commercial projects. In the end, the Alcora shopping centre, promoted by Grupo Tremon, is not going to open its doors, even though its construction was announced in 2014 with a planned investment of €167 million, according to reports from Europa Press.

The plots on which the shopping centre was going to be constructed, which have a combined surface area of 23,000 m2, are located next to the headquarters of Canal Sur TV in San Juan de Aznalfarache. The plan envisaged by Grupo Tremon involved a 3-storey building plus two levels of underground parking with capacity for 1,300 vehicles.

In 2014, the plenary of the Sevillan town hall approved a modification to the urban regulations so that the work for the construction of the complex, located on the Aljarafe cornice, could be undertaken. The views over the Guadalquivir and Sevilla were going to take centre stage in Alcora, which envisaged a large square with a lookout over the Sevillan capital.

Tough competition

Nevertheless, the collapse of this commercial project contrasts with the good times that the commercial sector is experiencing in Sevilla. The imminent opening of Torre Sevilla (the fifth tallest building in Spain after the iconic Cuatro Torres in Madrid) by CaixaBank, will be followed in the spring by the Lagoh shopping centre, Grupo Lar’s big gamble in the Sevillan retail sector.

This latter complex (initially called Palmas Altas) is going to become the largest commercial space in the city, with a surface area of more than 100,000 m2. The investment in this project by Lar España will amount to €250 million.

Original story: Eje Prime

Translation: Carmel Drake

Aena: Countdown to the Real Estate Megaplan

1 March 2018 – Expansión

Business / Aena is going to market 2.7 million m2 of land in Barajas over 40 years and 1.8 million m2 of land in El Prat over 20 years.

The starting gun has been fired for Aena’s real estate megaplan. The President of the firm, Jaime García-Legaz, confirmed the details of the project yesterday to analysts. It forms one of the pillars of the new strategy that the group is preparing for the period 2018-2021, which will be published within the next few weeks. Aena is going to launch a tender to hire an investment bank to design the process and determine the capex required and the formula to maximise the value. The airport manager, which spent €1.4 million in 2017 on the development of its plans for the project, will kick off in Madrid and Barcelona, where it owns the majority of its plots.

In Barajas (Madrid), it is going to market 2.7 million m2 of land over 40 years for a mixture of uses. According to its estimates, the maximum development potential is 3.6 million m2. Meanwhile, in El Prat (Barcelona), the term will last for 20 years and will span 1.8 million m2 of land, also for various uses, and including the construction of loading and logistics areas. According to the first estimates in the market, the capex associated with this project is going to amount to several hundreds of millions of euros per year.

“Real estate development is one of the main strands of the strategic plan together with the internationalisation of Aena and the dividend policy”, confirmed García-Legaz yesterday. On Tuesday, to coincide with the results announcement, the group announced the distribution of a dividend amounting to €6.50 gross per share, 80% of its profits in 2017, up by 69.7% compared to the previous year. “The Board considered what was appropriate, taking into account the increase in cash generation and the leverage level; and it is applicable to 2017”, he said. And for the future? “The policy will be reviewed with the new roadmap, but the Board’s philosophy involves returning to shareholders all of the free cash flow that is not required for operations overseas or capex over the next few years”, he said. The State is the primary shareholder of Aena with a 51% stake.

The K Factor

Meanwhile, the results for 2017 include a difference amounting to €57.8 million between the maximum annual revenue per passenger set by Dora – the airport framework applicable until 2021 – and actual revenues. That adjustment, known as the K factor, is going to have to be incorporated into the review of the tariffs for 2019. As a result, “the airport charges could be flat” when the forecast was a decrease of 2.2%. This year, Aena forecasts that air traffic is going to continue to rise, with growth of 5.5%.

Original story: Expansión (by Y. Blanco)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Aedas Homes Unveils its Plans for Hacienda del Rosario (Sevilla)

8 January 2018 – ABC Sevilla

A new neighbourhood with more than 1,000 homes for families aged between 30 and 45 at affordable prices. That is the project that is now being built in Hacienda del Rosario, right opposite the Decathlon store and next to the Parsi Industrial Estate. The aim is to develop the city’s urban planning project and recover the demographic indices last seen a decade ago.

The Aedas Homes group is going to build 1,046 two-, three- and four-bedroom homes in seven 10-storey towers over a surface area of 93,000 m2, of which 73,000 m2 will comprise green space. And the Town Hall is going to build another 218 social housing properties on an adjacent plot, owned by the Urban Planning Department, which Emvisesa has already started to process. That means that by the start of 2019, Sevilla will have a new district with more than 2,000 homes, including not only these projects but also the one in Santa Bárbara.

On Monday, the mayor, Juan Espadas, visited the site where Aedas – which is also responsible for the Cisneo Alto project and the new Ramón y Cajal urbanisations – is starting work on land that it purchased in 2016 from Gabriel Rojas in the East of the city. Specifically, the plots are located between the A-92 and the shopping centre that houses the aforementioned Decathlon store. The access roads have already been built and the Town Hall has granted the relevant licences for the construction of the residential areas, which will include a park measuring seven hectares, a social club and common areas with a swimming pool and padel courts.

