Roebuck Acquires Logistics Platform in Zaragoza for €78 Million

8 November 2019 – The property management firm Roebuck has acquired a logistics facility in Zaragoza, previously owned by the Pikolin group, for 78 million euros. The latter firm, a Spanish mattress manufacturer, will continue leasing the site, in a sale and leaseback operation. The facility, located in the Plataforma Logística de Zaragoza, has a useful area of ​​92,723 m2 on a 225,000-m2 plot of land.

The platform includes 11 production facilities (including a polyurethane foam factory), two storage warehouses, 2,500 m2 of workshops and 10,000m2 of offices. The facility is the largest and most modern in Europe for the production of mattresses.

Original Story: Idealista – Custodio Pareja

Adaptation/Translation: Richard D. K. Turner

El Corte Inglés Sells a Store in Valencia to Corpfin Real Estate

11 October 2018 – Expansión

The distribution group is finalising the sale to Inbest, a vehicle owned by Corpfin, of two premises, joined together to form a 7,000 m2 centre, on the Valencian street of Calle Colón.

El Corte Inglés is taking another step forward in its non-strategic asset divestment policy to reduce its debt. To this end, it is finalising the sale to Corpfin Real Estate of two premises converted into a single commercial space, located in Valencia, for more than €90 million, according to market sources speaking to Expansión.

The premises, both located on Calle Colón – one of the main commercial thoroughfares in Valencia – have a combined surface area of 7,000 m2.

It is the second operation that the two groups have signed in recent months, after they reached an agreement in the summer to sell two more retail premises on Gran Vía in Bilbao and Calle Princesa in Madrid, with a combined surface area of 8,800 m2, for €93 million. Like in those cases, this latest operation will be executed using the sale & leaseback formula, which means that El Corte Inglés will remain as the tenant following the sale, and the operation will not affect the business or its employees in any way.

This operation will allow El Corte Inglés to reduce its debt, which currently amounts to €3.65 billion, and to optimise its resources. The premises that have been sold in Valencia belonged at the time to a real estate portfolio that the group purchased from Marks & Spencer when the British firm left Spain. The stores are very well located but they are also some of the firm’s smallest premises in the city, where it has four large department stores on: Avenida de Francia, Pintor Sorolla-Colón, Ademuz and Nuevo Centro.

Meanwhile, the operation allows Corpfin Real Estate to continue growing Inbest’s asset portfolio. At the beginning of this year, the manager launched this vehicle comprising several Socimis, which it was thought may debut on the stock market possibly before the summer. This vehicle was created with the aim of investing €400 million, between capital and financing, before 2021, although, with this operation, it has now almost fulfilled that objective.

In addition to the premises acquired from El Corte Inglés, Inbest has reached an agreement to purchase the commercial area in Edificio España from RIU for around €160 million. Similarly, this summer, it purchased a store measuring 1,500 m2 on Calle Triana, in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, from an Indian family.

Original story: Expansión (by R. Arroyo & V. Osorio)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Makro Puts 3 Centres in Madrid Up For Sale for €90M

12 April 2018 – Eje Prime

Makro wants to make cash in Madrid. The food wholesaler chain wants to get rid of three of the centres that it owns in the Spanish capital to raise €90 million. The intention of the company is to sell the assets under the sale & leaseback method, which means that the company would continue to occupy the premises as the tenant.

The three centres for sale are located in Barajas, Alcobendas and Paseo Imperial and will allow the company, which was founded in The Netherlands, to raise money to invest in the development of new projects. Currently, the company is owned by the German group Metro, which has already successfully signed operations of this kind in other markets, according to Expansión.

Makro has 37 centres in Spain located in fifteen autonomous regions. The food company’s list of customers exceeds 900,000 people and its total retail surface area across the country spans 241,744 m2.

