Merlin Enters the Top 10 Ranking of the Largest Logistics Owners in Europe

19 June 2019 – Cinco Días

Merlin Properties has been a major player in the European office and shopping centre markets for several years. But now, the Socimi led by Ismael Clemente has entered the Top 10 ranking of the largest logistics owners on the Continent, with its portfolio of 1.6 million m2 under management, according to a report about the logistics market compiled by Deloitte.

The Top 10 ranking is led by the listed US firm Prologis (17 million m2); Logicor, the firm controlled by China Investment Corporation and Blackstone, (13.5 million m2); and the fund manager CBRE GI (7.7 million m2). They are followed by the logistics specialists Segro, P3 Logistics Parks and Goodman.

Merlin owns 1.1 million m2 of logistics space outright and holds a 48% stake in a company that owns another 469,000 m2 of logistics space in the port of Barcelona. It also has 1.254 million m2 of surface area under development.

Investment in logistics assets is currently breaking records across Europe and in Spain, in particular, boosted by attractive returns and the boom in e-commerce. With the rising demand, the availability of high-quality warehouses is decreasing, hence the need to build more. According to Deloitte, investment in warehouse purchases amounted to €1.5 billion last year, the second best year ever after 2017, when the figure reached €1.6 billion.

Merlin is planning to invest €484 million in its Best II and Best III logistics funds between now and 2022. Most will be targeted in Madrid and its surrounding areas (Guadalajara and Toledo) and Cataluña, but investment will also be made in Lisbon, Zaragoza, Sevilla and Vitoria.

Original story: Cinco Días (by Alfonso Simón Ruiz)

Translation/Summary: Carmel Drake

Ministry of Development: Ibiza was Spain’s 2nd Most Expensive City for Buying a Home in 2018

22 February 2019 – Eje Prime

Change is afoot in the ranking of Spain’s most expensive cities for housing, and Ibiza is rising fast. In 2018, the Balearic city was ranked as the second most expensive place in Spain to buy a home, with an average value per square metre of €3,537.40. In this way, in just one year, Ibiza has surpassed Barcelona, Sant Cugat del Vallès and Santa Eulalia del Río to be ranked in second position, just behind San Sebastián.

According to data from the Ministry of Development published yesterday, house prices in Ibiza rose by 20.4% in 2018, compared with an increase of 4.5% in the case of San Sebastián. Meanwhile, prices per square metre in Barcelona rose by 10.1% in 2018; by 8.8% in Sant Cugat; and by 7.3% in Santa Eulalia del Rio.

Madrid retained its position as the sixth most expensive city for buying a home in 2018 with a price per square metre of €3,103.80 and a YoY increase of 8.5%. It was followed by Pozuelo de Alarcón, which exceeded Majadahonda, Getxo and Calvià in 2018 with a price rise of 20.4%, the same as in Ibiza.

Only three municipalities of the twenty most expensive in Spain saw their prices decrease in 2018 (Getxo, Calvià and Leioa) with reductions of 1%, 4.6% and 0.1%, respectively. On the other hand, Avilés, Narón and Alcantarilla were the municipalities with more than 25,000 inhabitants where house prices decreased by the most in 2018, with drops of 11.6%, 8.9% and 8%, respectively.

Moreover, besides Ibiza, the Madrilenian municipality of Torrejón de Ardoz saw its prices rise by the most in 2018, also up by 20.4%. It was followed by rises of 19.8% in Ciutadella de Menorca, 19.6% in Esplugues de Llobregat and 18.9% in Leganés.

House prices in many other places also rose by a lot more than the national average, of 3.9%, including in Móstoles (18.5%), Cornellà de Lloregat and Palencia, with rises of 18.2%, and Martorell (17.4%).

Original story: Eje Prime (by C. de Angelis)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Aena Commissions Real Estate Plans for its Airports in Palma, Málaga, Valencia & Sevilla

7 December 2018 – Voz Pópuli

Aena’s real estate development of its two main assets, the Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas and Barcelona-El Prat airports, is going to continue at other major airports in the network where the company has land reserves. At least, that is the intention of the company chaired by Maurici Lucena (pictured below), who has commissioned research to analyse the options for generating returns from its land at the airports in Palma de Mallorca, Málaga, Valencia and Sevilla.