For Espadas, “this project is not simply a housing development, but rather the creation of a new neighbourhood in Sevilla, which means that we are at the beginning of the post-crisis and we have left behind the black hole in the construction sector”. The area of expansion is destined for “established families who want a more comfortable environment at a good price”, explains the mayor. The regional director of Aedas, Diego Chacón, highlight that these homes will cost between €120,000 and €150,000, and will be financed by Banco Santander and constructed by San José. The first tower, which will have 142 homes, will be handed over within a year. And from then, the area will come to life continuously in search of a clear objective that the major himself has admitted: “The registration of citizens (‘empadronamiento’) in the city will be activated again”.

Original story: ABC Sevilla (by Alberto García Reyes)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Aedas Homes Exceeds its Forecasts for 2017

11 December 2017 – El Mundo

During the eleven months to November, the property developer Aedas Homes, which made its debut on the stock market in October, doubled its land purchase target for the development of housing that it had set for the entire year 2017, according to a presentation submitted to Spain’s National Securities and Exchange Commission (CNMV).

By the end of November, Aedas Homes had acquired land for the development of 865 homes, more than double (108% more) the forecast for year as a whole (416). Moreover, the property developer intends to incorporate land for an additional 130 homes before the end of the year.

In general terms, Aedas Homes has already exceeded its forecasts for 2017, and, according to the company, it expects to see some solid results, taking into account that prices have risen by 7%.

Until November, the property developer had launched 35 projects, above the forecast for the year as a whole (34). Aedas had also exceeded the planned number of homes under construction, with 758, compared to the forecast for the year as a whole of 583.

In terms of pre-sold homes, the total number at the end of the eleventh month of the year amounted to 832, very close to the planned number of 845.

Minimal impact of Catalan crisis

Meanwhile, according to the property developer, the impact of the Catalan crisis has been “minimal”. The company says that pre-sales in Cataluña “are continuing to grow” and that the projects launched in the region “already have 50% of their units pre-sold”.

Cataluña is the third largest market for Aedas Homes, after Madrid and the Costa del Sol. At the end of November, seven of the 35 developments that the company had underway in Spain were located in Cataluña. The developments in the Catalan region comprise 355 homes, a number that exceeds the forecasts for the year as a whole in the autonomous region, which amounts to 322 units.

Currently, Aedas Homes has 16% of its land portfolio in Cataluña, comprising a surface area of 1.5 million m2, with a value of €1.37 billion. In this way, it has sufficient land to build 2,245 homes in the region, out of its current portfolio capacity (for the country as a whole) of 13,044 homes.

Original story: El Mundo 

Translation: Carmel Drake

Realia Commits To Returning To The Residential Segment

29 June 2017 – Eje Prime

The real estate company in which the Mexican magnate, Carlos Slim (pictured above) holds a stake, is shaping Realia once again. The company has set itself the objective of gradually returning to the residential business, with around twenty developments. Realia is currently marketing 185 homes in three developments in Madrid, Palma de Mallorca and Barcelona.

At a meeting of its shareholders, Gerardo Kuri, CEO of Realia, said that the company’s priority over the last few months has been to clean-up and restructure its debt, according to Cinco Días. In fact, in one year, its liabilities have decreased from €1,145 million to €731 million, based on data as at May 2017.

“The most important event of last year was the financial restructuring that took place” – said Kuri – “the company had a major debt problem”. Slim has strengthened Realia’s financial lungs, with capital increases and a discount on the exchange of a loan for shares.

Moreover, last April, the company refinanced a loan amounting to €678 million.

“This year, there has been a major boost in the property developer business, with milestones, such as the debut on the stock exchange of Neinor” – explained the Director. “We are evaluating new projects and starting to construct homes because we want to have a significant real estate business”. Realia, which has traded on the stock market since 2007, is controlled by Slim through Inversora Carso (33.8% of the share capital) and FCC (36.9%).

Original story: Eje Prime

Translation: Carmel Drake

British Groups Invest Heavily In Spain’s RE Sector

9 May 2017 – Expansión

The Grosvenor group is embarking on its first residential project in Spain, developing luxury homes in Madrid. It is following in the footsteps of other compatriot companies such as Intu, Taylor Wimpey and Benson Elliot.

One of the latest real estate companies to show its commitment to Spain has a history that spans 340 years. The firm in question is Grosvenor, the centuries-old British firm, which closed its first investment in the Spanish residential sector about two months ago.

The project chosen by Grosvenor for its arrival in Spain is a luxury residential development on the Golden Mile of Madrid. To this end, Grosvenor, through its subsidiary Grosvenor Europe, completed the purchase of a plot of land measuring around 820 m2, located at number 53 on Calle Jorge Juan, for the development of six exclusive apartments and one penthouse with views over the Retiro Park. (…).

