Sareb’s Puts Sanahuja Family’s Land up for Auction to Recover the €13M Debt it Owes

20 April 2018 – Eje Prime

A new setback for the Sanahuja family. The Company for the Management of Assets proceeding from the Restructuring of the Banking System (Sareb) has decided to foreclose six plots of land in Madrid owned by the Catalan family by means of a judicial auction with the aim of recovering the €13 million owed to it by the clan.

Five of the plots are located in Vicálvaro and the other one is in Getafe. For the latter, Sareb has set a starting price of €12.7 million, whilst for the plots in Vicálvaro, the bad bank is asking for between €2.5 million and €5.7 million, depending on the plot for sale, according to El Confidencial.

The Sanahuja family were the kings of the Spanish property sector during the era of the real estate bubble, above all, after climbing to the Presidency of Metrovacesa, the listed property developer of which they became the majority shareholders. Afterwards, Román Sanahuja (pictured above), the patriarch of the family, led the company to bankruptcy.

Now, the clan has accumulated a debt of €44 million with the Tax Authorities, according to the most recent list of large debtors published by the public ministry led by Cristóbal Montoro.

The assets auctioned are owned by the companies Parque Residencial Vicálvaro and Sanahuja Escofet Inmobiliaria, both of which are, in turn, owned by Román Sanahuja, his wife, Ana María Escofet Brado, and their two sons, Juan Manuel and Javier.

Similarly, the string of bad news has not stopped for the family in recent times. A few months ago, Javier Sanahuja was evicted from the home that he lived in in the exclusive Barcelona neighbourhood of Sarrià. In Madrid, the patriarch of the clan, Ramón, founder of Sacresa, the seed of the Sanahuja family’s real estate empire, lost the Saldaña Palace, located on Calle Ortega y Gasset. Oddly enough, that prime property was purchased by the Catalan businessman from Juan Antonio Roca, one of the brains behind the Malaya corruption case.

Original story: Eje Prime

Translation: Carmel Drake

Santander, BBVA & Popular Will Contribute Homes Worth €665M To Testa

28 December 2016 – Expansión

Santander, BBVA and Banco Popular will contribute a package of new homes worth €665 million, through a capital increase, to Testa Residencial, the rental home Socimi that they own together with Merlin Properties.

The operation will double the size of Testa Residencial, however it will also lead to the dilution of Merlin’s 34.2% stake as the second largest shareholder behind Santander, which controls 46.2% of the share capital.

The contribution of homes by the shareholder banks forms part of the growth strategy that has been set for this new rental home Socimi, which may debut on the stock market next year.

In fact, it is the first transfer of new assets that the shareholders will make to Testa Residencial, following its constitution in October this year, with a portfolio of 4,700 homes, most of which (63%) are located in Madrid.

The transfer of homes by the company’s shareholder banks will materialise through a non-monetary capital increase amounting to the aforementioned value of €665.50 million. Testa Residencial will approve this operation at its shareholders meeting on 30 January. Given the value of the firm’s current portfolio of homes, estimated to be worth around €701 million, the injection of these new assets will almost double the size of the company.

Testa Residencial was created as a subsidiary of Merlin using the homes that Testa and Metrovacesa contributed when they merged with the Socimi. The company led by Ismael Clemente considered this business to be non-strategic and for that reason, decided to put it up for sale. But following frustrated negotiations with potential buyers, Merlin decided to deconsolidate this portfolio by creating a new Socimi, in which the shareholder banks hold a significant stake, amounting to 13% in the case of BBVA and 6% in the case of Popular.

Subsidiary of the new real estate giant

The merger of the 100-year old giant Metrovacesa (until then owned by the creditor banks of its former owner, Román Sanahuja) with the Socimi Merlin, which was completed in October, gave rise to a new Merlin that, according to its own figures, is the largest listed real estate company in the country, with assets worth €9,100 million.

Similarly, the integration paved the way for Testa Residencial, which is the largest rental home company in the country, with the aim of segregating out a subsidiary dedicated to the rental home business.

The agenda for the shareholders’ meeting that this company will hold in January will include the creation of a corporate website and setting the remuneration for the shareholders.

Original story: Expansión

Translation: Carmel Drake

What Has Become Of The Property Kings?

23 April 2015 – Expansión

The individuals that owned the large real estate companies during the boom years have suffered from sharp drops in sales and in the value of their assets. The largest has filed for bankruptcy and is now at the mercy of its creditors.

The largest land owner in Spain. The largest real estate company in Europe. Those are some of the descriptions that were used to refer to the large Spanish real estate companies almost a decade ago. At their respective helms were businessmen such as Luis Portillo, Rafael Santamaría and Joaquín Rivero (pictured above, left). As such, they were some of the hardest hit by the burst of the real estate bubble in 2007. After generating revenues of hundreds of millions of euros from the sale of homes, these companies and their managers were unable to cope with the high levels of indebtedness that they had accumulated during the boom years, and so found themselves in precarious situations.

But they are not the only ones who suffered from the effects of the sudden change in the sector. Rivero, a businessman from Jerez, is still dealing with the consequences of his stint at Metrovacesa, fighting a hard battle in the courts against his former partner, Román Sanahuja (pictured above, right), regarding the separation process that resulted in Rivero ending up with Gecina and his former partner with Metrovacesa. Sanahuja’s inability to pay the debts of his family business, Sacresa, meant that he lost control of Metrovacesa to the banks in 2010.

Another company that grew from strength to strength during the boom was Afirma (now Quabit). The company was created from the merger of the former entity Astroc, controlled by Enrique Bañeulos, Landscape and Rayet, a company led by Félix Abánades. After various refinancing processes, the businessman from La Alcarria managed to move forward with the listed real estate company Quabit. However, the same thing did not happen with its parent company, the construction group Rayet, which is now trying to exit from its bankruptcy process.

Francisco Hernando, known as El Pocero, was another one of the most well-known developers. Hernando developed a residential estate in the town of Seseña (Toledo), where he was planning to construct more than 15,000 homes. In the end, just under 5,000 homes were built; 3,000 of those ended up in the hands of the creditor bank as Hernando was unable to pay his debts.

Original story: Expansión (by R. Ruiz)

Translation: Carmel Drake