The airport manager, in which the State owns a 51% stake, is going to invest more than €2 million to engage an expert to analyse the options for the plots and, where appropriate, develop the real estate plans, which will follow in the footsteps of those already designed for Madrid and Barcelona, where the combined investment is going to exceed €4.6 billion (most of which is expected to be financed by the private sector).

The strategy involves devising an identical roadmap to the one followed for the plans at the two major infrastructures, namely: engage an external advisor to analyse the plots that Aena has in the area around the four airports and identify opportunities for the development of real estate activities that could be performed on them. Based on the results of the reports, the company will decide whether to go ahead with the operations, as well as on the definitive design of them.

Although the manoeuvre is still at an early phase, all indications are that, in theory, activities relating to logistics and air cargo are those that have the greatest potential for capturing a leading role in the future development of the four infrastructures.

Airports on the rise

Palma de Mallorca and Málaga-Costa del Sol are the two busiest airports with the greatest passenger numbers in the Aena network, aside from Madrid and Barcelona. The former has seen an increase of more than 17% in passenger numbers over the last two years and closed last year with a record of almost 28 million visitors, which could be pulverised in 2018, with a figure that may exceed 30 million.

Meanwhile, Málaga has experienced an increase of almost 30% in passenger numbers over the last two years and is also on track for a record year in 2018, which could close with around 20 million users.

Valencia and Sevilla are in the top 12 of the airport ranking in Spain by passenger numbers although, in their cases, the appeal of their land stems more from their proximity to the two most populous cities in the country outside of Madrid and Barcelona.

1,000 hectares still available

According to the figures presented by the company when the details of its strategic plan for 2018-2021 were published, Aena owns a potentially marketable surface area of around 2,000 hectares, of which 50% corresponds to the airports in Madrid and Barcelona (…).

Aena’s plans were launched during the company’s previous stage, under the presidency of Jaime García-Legaz. The current management team is not only continuing that strategy, but it also seems to be willing to bet decisively on it.

Indeed, the strategic plan emphasises the need for the company to diversify its revenue streams, both through the commercial operation of its airports and through real estate plans designed to generate returns from its land around Madrid-Barajas and Barcelona-El Prat (…).

Original story: Voz Pópuli (by Raúl Pozo)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Eurostat: House Prices Rose by 6.2% in Spain in 2017

11 July 2018 – Eje Prime

The acceleration of the housing market has placed Spain amongst the leading countries in Europe in terms of price rises. In fact, in just one year, the country has risen from 21st position, with an average increase of 4.6% in 2016, to 12th , with an average increase of 6.2% last year.

In 2016, Spain already exceeded the average rise for the European Union as a whole, which amounted to 4.6% at the time, but in 2017, it distanced itself further from the average, moving closer to the group of countries with the highest rises in prices: whilst in Spain, the increase amounted to 6.2% in 2017, the average rise for the European Union as a whole was 4.4%.

Spain outperformed Austria, where prices rose by 8.5% in 2016 (in 2017, they only increased by 5.3%); Norway, which went from an increase of 7.9% in 2016 to 5.4% in 2017; and the United Kingdom, where house prices increased by 7% in 2016 and by 4.5% in 2017.

Iceland, the Czech Republic and Ireland were, in that order, the three markets where house prices rose by the most in 2017, with rises of 19.5%, 11.7% and 10.9%, respectively. Iceland was the only country to feature in the top 3 in both years; in 2016, it was joined by Hungary and Sweden.

Several countries from Eastern Europe, such as Lithuania, Latvia, Bulgaria, Slovenia and Hungary (with high volatilities in terms of the evolution of house prices) were amongst the most inflationary in terms of house prices in 2017, together with countries in Western Europe, such as Portugal, where prices rose by 9.2%; the Netherlands (7.5%) and Sweden (6.4%).

At the opposite end of the spectrum, the only European country where house prices decreased in 2017 was Italy, with a reduction of -0.8%. It was accompanied by moderate price increases in Finland (1.6%), Cyprus (2.2%), France (3.6%) and Croatia and Poland (both 3.8%).

The figures from Eurostat, the European Union’s statistics office, include purchase prices of new and second-hand homes. According to the EU entity, these prices “have fluctuated significantly since 2006”. “The annual growth rate in the European Union as a whole was close to 8% in 2006 and 2007, followed by decreases of 4% as a result of the financial crisis”, it continued.