Grosvenor’s operation on Jorge Juan forms part of a joint venture signed by the Asian firm Amcorp in July 2016, whereby it undertook to invest €70 million during the first phase. “We hope to build a significant real estate portfolio in Spain during 2017”, said sources at the British group, which was founded in 1677 by Sir Thomas Grosvenor, and which is nowadays one of the largest landowners in the United Kingdom.

In light of this commitment to Spain, Grosvenor, which has four divisions through which it operates in Europe, Asia, America and the United Kingdom, has strengthened its office in Madrid, led by Fátima Sáez del Cano, by hiring Miguel Silmi, who formerly served in interim roles at firms such as Altamira, owned by Banco Santander. (…).

Investment

Grosvenor’s commitment to Spain is not a unique case amongst the large British groups. “Investors from the United Kingdom have always liked the Spanish real estate market and they have invested throughout the economic cycle. For example, Heron International, which is known today for the shopping centres that it built in Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia, used to hold a significant portfolio of office buildings in Madrid, in the 1990s”, said Javier García-Mateo, Partner in Financial Advisory at Deloitte. (…).

Meanwhile, Benson Elliot has been present since 2011. That fund has just closed the purchase of the Hotel Silken Diagonal, together with the joint venture between Walton Street and Highgate. Previously, BE had purchased two other assets in Barcelona, which it has now sold. “Another British firm, London Regional, has purchased hotels and offices in Spain and has also taken advantage of the cycle to sell them at a profit”, said Rafael Bou, Partner in Real Estate at PwC.

“Having invested more than €2,147 million since 2011, British funds are the second most significant international investor in the Spanish real estate market, after the United States (…)”, according to Savills. During the first quarter of 2017, British firms have already made real estate purchases amounting to €550 million, according to Deloitte.

One example of this commitment is the return of British Land to Spain, which last year purchased the Nueva Condomina shopping centre in Murcia, and the more than €120 million that has been invested by the UK & European Investment group in operations in Madrid, Barcelona and Marbella. (…).

In addition to real estate companies and investment funds, some of the large British insurance companies are also placing their focus on the Spanish real estate sector, such as the case of Prudential and Aviva, which just closed the purchase of the Tormes shopping centre in Salamanca.

Original story: Expansión (by Rocío Ruiz)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Deutsche Bank Buys Diagonal Mar For €495M

2 August 2016 – Expansión

Yesterday, Deutsche Bank completed the purchase of the Diagonal Mar shopping centre from Northwood for around €495 million, making it the largest shopping centre transaction in the history of the Spanish market.

In this way, although the final price has been adjusted downwards with respect to the non-binding offer presented by the entity (which valued the asset at €505 million), it still exceeds the €451 million that Intu Properties paid for Puerto Venecia (Zaragoza) and the €375 million that Klépierre spent on the acquisition of Plenilunio (Madrid).

The operation also generates significant capital gains for Northwood, which acquired the property from the Irish bad bank Nama for €150 million in 2015. CBRE has advised this operation on the sell-side, whilst Deloitte advised the buy-side.

Background

The shopping centre, located in district 22@ in Barcelona, has passed through many hands since the real estate company Hines was awarded the mixed use project at the end of the 1990s. The project included a residential area, offices, hotels and a large shopping centre, with a constructed surface area of 100,500 sqm and a gross leasable area (GLA) of 87,000 sqm, as well as 5,000 parking spaces.

In 2002, the German investment fund Deka paid around €240 million for the property, which, was subsequently sold, in 2006, to the Irish investment group Quinlan for €300 million, in its first operation in Spain. Nevertheless, following the burst of the Irish bubble, the asset was taken over by the banks.

Three years after that operation and in a very different economic environment, the property has generated a lot of interest. Specifically, 18 candidates submitted non-binding offers for the property, including Axa, Invesco, Hines, Unibail, the Singapore sovereign fund GIC, Blackstone and the Socimi Merlin, which was the only Spanish company that submitted an offer, for less than €450 million. Only four candidates participated in the final phase: CBRE Global Investment, ECE, Henderson TH and Deutsche Bank.

In order to reposition the asset, Deutsche Bank plans to invest €30 million over four years in a project that includes restructuring the top floor of the shopping centre to create more space for high-end fashion brands (€15 million), refurbishing the other floors with a budget of around €8 million and renovating the centre’s exterior façade for almost €7 million.

With this renovation, the purchaser expects to strengthen Diagonal Mar’s competitive position and increase its gross operating profit (EBITDA) over five years from €20 million in 2015 to more than €26 million.

Impact

The shopping centre, opened in November 2001, was designed by Jean-Louis Solal and the architect Robert A.M. Stern. Diagonal Mar is located in a prime spot, approximately five kilometres north east of the city centre. With more than 200 outlets dedicated to fashion, restaurants, leisure, a bowling alley and other services, the centre has 4,800 parking spaces and an outdoor space: La Terrassa del Mar. Diagonal Mar received 16.7 million visitors last year, up by 2.3% and generated net sales – excluding Alcampo (which falls outside of the transaction perimeter) – of €210 million, up by 8.5%. (…).

Original story: Expansión (by Rebeca Arroyo)

Translation: Carmel Drake