This sale, under the sale & leaseback formula, is currently being used in the market by lots of operators. One example is Inditex, which sold 16 stores in Spain and Portugal under this method in January to the German investment fund Deka; it paid €400 million for the shops, some of which are located in prime locations in cities such as Madrid and Barcelona.

Original story: Eje Prime 

Translation: Carmel Drake

Union Investment Puts Marsans’ Former HQ up for Sale

16 January 2018 – Expansión

The fund Union Investment, which is headquartered in Frankfurt, has decided to cash in one of its most high profile real estate assets in Spain.

The firm has put the Edificio Pórtico in Madrid up for sale. Designed by the architecture studios SOM and Rafael de La-Hoz, this office building is leased in its entirety to several companies including Pullmantur, Redexis Gas, Nautalia, Beam España and Pepsico, amongst others. Nevertheless, it is well-known because it housed the headquarters of the tourist group Marsans for several years. The company created by Gerardo Díaz and Gonzalo Pascual purchased the property in 2009 from Hines and Monthisa for an amount that was never disclosed. Years later, Marsans reached an agreement with Union Investment to sell the building for €115 million through a sale & leaseback contract, whereby the tourist group remained as the tenant paying a monthly rent of more than €700,000.

A year later, Marsans received an eviction notice due to the non-payment of the rent, and it abandoned the property in 2011 once it had filed for liquidation. The departure of its main tenant did not represent a problem for Union Investment, which soon found replacements.

Currently, the building, which has a gross leaseable area (GLA) of 27,000 m2 spread over eight floors, is leased in its entirety. That, together with the quality of the property and the stamp of two recognised architecture studios, raises its appeal in the market.

For the sale, the German fund has engaged the real estate consultancy CBRE, which has already started to reach out to the usual investors in the office market in Madrid. The sales price amounts to around €130 million, say sources in the know, and the operation is expected to be closed during the first half of this year.

Investment in offices in Spain amounted to €2.21 billion in 2017, according to JLL, down by 20% compared to the previous year.

Lack of supply

That decrease was much more marked in Madrid, which although continued to lead the investment market in Spain, with investment of €1.374 billion, suffered a decrease of 38% in 2017 with respect to the previous year.

“Nevertheless, that reduction was not due to a decrease in investor interest, but rather a lack of supply, given that the two previous years saw record figures”, explains Borja Ortega, Director of Capital Markets at JLL (…).

Meanwhile, Union Investment is one of the largest investment fund managers in Germany. In Spain, its recent operations include the sale of the Área Sur shopping centre, located in the Cadiz town of Jerez, which it sold last year to a joint venture controlled by Axa IM-Real Assets and the Portuguese real estate company Sonae Sierra for €110 million. At the global level, the German firm manages assets worth more than €250 billion.

Original story: Expansión (by Rocío Ruiz)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Operación Neo: Lone Star Negotiates Sale of Former Fecsa-Endesa HQ in Barcelona

28 November 2017 – El Confidencial

Lone Star is on the verge of closing another chapter in its history, with the sale of the last major asset that forms part of Project Octopus, a portfolio comprising more than €4,000 million in real estate loans from the bank Eurohypo in Spain and Portugal, which the US fund acquired three years ago, in conjunction with JP Morgan.

The asset in question is the former headquarters of Fecsa-Endesa in Cataluña, a building with a surface area of 35,000 m2, whose three chimneys form part of Barcelona’s skyline and regarding which, it is holding exclusive negotiations with the joint forces of the Tramway group and the German vehicle Indigo Capital.

The conversations are now in the home stretch and may even be closed this afternoon, according to sources familiar with the process, although they also indicate that a second finalist is waiting in the wings, which could take over if these negotiations do not end up proving fruitful.

This operation marks another step forward in Lone Star’s strategy to unwind its positions in the Spanish real estate market, following the sale of the rest of Project Octopus and of the property developer Neinor Homes. That company debuted on the stock market in the spring and following several share sales, the US fund now only controls a 13% stake. Moreover, it goes against the grain of the current situation in the real estate market in Cataluña, which has all but come to a standstill due to the ‘independentista’ challenge.