Prices started to increase in 2014, with an average cumulative rise across the whole of the European Union of 11% between 2010 and 2017, and of 6% in the Eurozone during the same period, according to Eurostat. In the case of Spain, despite the increases in recent years, the country has registered a cumulative decrease of 17% since the start of the century.

Original story: Eje Prime (by Christian de Angelis)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Ardian Places Indigo Sale On Hold after Raising €700M in Debt

4 May 2018 – Expansión

Ardian and its partner Predica (Credit Agricole) have decided to put on hold the sale of their parking lot subsidiary Indigo, one of the giants in the European sector with significant interests in Spain. The shareholders, which have been looking at various options for their investment over the last year, have opted to re-leverage the company in the end, with a €700 million bond issue, which will be used to refinance some of the debt that expires in 2020, and also, to distribute an extraordinary dividend to shareholders.

With this move, the possible sale of the former VinciPark has been put on hold, after Ardian went off the idea of divestment in 2017 when it did not obtain satisfactory offers for the asset. According to sources close to the operation, Indigo’s shareholders were left with three options: put the “for sale” sign back up; re-leverage the company and distribute an extraordinary dividend to the shareholders; or encourage a merger agreement with other parking lot groups.

Until a few weeks ago, all three options were on the table. One of the possibilities involved exploring an alliance with the Spanish firm Saba. The parking lot group controlled by Criteria (La Caixa) is also undergoing a process of transformation after the decision was taken by its minority shareholders, which together hold a 49% stake, to exit the company. That round of contact did not prosper and Indigo decided to begin the procedure to launch a macro debt issue, which took place on 12 April.

Sources in the sector believe that a merger between Saba and Indigo would have business logic given the minimal overlap and their capacity to form a group with sufficient critical mass to explore a stock market listing. Trading on the stock market has always been the ultimate dream of Saba’s founding partners. By contrast, Ardian avoids investments in listed groups (…).

Indigo is, together with Qpark and Apcoa, the largest parking lot group in Europe. According to the latest available figures, the company recorded turnover of €897 million in 2017, with an EBITDA of €310 million. The company’s net financial debt amounts to €1.666 billion. Saba and Empark also feature in Europe’s Top 8 ranking of the largest parking lot groups, but their turnover figures are significantly lower than those of Indigo and QPark.

According to experts, another factor that would contribute to accelerating the corporate movements in the sector is the ownership structure. The giants in the sector are owned by investment funds and private equity firms with a relative dearth of long-term investors. QPark is controlled by KKR, whilst the German firm Apcoa is owned by Centerbridge. Ardian controls Indigo and Macquarie is the new owner of Empark. Saba is the only company with an industrial shareholder – Criteria – and a long-term interest (…).

Although not its largest market, Indigo conducts significant business in Spain. Revenues amounted to €41 million in 2017, with an EBITDA of almost €20 million. It is Indigo’s third largest market in Europe, after France and the United Kingdom. The outlook for Spain is positive. According to the consultancy firm DBK, revenues from the rental of parking spaces (…) in Spain and Portugal amounted to €1.145 billion in 2017, which represented an increase of 3.8% with respect to the previous year. In 2016, that figure grew by 4.5%.

Original story: Expansión (by C. Morán)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Spain No Longer Features in EU’s Top 10 Home Ownership Ranking

23 March 2018 – El País

77.8% of citizens resident in Spain own their own homes. In this way, the country was placed in 13th position in the ranking of European Union (EU) countries in terms of this parameter in 2016, one place below its position the previous year – after being overtaken by the Czech Republic – according to data from the European statistics institute Eurostat, and well outside of the Top 10. Compared to the European average (69.2%), the Spanish figures are still high, although each year, the percentage of homeowners is decreasing slightly to the benefit of the rental market. Ownership fever dominates in Eastern Europe, in particular, where the percentage exceeds 90% in many countries.

In 2007, the first year for which Eurostat compiled data for Spain, the country was ranked in 9th place in terms of the number of citizens owning their own home, with a percentage of 80.6%. Thus, between then and 2016, the rate has been decreasing slightly at the same time as the rates in other countries have been increasing, relegating Spain to lower positions in the ranking.

“In Spain, home ownership is decreasing slightly each year due to the economic conditions and the difficulty in accessing a mortgage”, explains José García Montalvo, Professor at the Universidad Pompeu Fabra, who points out that nowadays you need to have a permanent (employment) contract to be granted a mortgage, whereas, in 2007, you could have been a temporary worker. García Montalvo also argues that society has changed and young people – who are finding it harder to access real estate loans due to their employment conditions – regard the purchase of a home as a “problem” (…).

