Qatari Sovereign Fund Becomes Colonial’s Largest Shareholder

8 November 2018 – Europa Press

Colonial has approved a capital increase at an extraordinary shareholders’ meeting, whereby enabling the Qatari Sovereign Fund to become the Socimi’s largest shareholder since it will see its stake in the company double to 20%.

Qatar is becoming the largest shareholder of the second largest Socimi in Spain, a firm that owns office buildings in Madrid, Barcelona and Paris worth €11 billion, through an agreement reached with Colonial to exchange the shares of its French subsidiary Société Foncière Lyonnaise (SFL).

Specifically, Colonial is going to give Qatar the own shares that it issues during the capital increase and, in exchange, the fund is going to hand over the 22% stake that it holds in SFL.

In this way, Qatar will double its presence in Colonial from its current position of 10% to the aforementioned figure of 20% and will become its largest shareholder. Meanwhile, the real estate firm will increase the controlling stake that it holds in SFL from 59% to 80.74%.

It is an operation worth €718 million, which Colonial is framing in the context of simplifying the group’s shareholder structure and of strengthening its position in SFL and in France, a company and market that it considers to be “strategic”.

The real estate company is tackling this transaction after completing the merger of the Socimi Axiare and at a time when it is immersed in a full growth strategy through investments in purchases and the new build developments.

In the case of Qatar, it is strengthening its position as the largest shareholder of the second largest listed real estate firm in the country, in line with the commitment that many large international funds are making to the Spanish real estate sector. Moreover, it will retain an indirect stake in SFL.

No changes on the board

These shareholder exchanges will not have any impact on the Board of Directors of Colonial, given that the Qatari fund will retain the two seats that it has had on the management board for a while, when it had a larger stake, according to a statement made by the President of the Socimi, Juan José Brugera, after the meeting.

Brugera said that the operation was approved unanimously by all of the shareholders, whereby ruling out any bad feeling on the part of Colonial’s largest shareholder until now, the Mexican group Finaccess, not only for losing its status (as the largest shareholder), but also for seeing its stake diluted from 18% to 16% as a result of the capital increase.

Original story: Europa Press

Translation: Carmel Drake

Colonial Pays Its First Dividend In 10 Years

5 July 2016 – Expansión

Colonial will distribute a gross dividend of €0.015 per share to its shareholders today.

Colonial is making dividend distributions again, ten years after it suspended such payments to its shareholders. The real estate company is rewarding its shareholders now that it has completed its recent restructuring and after closing 2015 with a profit of €415 million and a record number of lease contracts.

Colonial will thereby become the first real estate company of those that have managed to overcome the crisis to start paying dividends again, after it also became the first to achieve an investment grade rating from a ratings agency in 2015.

As such, with the recovery of payments to its shareholders, the company has definitively completed the process to clean up, restructure and return to growth that it embarked upon a few years ago and which involved the entry of new shareholders into its capital.

Currently, Colonial’s two largest shareholders are the Qatari sovereign fund, with a 13% stake and the Grupo Villar Mir, with a 9.2% stake, which will thereby receive €6.23 million and €4.43 million in dividends, respectively.

The company’s new third largest shareholder, the Mexican group Finaccess, will receive €4.3 million for the 8% stake that it just purchased in the company in exchange for a batch of assets.

The other high profile shareholders of the real estate company include the Andorran bank MoraBanc, which holds 7%, the Colombian group Santo Domingo (6.8%), the British billionaire Joseph Charles Lewis (5%), the Reig group with a 2.5% stake and several investment funds, which hold between 1.9% and 3% each.

Following the capital increase, which saw the entry of two new shareholders (Finaccess and Reig), and the dividend payment, Colonial is now waiting to carry out another item on the agenda approved at the last General Shareholders’ Meeting: a “reverse share split” of ten shares for one.

The company chaired by Juan José Brugera defines all of these operations within the growth strategy that it is currently undertaking, which has involved expanding the business focus, beyond its three traditional markets (Madrid, Barcelona and Paris) to analyse operations in other European capitals.

Original story: Expansión

Translation: Carmel Drake

Qatari Sovereign Fund To Double Its Stake In Colonial

2 March 2016 – Expansión

Under the agreement between Colonial and the Qatari sovereign fund, the Spanish real estate company will take ownership of the majority of the 22.2% stake that Qatar Investment holds in its French subsidiary SFL (Société Foncière Lyonnaise) and in exchange the Qatari fund will increase its stake in Colonial, as much as possible (without exceeding the 30% threshold), from its current shareholding of 13%, to become the largest shareholder.

As a result of this operation, Colonial will increase its market capitalisation from €1,993 million to around €2,500 million and will grow in size as a boost to its bid to compete against the large European real estate groups. Its share price rose by 4.17% on the stock exchange yesterday to €0.625.

Sources close to the company said yesterday that the main aim of this move by the group led by Juan José Brugera (pictured above) is to increase its volume. (…).

Meanwhile, the aim of Qatar Investment is also clear: the sovereign fund is looking for liquidity in its European investments so that it can sell whenever it needs to. Its 22% stake in SFL (held through Qatar Holding and Dic Holding) is much more difficult to transfer than the stake that it will hold in Colonial, given that only 6.3% of the French company’s shares are free float compared with 59% of Colonial’s. (…).

The share exchange agreed between Colonial and the Qatari sovereign fund now depends on approval from the real estate company’s shareholders and also on the French tax authorities looking favourably on Colonial controlling between 70% and 75% of SFL (which will vary depending on the stake that Qatar ends up acquiring in Colonial, without exceeding the 30% threshold). The French company operates under a SIIC structure, equivalent to the Spanish Socimi, and it is critical that it continues to do so.

As a result of this operation, Qatar, which now holds a 13% stake, will become the largest shareholder in Colonial, a position held until now by Villar Mir, with his 14.5% stake. That group sold some of its shares in 2015 to finance the expansion of OHL. The businessman and the other shareholders will see their shareholdings diluted.

Original story: Expansión (by Marisa Anglés)

Translation: Carmel Drake