This property, which has been empty for five years, has both environmental and change of use problems, which have certainly conditioned its sale. Constructed on the site of an old coal generation plan at the beginning of the 20th century, the subsoil of the plot contains impurities from the former coal and gas operations, which constitute the main risk to this operation and which have convinced other interested parties to withdraw from the process.

Impact of the sovereign challenge

In addition, the property has a key 4 urban planning rating, which restricts its use to public services with a technical component. In fact, its former owner, Grupo Sanjosé, which acquired the building from Endesa in a “sale & leaseback” operation, did not manage to resolve the change of use, which allowed Lone Star to execute the debt linked to the building in 2015.

And so on and so forth, because the sovereign crisis in Cataluña was about to bring down the process, launched in September and managed by JLL, in which firms such as Meridia, Colonial, Oaktree, Tristan, GreenOak, Värde and Stoneweg expressed an interest, according to sources.

In the end, only two candidates have submitted bids, for around €20 million, and the winner will likely have to double that investment figure in order to be able to carry out all of the renovation work that this asset requires to be in a position to generate value again.

Original story: El Confidencial (by R. Ugalde)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Auren Sells 3rd Floor Of Its HQ In Madrid For €10.5M

9 October 2017 – El Economista

The professional services firm Auren has sold one floor of its office building in Madrid to a Spanish foundation for €10.5 million, according to sources in the sector.

The headquarters of the consultancy firm is located in the Edificio Masters I building on Avenida General Perón, 38; Auren has operated from that multi-owner property for almost 20 years. When it first moved in, it acquired the third floor of the building and then went on to lease more space on two other floors, as the company continued to grow. Now that this asset is no longer strategic for the firm, it has opted to undertake a long-term sale & leaseback operation, which has been advised by Catella.

The transaction comprises one floor measuring 1,669 m2 and 16 parking spaces in the property, located in the Azca business district, which has established itself as a strategic enclave over the last few decades, above all for companies in the financial and technological sectors.

This operation, which has been closed at the high end of the market in terms of price per square metre, is another example of the good times that the office sector is enjoying. During the first nine months of this year, the office segment accounted for 24% of all real estate investment in Spain.

In this sense, Pablo Carvajal, Director of Capital Markets at Catella, highlights that “we are in an increasingly competitive market where it is hard to find quality assets for sale. That means that sale & leaseback operations, involving tenants of the calibre and solvency of Auren, in prime locations, are particularly attractive for investors looking for long-term stability”.

Auren is one of the largest multidisciplinary firms in Spain, with 51 offices in nine countries and more than 200 offices in 60 countries through Antea. The firm closed 2016 with a total turnover of €52.2 million, up by 4% compared to 2015. The company offers the following services: Audit, Legal & Tax Advice, Consultancy and Corporate and employs more than 1,500 people in the countries in which it has an international presence.

Original story: El Economista (by Alba Brualla)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Telefónica To Lease Out 1 Building At Its Las Tablas HQ In Madrid

30 April 2017 – El Confidencial

A year after taking over the Presidency at Telefónica, José María Álvarez-Pallete (pictured above) now has the telecoms operator’s first major real estate operation on his desk: the rental of one of the 13 buildings at the entity’s Madrid headquarters, specifically, the complex known as District C.

The company has launched a tender process with the country’s main real estate consultancy firms, with the aim of selecting one of them to find a new tenant for the North 3 Building. All interested parties should submit their bids within the next few days, given that the operator has asked for them to submit their projects after Easter. (…).

With this tender, Telefónica confirmed the rumours that have been circling for a while, which were further fuelled when the operator’s employees vacated the North 2 and 3 Buildings. The properties are located in one of the corners of the main face of the complex. Almost 10,000 people work at the headquarters on a daily basis.