The professor says that the price of rental homes is rising due to greater demand, and he does not think that the decrease in home ownership is a phenomenon that is going to reverse despite the rent increases. In 2017, the price of rental homes in Spain recorded its third annual rise. The average price grew by 8.9% in 2017, the highest ever increase in the historical series of the real estate portal Fotocasa’s index, which has been compiling data since January 2006.

Eastern European countries lead the home-ownership statistics

In 2016, Romania was the country where the highest percentage of citizens owned their own home, with 96%. It was followed by Lithuania, with 90.3%; Croatia and Macedonia, with 90%; Slovakia (89.5%); Hungary with 86.3%; Poland, with 83.4%; Bulgaria (82.3%); Estonia and Malta, with 81.4%; Latvia with 80.9% and the Czech Republic with 78.2%. “The countries where citizens are most committed to buying their own home are primarily those in Eastern Europe. This is partly a result of the fact that many of those regions were communist countries and that when the market was opened up, it was shared out and everyone got involved”, says García Montalvo.

By contrast, the data from Eurostat shows that the citizens of countries with more consolidated economies back the rental market to a greater extent over the acquisition of home. Thus, Germany leads this category with 51.7% of its citizens owning their own home, followed by Austria, with 55%; and Denmark with 62%. Nevertheless, none of these countries fall below 50%, although the percentages are decreasing every year, opting for a rental model. The EU average stands at 69.2%, more than 8 percentage points below the figure in Spain.

“Rental is favoured in countries where labour mobility is higher such as in Germany and Austria. In Spain, it would be great if that was the case to boost labour mobility because ownership ties people down a lot (…).

Original story: El País (by Nahiara S. Alonso)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Popular’s €10bn Portfolio Sale Was The Largest RE Operation in the World in 2017

26 March 2018 – Cinco Días

Spain was the setting for the largest real estate operation in the world in 2017. The stars were Santander, as the vendor, and Blackstone, as the buyer. The object of desire was the property portfolio that took down Popular. The price: no less than a valuation of €10 billion.

The purchase of Popular’s property portfolio (containing real estate assets and loans with real estate collateral) led last year’s ranking of the largest operations in the sector involving a single asset or portfolio, compiled by Real Capital Analytics (RCA). Of the largest transactions, those undertaken in China stand out in particular, as well as a handful of deals completed in the United Kingdom. The classification excludes operations involving the purchase of companies.

The operation to sell Popular’s portfolio, announced in August, after Santander took control of the entity in June, was structured into a company worth €10 billion, in which Blackstone controls 51% and the rest remained in the hands of the bank chaired by Ana Botín.

Following that purchase, as well as others, such as Catalunya Caixa’s portfolio, Blackstone is now one of the largest owners of real estate assets in Spain. Another major operation of this nature was closed a few months later when Cerberus purchased 80% of BBVA’s real estate portfolio worth €5.5 billion (…).

In total, around the world, last year, deals worth USD 143.2 billion were closed, which represented an increase of 14% compared to the previous year.

China starred in the majority of the largest operations last year. China Vanke acquired an enormous land portfolio for real estate developments in Cantón for €7.1 billion, which constituted the second largest transaction of 2017. The next largest sale in the Asian country was the purchase of part of an office and retail development in Shenzhen by the company Kingboard, which is headquartered in Hong Kong (…).

In Europe and the USA, the focus was on alternative investments, such as student halls of residence, hospitals and logistics warehouses.

In fact, the third largest transaction in the world last year involved an alternative investment. Specifically, the sale of a stake in a portfolio of hospitals and 200 nursing homes in the USA and UK, which was purchased by the Chinese insurance company Taikang Insurance Group.

In Europe, in addition to Popular’s portfolio, the next largest deal saw the sale of the Bluewater shopping centre in the United Kingdom, worth €2.1 billion, in which Royal London Mutual Assurance acquired a stake.

In terms of office buildings, the sale of the Leadenhall Building in London, popularly known as the “cheese grater”, also stood out; it was acquired by the investment group CC Land, from Hong Kong, for more than €1.3 billion.

Typically, the large buyers include the largest investment managers, such as Blackstone, Brookfield, Deka, THI, Axa, Invesco and Morgan Stanley, whose clients tend to include sovereign funds from Norway and Abu Dhabi, as well as universities (for example, the Harvard investment fund) and workers’ unions or pension funds (German doctors, public sector workers from Korea and Ontario…).

