Navarra’s Regional Gov’t Invests €15M in the Purchase of Industrial Land

23 May 2019 – El Español

The Regional Government of Navarra is going to invest €15.2 million in various industrial estates across the autonomous region, through the public company Nasuvinsa, with the aim of “supporting several companies that need to develop land to expand their production capacity”.

The action plan will involve the development and marketing of 309,123 m2 of industrial land in seven areas, specifically, in the Pamplona region as well as in the towns of Arakil, Arguedas, Cascante (or Monteagudo), Lodosa and Lumbier. It will also see the construction of an industrial warehouse in the Sakana area for its subsequent rental.

Industrial reactivation

The Navarran Government is going to develop the land and infrastructure necessary for all seven projects through Nasuvinsa, with a cash injection that will not only encourage the economic reactivation of the areas and the creation of employment, but which will also represent a return to making public investments economically viable.

Original story: El Español 

Translation/Summary: Carmel Drake

WeWork to Launch its ‘Custom Buildout’ Business in Spain

28 March 2019 – Idealista

The US co-working company WeWork is studying the rental of entire buildings in Spain to dedicate to its custom buildout business. The service offers large corporations assets fitted out and managed by the brand. The company is already looking at potential properties in Barcelona.

WeWork now has ten co-working office spaces in Madrid and Barcelona (5 in each city), but its plan is to offer large corporations a new service that would house their headquarters and manage all of their needs, leveraging the firm’s know-how in the office management segment.

According to its business model, WeWork speaks to its clients first to understand their needs and desires. It then searches for the best offers, assumes the risks of a long-term contract and the capital investment, and manages the property for the company on an on-going basis, offering services such as fresh fruit, water and security, as well as events for employees.

In this way, the firm would start to compete directly with stalwarts of the sector such as CBRE, JLL, Savills Aguirre Newman and Cushman&Wakefield.

WeWork already offers this service to several corporates around the world, including Starbucks, Facebook, Adidas, Salesforce, Blackrock and Citi, amongst others.

Original story: Idealista (by Custodio Pareja)

Translation/Summary: Carmel Drake

El Cabanyal Monopolises Foreign Investors’ Purchases in Valencia

28 March 2019 – Valencia Plaza

According to a report published by the German real estate firm Engel & Völkers, the neighbourhood of El Cabanyal was where the most operations were closed by foreign investors in Valencia last year.

The price per square metre in the neighbourhood soared as a result and now amounts to around €3,000/m2-€3,100/m2. In many cases, the purchased properties have been renovated for rental by tourists, given that the  VUT limitations imposed on other areas of the city do not apply in El Cabanyal.

Original story: Valencia Plaza (by Estefanía Pastor)

Translation/Summary: Carmel Drake

Hines Negotiates Rental of its Jewel on Paseo de Gracia with Nike & Victoria’s Secret

25 March 2019 – Eje Prime

The US firm Hines is holding negotiations with Nike and Victora’s Secret to lease the retail premise in the former headquarters of Banco Popular.

The investment fund acquired the property at number 17 Paseo de Gracia for €90 million in March 2017, and, after completing a €10 million renovation project last year, is going to lease the building’s office space to the coworking group WeWork.

The two retail brands are competing to occupy the prime store, which has a surface area of more than 2,000 m2 and which is being marketed by CBRE.

Hines’s portfolio in Spain comprises fifteen assets, of which ten are located in Barcelona and the rest in Madrid.

Original story: Eje Prime (by I.P. Gestal & P. Riaño)

Translation/Summary: Carmel Drake

Cerberus Starts to Value the 160,000 Assets it has Acquired in Spain Ahead of their Sale

19 February 2019 – Voz Pópuli

Last year, the giant Cerberus strengthened its team with the appointment of the former JLL director Maurice Kelly as its Vice-president of Real Estate in Spain. The professional has become a key person for the fund, given that he is now responsible for meeting with the real estate consultancies regarding the valuation of the 160,000 assets that the investment giant has acquired in recent years in Spain, according to financial sources consulted by Vozpópuli.

Its haul also includes assets acquired in the Apple Portfolio from Santander, a sale that was negotiated in 2018 and which is expected to close between February and March. Moreover, that figure could increase during the coming months due to the great activity that there is in the market at the moment.

The fund wants to generate value from everything that it has purchased from the banks through large portfolios and has now spotted a window to put its acquisitions on the market from April onwards and over the next two or three years. Similarly, the fund is constantly rotating the assets that it acquires and assessing everything that it purchases for its subsequent placement on the market.

New portfolios

The first sale strategy involves the placement of new portfolios, of medium sizes, ranging between €100 million and €200 million, and will be distributed amongst medium-sized funds, above all those from the UK, Ireland and the Netherlands (…).

Another way to sell is through operations involving “unique assets”. In other words, buildings that have added valued and that may be of interest to a private investor or family office. The price of those would be over €50 million.

Finally, the most typical approach will see it sell portfolios of homes, in groups of more or less 500 units, for between €10 million and €20 million apiece.