In the end, after considering various options – ranging from organising a kind of small Silicon Valley for startups to selling the building – the team led by Álvarez-Pallete has opted to rent out at least one of its properties. And this option promises to receive interest in the market, given that in the past, commentators have speculated about the possibility of companies such as L’Oreal and Huawei being interested in moving their headquarters there, and which moves the group away from the possibility of selling the entire complex.

The option of Telefónica selling District C has been on the cards for several years – the idea was that it would remain as the tenant with a long-term contract, in order to obtain a sizeable cheque with which to reduce its significant debt balance. In fact, many funds have called at its door, but with offers that have always fallen well below the company’s €3,000 million asking price.

In addition, the new accounting legislation that, from 1 January 2019 onwards, will oblige firms to account for rental commitments as debt, means that any kind of “sale & leaseback” operations that the firm may have been considering under the prism of reducing its financial commitments would be significantly less attractive.

Located in the Madrilenian neighbourhood of Las Tablas, District C opened its doors a decade ago, after Telefónica took the decision to bring together all of its employees in Madrid in a single headquarters. Previously, they had been distributed across around thirty buildings.

Although the option of building a skyscraper was initially proposed, in the end, a horizontal design was chosen by the architect Rafael de la Hoz, with independent, but perfectly connected buildings within a single district. From there emerged what is popularly known as District C – the Communications District – although its official name has been the Telefónica District for over six years.

The complex has a total constructed surface area of 370,000 m2 and more than half, 180,000 m2, corresponds to the 13 existing office buildings: four of those, located at the corners have ten storeys each; another four have four storeys; four more have three storeys, whilst the main building, in the centre, has a surface area of 16,480 m2.

In addition, District C has 20,000 m2 of space dedicated to all types of auxiliary services, from a children’s nursery to shops; 130,000 m2 of space comprising open areas and gardens; and 5,000 parking spaces.

Original story: El Confidencial (by Ruth Ugalde)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Bankia Buys 10,000m2 Office Building In Madrid From Activum

3 March 2017 – El Confidencial

Bankia outgrew its Torre Kio offices in Madrid several years ago. In fact, it was more than a decade ago when the entity (still operating under the guise of Caja Madrid) began to consider moving offices. To that end, it acquired the imposing skyscraper from Repsol that Norman Foster had designed on the site of Real Madrid’s former Ciudad Deportiva.

But that operation ended up being disastrous for the bank, which paid €800 million to acquire the property and ended up selling it for half that sum. Nevertheless, Bankia’s expanding space requirements are a reality once again, and under the mandate of José Ignacio Goirigolzarri, the entity is embarking on a cautious but gradual policy of acquiring assets for corporate use.

In this vein, the entity acquired an office building from Activum in December. The property is located in the Julián Camarillo district of Madrid, a secondary area that is currently enjoying a revival, thanks to the boost being given by property companies such as Torre Rioja.

The building in question is located at number 32 on Calle Santa Leonor, it has a surface area of 10,134 m2, spread over two basement floors, with more than a hundred parking spaces, one ground floor, four upper floors and one top floor. Bankia has acquired this building to house all of the workers from its Multi-channel Department, which until last year occupied a rental property, specifically, the Torre Foster, which Amancio Ortega has just purchased. The entity has confirmed the acquisition of this building, but declined to reveal the amount paid, which according to market sources must have amounted to between €2,000/m2 and €2,500/m2, taking the final figure for the transaction to around €20 million.

This is the second major purchase of an office building that Bankia has signed in recent months, after it closed the acquisition of the property that houses its IT services in Las Rozas, for €130 million, from the Swedish group SEKin December 2015. Five years earlier, SEK had bought the building from Caja Madrid for €108 million, with the commitment from the entity to remain as the tenant (‘sale & leaseback’).