In terms of 2018, for example in Europe, Borja Sierra, Executive Vice-President of Savills Aguirre Newman, believes that the clearest trend will be investment in the residential rental sector as a form of institutionalised real estate investment. “With the scenario of rising interest rates and measures from Trump that favour the renewal of infrastructure in the USA, I think that we will see a migration towards infrastructure funds, a move that will somewhat reduce investment pressure on the real estate sector. Nevertheless, the year has started with volumes that exceed those recorded in 2017, and so we expect a good year”.

Original story: Cinco Días (by Alfonso Simón Ruiz)

Translation: Carmel Drake

The Coordenadas Institute Ranks Spain’s Top 20 Property Developers

24 July 2017 – El Confidencial

The awakening of the residential sector in Spain has brought with it a large number of property developers, who are promising to construct thousands of homes over the next three years. The problem is in the detail, understanding who is going to promote each one of those homes.

That analysis is what the Coordenadas Institute of Governance and Applied Economics, an independent study centre, has just developed. It has identified the Top 20 largest companies in the country, ranked according to the number of homes that they are planning to construct between now and 2020.

At the top of the list is Metrovacesa, the property developer controlled by Santander, BBVA and Banco Popular, which is planning to bring 12,600 homes onto the market over the next three years and which, together with Neinor, Aedas, Vía Célere, Corp and Pryconsa are the only ones that already own all of the land they need to build these homes.

Moreover, the company led by Jorge Pérez de Leza and controlled by three Spanish entities, breaks the leadership ranks of the large international funds, which are behind the bulk of the companies that comprise this Top 20 and are already negotiating with local companies to tackle the purchase of land to allow them to achieve the current housing forecasts.

In order to complete the 80,000 homes that these companies plan to develop together, the Coordenadas Institute has taken into account both developments in progress, as well as those that may be developed on the available land and forecast new land purchases, which have been extracted from various sectoral sources.

Neinor Homes (Lone Star), with 10,250 homes; Aedas Homes (Castlelake), with 9,850; Vía Célere (Värde), with 6,200; and Aelca (Värde) with 5,750 homes, complete the first five positions in the ranking which contains just two companies linked to the large listed construction groups: Acciona Inmobiliaria, with 4,500 homes; and Realia (FCC) with 1,650.

Another company with a differential sign is the Catalan firm Corp, since it is the only member of the ranking that does not have a national presence, rather it focuses all of its efforts on its own autonomous region, where it plans to construct 3,000 homes.

Some of the main innovations in this new property developer sector, besides the hegemony of the large funds, are: the family structure of the bulk of the domestic property developers (Amenábar, Quabit, Pryconsa, Lar, Ibosa…); the greater demands on the banks to grant mortgage financing to local investors, with requirements such as having pre-sales of more than 50%; and the focus on the client.

“It is clear that the Spanish property development sector has learned some important lessons from the crisis and now operates with completely different criteria. A key factor is the focus on the client, which for the first time in a long time has become an essential piece of the real estate business. Property developers that know how to connect with what the client needs are going to be assured survival in the market; those who don’t know, will disappear”, said Jesús Sánchez Lambás, Executive Vice-President of the Coordenadas Institute.

Of those that survive, many will do so by making the leap onto the stock market, where Neinor and Quabit are already listed; they will soon be joined by Aedas, Vía Célere and Metrovacesa. Nevertheless, many more will follow in their footsteps, given that the institute forecasts that between eight and ten companies will be listed on the stock market within the short term.

Original story: El Confidencial (by Ruth Ugalde)

Translation: Carmel Drake

CBRE: Madrid Is EMEA’s 3rd Most Attractive City For RE Investors

30 March 2017 – Mis Oficinas

Madrid is the third most attractive city in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (the EMEA region) for real estate investment. At least that is according to the “Global Investors Intentions 2017” report compiled by CBRE, the leading real estate consultancy and services company in the world, based on a survey of 2,000 international investors.

According to the study, London leads the ranking of the most attractive cities for real estate investment, after it was chosen by 17% of investors. It was followed by Berlin (15.8%) and Madrid (8.4%). Amsterdam and Paris complete the top five (…). For the first time in 2017, cities such as Hamburg and Milan did not appear in the top ten, due to growing concerns from investors about (high) asset prices in some of Europe’s most established markets, following years of increases.

