Telefónica to Sell an Historic Office Building in Barcelona for c. €110M

15 March 2019 – Expansión

Telefónica is putting one of its oldest buildings in Barcelona up for sale. The property, constructed in 1928, is located in Plaza Catalunya on Calle Fontanella and has a surface area of 8,530 m2 distributed over eleven above-ground floors and a basement.

The asking price stands at around €110 million and Telefónica, which occupies the whole building, is expected to continue as the tenant following the operation, in a deal known as a sale & leaseback.

The lower three floors of the building are currently occupied by Movistar Centre, an initiative from Telefónica, similar to a flagship store, which allows the public to try out the latest mobile phone technology.

According to the initial plans, Telefónica could close the sale of this property during the first half of this year, or early during the second half. Potential buyers include funds, Socimis and other investors.

Original story: Expansión (by Rebeca Arroyo & Ignacio del Castillo)

Translation/Summary: Carmel Drake

ECI Sells 2 Assets in Madrid & Bilbao to Corpfin for €100M

3 August 2018 – Eje Prime

El Corte Inglés is continuing to divest property. The department store group, the largest in its sector in Europe, has closed the sale of two more properties, on prime streets in Madrid and Bilbao, to Corpfin Capital. The sale & leaseback operation has been closed with a gain of 40% with respect to the market value of the properties, at around €100 million.

Specifically, the group has divested its property at number 41 Calle Princesa in Madrid, which spans 11,400 m2 and whose market value is estimated to be around €18 million.

The company has also sold the building located at number 20 Gran Vía in Bilbao to the Spanish fund. That store has a surface area of 5,500 m2 and a market value of around €38 million.

Both properties have been on the market for two years, although the operation was closed off market. El Corte Inglés has signed a long-term lease contract with the new owner that, according to sources familiar with the operation, will charge rents that are 20% higher than the market average on both streets.

The Madrid-based group, chaired since June by Jesús Nuño de la Rosa, has framed this operation within its asset divestment plan to reduce the debt that has been weighing it down for several years. The company owns 92 centres in Spain.

El Corte Inglés has received offers for the purchase of some of its most profitable establishments, including those in Madrid, Barcelona and Marbella. One of those is Torre Titania, formerly the Windsor Building, in Madrid. At the other end of the spectrum, the department store giant owns several stores opened during the first few years of the crisis: almost 24 points of sale, most of which generate significant losses.

One of its most recent operations was closed in October, when the company sold a building in Sevilla to Stoneweg for €10 million, as reported by Eje Prime. The objective of the new owner is to convert that property into a hotel.

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

Translation: Carmel Drake

Bankinter & Sonae Sierra’s Socimi Buys Its First Two Assets

27 March 2017 – Observatorio Inmobiliario

Ores, the Socimi created recently by Bankinter and Sonae Sierra, whose main activity is the acquisition and management of commercial assets in Spain and Portugal, has acquired two out-of-town stores in a deal that represents its first acquisition since its debut on the market.

The two commercial spaces, located in Artea, Bilbao and in the Galaria retail park, in Pamplona, have a combined surface area of approximately 8,400 m2 and are leased to Forum, a retailer specialising in sports, which has a long-term lease contract following a sale & leaseback operation signed in 2010.

Savills, the international real estate consultancy, has advised an investment fund with an extensive track record in Spain on the sale-side. On the legal side, Eversheds Nicea has advised the vendor and Cuatrecasas the buyer.

Luis Espadas, Director of Capital Markets at Savills, explains that “the out-of-town store market continues to form part of the focus of investors. It is a segment that still has significant potential for growth in terms of GLA volume and new operators entering the market and where we are seeing new interested investors, such as in this case”.

Original story: Observatorio Inmobiliario

Translation: Carmel Drake

Jale Group Owner Acquitted Of Fraud In Incosol Case

27 July 2016 – Expansión

The former owners, the Basque García-Egocheaga family, had accused López Esteras of swindling them during his purchase of the prestigious medical-hotel complex.

The Provincial Court of Vizcaya has acquitted the businessman José Antonio López Esteras, founder of the Jale Group, of crimes involving fraud, continued fraud and concealment of assets, of which he was accused following the sale of Incosol, formerly one of the most prestigious medical-hotel complexes in Europe, located in Marbella.

In addition, his son José Antonio López Esteras Camacho and son-in-law, Alfred Fischbac, have also gone free. They are the former directors of the Cádiz-based holding company, which has now filed for liquidation but which was one of the largest companies in Andalucía in its hey-day, with real estate, construction and hotel businesses.

The case dates back to 2007, when Jale acquired Incosol from the Basque García-Egocheaga family – which also used to own the Hotel Los Monteros – for €50 million through a complex financial and corporate operation. Less than fourteen months later, they filed a lawsuit against the three executives mentioned above, asking for 24 years in prison and compensation amounting to €3.6 million on the basis that they had made payment guarantees and commitments assumed by the Andalucían group somehow disappear.

Those obligations were guaranteed through the constitution of a pledge over 100% of the shares in the company Hotel Monasterio San Miguel, S.A., whose main asset was the hotel of the same name – located in El Puerto de San María – one of the most reputable in Andalucía and the flagship of its hotel division.

Shortly thereafter, Jale filed for voluntary creditor bankruptcy, but before doing so, it reached an agreement with BBVA to transfer ownership of the property to the bank for €24 million, in a sale & leaseback operation.

The plaintiffs consider that, with this manoeuvre, the executives made “the guarantees that secured the fulfilment of its obligations disappear in a fraudulent way”.

Now, however, the Provincial Court of Vizcaya has acquitted them on the basis that “the evidence provided is not sufficient to conclude that the intention behind establishing the pledge over the shares of Hotel Monasterio was to deceive García Egocheaga, or hide from them the fact that the guarantee was going to disappear”.

In addition, the court said that the former owners of Incosol were offered other guarantees in real estate assets worth more than €30 million.

Original story: Expansión (by Simón Onrubia)

Translation: Carmel Drake