The valuation of those 160,000 assets is included within the Cerberus European Servicing division and the placement of them is not going to be easy, given that “the fund has purchased a lot” and has “things” that even it does not know about. “It has picked up a lot of parking spaces and assets of that kind that are going to be very difficult for it to place”, warned the sources.

A taste for Spain

Cerberus has invested more than €10 billion in Spain in total and now wants to operate new lines of business such as rental and logistics. It is also planning to multiply its property development activity three-fold by purchasing more land and following its acquisition of Inmoglaciar (…).

Cerberus entered the Spanish market at the height of the financial crisis (between 2010 and 2012) with the aim of taking over banks and real estate firms, like it did in other countries. The former did not work out well following several attempts with former savings banks. But its conquest of property has proved a lot more successful.

Its next acquisition could be the property developer Solvia Desarrollo Inmobiliario (SDIN) from Banco Sabadell, which has put land worth more than €1 billion up for sale. The bid for those assets has already started and financial sources say that the fund has expressed interest in them.

Original story: Voz Pópuli (by David Cabrera)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Forcadell: 370,000 m2 of Office Space was Leased in Barcelona in 2018

13 February 2019 – Eje Prime

The office market in Barcelona is breaking records. In 2018, 370,000 m2 of space was leased in the city, up by 8.8% compared to 2017. According to the consultancy firm Forcadell, that trend was due to three main factors: interest from international companies, demand from tech companies and the boom in coworking.

Up to 60% of the surface area leased in 2018 corresponded to companies from overseas. According to the report from the consultancy firm, the interest from those companies in Barcelona is attributed to the city’s “entrepreneurial and innovation eco-system”, which is complemented by a commitment to technology, which has attracted companies such as Everis, Oracle and Indra.

In just one year, coworking operators have doubled the amount of space leased in Barcelona, renting out a surface area of 46,700 m2 in 2018. According to this report, the Catalan capital is the European city that has seen its office space increase by the most in percentage terms.

Original story: Eje Prime 

Translation: Carmel Drake

Approval Granted for Socimi Arrienda Rental’s Debut on the MAB

21 December 2018 – La Vanguardia

The Coordination and Incorporations Committee of the Alternative Investment Market (MAB) has issued a favourable report ahead of the stock market debut of Arrienda Rental Properties Socimi, with a reference value of €2.74 per share, after the company was valued at €56.4 million.

The MAB has reported that the stock trading code for Arrienda Rental will be YARP and that it will be governed by the fixing system, with prices being fixed twice in each session, at 12 noon and 16h.

Arrienda Rental is a real estate company that has adopted the Socimi framework and which is dedicated to the acquisition and development of urban properties for their rental.

The Socimi owns 239 assets, all of which are located in the Community of Madrid: 2 hotels (Clement Barajas and Täch), 3 plots of land, 4 offices, 18 retail premises, 40 homes and 172 garages.

Before its stock market debut, the Socimi had 51 shareholders, including Francisco García Rubio, who owns 21% of the capital.

Arrienda Rental has 4 managing directors who are also owners, namely: José García Sánchez, Luis Miguel Gutiérrez Abella, Víctor García Rodríguez and Juan Francisco García Muñoz.

Arrienda’s valuation has been performed by the appraisal company Gesvalt.

Original story: La Vanguardia

Translation: Carmel Drake

Pierre & Vacances to Increase Revenues in Spain by 50% in 3 Years

28 November 2018 – Expansión

Pierre & Vacances, the vacation apartment, hotel and resort chain, wants to strengthen its presence in Spain with a growth plan over three years, which will allow it to achieve 80 establishments in Spain and Portugal and increase is turnover in the region by more than 50% to around €100 million by the end of 2021, compared to its forecast revenues of €65 million for 2018 and €85 million for 2019.

The French company, which has added six new establishments to its portfolio this year, will add another three properties next year, taking the total to 59 complexes and 5,000 apartments by the end of 2019.

Its plans for 2021 include having 80 tourist complexes in Spain and Portugal, containing between 6,000 and 6,500 units, according to Ghislain d’Auvigny, Director General of Pierre & Vacances in Spain, talking to Expansión.

One of the most recent openings includes Madrid, where the company has just incorporated apartments in the Eurobuilding 2, a building with 123 apartments at number 69 Calle Orense. This represents Pierre & Vacances’s debut in the Spanish capital and it joins other urban complexes that the company already has in Sevilla and Barcelona.

Pierre & Vacances, which arrived in Spain in 2005, employs around 1,200 workers in the country during the high season. “We will continue to take advantage of opportunities and to reach agreements with owners for the management, rental and marketing of complexes”, said D’Auvigny.

In parallel, the company is going to take advantage of purchase opportunities if it finds the appropriate assets, although it will subsequently sell them to third parties, be they funds or individuals, to maintain its policy of not owning any assets itself.