“Madrid is a very attractive city for international investors for a variety of reasons. Prices here are still below those of other markets, and in recent years, some very interesting renovation and development projects have been launched. Similarly, rental income is forecast to rise. These factors caused investment in the Spanish capital to exceed €4,000 million in 2016”, said Paloma Relinque, National Director of Capital Markets at CBRE Spain.

Meanwhile, Spain is ranked sixth in the list of the most attractive countries to invest in, whereby maintaining its top-10 position, against competition from all of the countries in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. In this sense, Germany is the market of choice for 22% of those surveyed as an investment market in 2017. It is followed by the United Kingdom (20%), Eastern Europe (10%), Scandinavia (10%) and The Netherlands (9%).

In terms of the sectors that these investors plan to invest in, the office market was mentioned the most, by 34.7% of investors. It was followed by the industrial-logistics sector, chosen by 25.9% of respondents. Nevertheless, one of the most interesting conclusions was the growing appetite for alternative assets, in which 7 out of every 10 real estate investors are now investing. Specifically, real estate debt is the segment that is sparking the most interest amongst investors (31%), followed by leisure and entertainment (27%) – which is the segment that grew by the most in comparison to the previous year – and student halls of residence (25%).

On the other hand, the report described investors’ main concerns for 2017. The most frequently mentioned concern was the risk that interest rates rise more quickly than expected, a fear cited by a quarter of the investors surveyed. It is noteworthy that, despite the numerous elections on the horizon in Europe and their possible implications for the sector, investors place greater importance on the economic climate than on geopolitical matters. The third concern is the fact that prices are forecast to increase and the risk of a possible bubble. (…).

Original story: Mis Oficinas

Translation: Carmel Drake

In Tempo: Bankruptcy Administrator Rules In Favour Of Sareb

17 January 2017 – El Mundo

The bankruptcy administrator of Olga Urbana, the property developer of the In Tempo skyscraper in Benidorm, whose future is being decided by the courts, is clear in its findings: neither Abanca (previously Caixa Galicia) nor Sareb (the bad bank) were administrators of the bankrupt company and therefore, neither of them were responsible for the management that led the company to suspend its payments after it accumulated debt amounting to €137 million.

In this way, the position of the bankruptcy administrator, Antonia Magdaleno, who has presented her conclusions about the In Tempo case before the Mercantile Court of Alicante, which is instructing the process, represents a lifeline for the interests of Olga Urbana’s major creditors, above all for Sareb, which is hoping to repossess the property and subsequently sell it to recover some of its debt, which amounts to around €107 million.

Magdaleno considers…that Sareb’s debt should be ranked as special privilege, which would place it at the front of the queue when it comes to receiving proceeds once the building is sold. By contrast, the small creditors, who initiated this bankruptcy proceeding, maintain that Abanca and Sareb did act as administrators of In Tempo’s developer, and therefore that their loans should be considered as subordinated, which would force them to the back of the queue when it comes to receiving any proceeds, whereby allowing the other creditors to recover their loans first.

Magdaleno reminded the Court that construction of In Tempo, the tallest residential skyscraper in Spain, was suspended in 2010 by which point Olga Urbana had used up the entire loan – amounting to €90 million – granted to it by Abanca, something which the small creditors deny. This group of creditors (the construction company Kono, Isidro Bononat – a shareholder of Olga Urbana – and the architect Roberto Pérez Guerras) say that Magdaleno’s investigations have not been independent. (…).

Sareb, which took over the loan that Abanca had previously granted to Olga Urbana, maintains its claim against the Attorney General’s office in which it accuses Olga Urbana of “alleged diversion of funds and company links between owners and administrators of the company and some of their own contractors and suppliers”. The entity calculates that €23 million was diverted.

Similarly, the bankruptcy administrator argues that the fact that Sareb requested the necessary bankruptcy of Olga Urbana “does not represent another example of the bad bank’s involvement in the administration of the business, but rather represents a standard option open to all creditors when a Board of Directors is not fulfilling its duties”. Magdaleno is categorical in this respect. “There is no proof whatsoever that allows us to conclude that first Abanca and subsequently Sareb, carried out any functions akin to those of a real company administrator”. The judge will have the final word.

Original story: El Mundo (by F.D.G.)

Translation: Carmel Drake