With these two operations, the entity has managed to balance out some of its past mistakes, given that, on the one hand, it has exchanged an expensive rent in one of the most iconic buildings in Madrid for a purchase that it has managed to make at a reasonable price and, on the other hand, it is readjusting the numbers for a sale that it completed during one of the toughest periods of the financial crisis.

Through this sale, Activum has completed its second divestment in Spain, following the sale of an office building on Calle Manuel de Falla to the Socimi Axiare. (…).

Original story: El Confidencial (by Ruth Ugalde)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Vocento Sells ABC’s HQ In Madrid To Axiare For €35M

27 December 2016 – ABC

On Friday, the Vocento Group announced that it has reached an agreement to sell the headquarters of the ABC newspaper, located on Calle Juan Ignacio Luca de Tena in Madrid, to the Socimi Axiare for €35 million, according to a statement sent by the group to Spain’s National Securities and Exchange Commission (CNMV).

Vocento reported that it has signed a five-year rental contract with Axiare, which will allow it to continue to occupy the property as the tenant. The operation is expected to generate net profits before tax of €22 million for the company.

The company stated that the operation forms part of its strategy to optimise its existing real estate portfolio. The consultancy firm Aguirre Newman participated in the operation as the real estate advisor.

Original story: ABC

Translation: Carmel Drake

Gas Natural Sells Its HQ In Madrid To IBA Capital For €120M

24 November 2016 – Expansión

Gas Natural has had a change of heart in its strategy to sell its real estate jewels in Madrid. The firm chaired by Isidro Fainé, which engaged the real estate consultants CBRE and Cushman & Wakefield in the summer to sell its main real estate assets in the capital, has decided to divide up its batch of four properties and sell the most sought after asset, located on Avenida de San Luis, in a separate transaction.

In this sense, the energy company has reached an agreement with IBA Capital, through its Socimi Zambal, to sell its headquarters in the capital located on Avenida de San Luis 77. The transaction will be completed within the next few days for around €120 million, once the bureaucratic procedures have been completed.

The firm has opted for the sale & leaseback formula, involving the sale of the property and its subsequent lease for a period of ten years.

The real estate fund manager, which purchased Vodafone España’s headquarters in Madrid just over a year ago, has knocked out the Spanish real estate and investment manager, Drago Capital, from the process, which until now was the favourite candidate for taking over Gas Natural’s buildings in Madrid. Drago Capital, which has been in exclusive negotiations with the energy firm for several weeks regarding the purchase, was unable to complete the operation as it failed to obtain financing from the banks.

In terms of the rest of the buildings up for sale – one property on Avenida de América 38; the Acanto 11 complex; and the Antonio López complex, on Antonio López 193– , the company has decided to reopen the process and invite those investors who expressed interest in the initial process to participate. Besides Drago Capital, the finalists also included Henderson Park and Has Capital.

In total, the combined surface area of the four complexes amounts to 57,000 m2. In addition, this asset portfolio includes 1,695 parking spaces. Specifically, Gas Natural’s headquarters on Avenida de San Luis 77 has a surface area of almost 32,000 m2, which is dedicated to office space. With this operation, Gas Natural is taking advantage of the real estate sector’s current strong performance to generate value from its properties and earn some cash, without having to move its staff by remaining as the tenant.

The office market in Madrid and Barcelona has heated up a lot in recent months due to the shortage of high quality products in good locations. During the first three quarters of this year, investment in the office market amounted to €2,200 million, according to data from Aguirre Newman.

Gas Natural’s approach is in line with that of some of its rivals, which have also opted to divest their real estate investments. For example, Torre Cepsa, located in the Cuatro Torres complex in Madrid, was sold to Amancio Ortega’s investment vehicle, Pontegadea, two months ago for €490 million. Meanwhile, Endesa’s headquarters in the capital is owned by the Socimi Merlin and Iberdrola’s head office in Bilbao is partly owned by Kutxabank.

Original story: Expansión (by R. Arroyo & M. Á. Patiño)

Translation: Carmel Drake