Original story: Expansión (by Rebeca Arroyo)

Translation: Carmel Drake

BBVA Repurchases 166 Bank Branches for €250M

17 November 2018 – Expansión

An unexpected decision from BBVA. The entity, which has made digital transformation the cornerstone of its strategy in recent years, has just repurchased 166 bank branches from Merlin Properties. According to comments made by the Socimi yesterday, the bank, which had been occupying these branches on a rental basis, is going to disburse €252 million to acquire the batch of offices.

The intention of the bank is to gain flexibility for the daily management of the 2,870 branches that it operates throughout Spain, according to sources at BBVA. Since 2007, the entity chaired by Francisco González has embarked on a policy to divest its main assets, such as its former headquarters in Madrid on Paseo de la Castellana, and other iconic buildings in the capital. Between 2009 and 2010, the entity sold more than 1,000 branches to investment funds.

As one of the conditions of those operations, BBVA committed to remain as the tenant of the branches for between 20 and 30 years, with the possibility of extending those rental terms and ultimately repurchasing the properties.

Economic sense

“Some of the branches that have been repurchased are closed and even so, we have still been paying the rent”, explain sources at the bank. That was one of the reasons that caused BBVA to take a different step in its strategy.

In the sector, experts believe that BBVA’s new course of action with the repurchase of branches may respond to a double objective: to reduce recurring costs due to the payment of rent and to take advantage of the upward cycle in the real estate sector with the subsequent ale of these premises. In fact, the bank has just closed the operation to transfer around €13 billion in foreclosed assets to a new company.

The fund Cerberus controls 80% of that joint venture, of which BBVA will retain the remaining 20% in order to obtain possible gains. With the ownership of the branches, the bank could also save time to expand or reduce the size of those premises, according to sources at BBVA.

The Socimi is still the owner of almost 700 BBVA branches. The entity rules out returning to repurchase a new batch from that portfolio, at least in the short term. The bulk of the branches repurchased from Merlin are located in cities with medium-sized populations.

To accelerate its digital transformation, BBVA is planning to close 179 bank branches in Spain at the end of this year. Based on data as at September, the most recent audited information, the entity has already completed more than 80% of the planned adjustment. BBVA’s commitment to digitalisation translates into more business, given that it sells 34% more to those clients considered as online.

The distribution model has changed drastically since 2009 and has focused on digital transformation. In fact, the network is the smallest it has been for 16 years, the latest available data, with fewer than 3,000 branches (…).

Original story: Expansión (by R. Sampedro)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Mapfre Accelerates its Divestments: 250 Properties Up For Sale

9 November 2018 – Economía Digital

Mapfre acknowledged in its annual report for 2017 that its real estate strategy “was focused on the divestment of non-strategic assets”. That strategy has intensified in 2018: the Spanish insurance company has started a major sales operation, involving more than 250 assets, which now have a “for sale” sign hanging over them. The divestment will materialise next year.

According to sources speaking to Economía Digital, Mapfre has engaged Solvia, the real estate firm still owned by Banco Sabadell – which is up for sale itself and which is expected to change hands before the end of the year – to exclusively market 256 real estate assets located across Spain, although they are particularly concentrated in Barcelona, Valencia and Madrid.

The most important assets in this portfolio are six plots in Madrid, Las Palmas and Mallorca, whose sale is expected before the end of this year. The other assets are essentially commercial premises that Mapfre owns as investment assets and leases to third parties. The divestment period will run until 31 December 2019.

The plots and offices that the insurance company wants to sell are located in around a dozen Spanish provinces. Approximately, half of them are situated in three autonomous regions: the Community of Valencia, Cataluña and Madrid, although the firm also has assets in Galicia, Andalucía, Aragón and Navarra.

When consulted by this newspaper, Mapfre and Solvia did not deny the operation but they did decline to comment. Sources at the insurance company have explained that the company is constantly rotating its real estate assets and searching for others of more value, although they have not explained whether the company is currently investing or not.

Mapfre’s real estate sales

The truth is that in 2016 and 2017, Mapfre completed some major real estate divestments, but it did not get rid of anything close to 250 assets in either year. Last year, it sold properties for €130 million, mainly corresponding to four large assets: a plot in Madrid for €5.5 million; a building also in Madrid for €72 million; and two plots in Palma de Mallorca for €22.5 million. With these sales, the company chaired by Antonio Huertas (pictured above) obtained capital gains of €65 million.

In 2016, the entity’s property sales were clearly impacted by the sale of a majority stake in Torre Mapfre in Barcelona. First, it tried to sell that property to an investor who wanted to convert it into a Four Seasons hotel, but after failing to obtain the necessary permits due to Ada Colau’s moratorium, it sold 66% to the Fundación Mapfre for €175.4 million and renovated it.

Mapfre’s real estate risk amounts to around €3 billion. Specifically, it closed 2017 with properties that had a market value of €2.945 billion, around €170 million lower than in 2016. More than €1.2 billion correspond to own-use properties, such as headquarters and offices, whilst almost €1.7 billion are investment assets, including the portfolio that the entity has put up for sale through Solvia (…).

Original story: Economia Digital (by Xavier Alegret)

Translation: Carmel Drake