Acciona Puts 5 Non-Strategic Assets Up For Sale

17 January 2018 – Eje Prime

Acciona is starting the year by strengthening its residential real estate business. According to market sources, the company is finalising the sales mandate for five office buildings that are non-strategic for its real estate arm. According to the same sources, the mandate for this sale has been entrusted to JLL.

The properties are located in Barcelona, Sabadell and Zaragoza, and together they span a total surface area 15,000 m², according to El Economista. Depending on the interest that these assets spark, they may be sold as a portfolio or individually.

This move forms part of Acciona’s strategy to generate value from its real estate assets through the sale of offices and hotels to obtain liquidity and whereby accelerate its house-building business.

The company explained its plans in a report issued to the CNMV regarding its accounts for 2016 when the companies real estate assets were worth €1.1 billion.

With 25 years of experience, the real estate arm of Acciona has built 9,000 homes to date, located in Spain, Portugal, Poland and Mexico.

Original story: Eje Prime

Translation: Carmel Drake

Heron City Sale Fails to Spark Interest amongst Investors

12 December 2017 – El Confidencial

A concept too unique for a market that is used to something a lot more familiar. That is the moral that can be drawn from the decision by Heron International, the property developer behind the famous Heron City centres, to put into quarantine the sales process of the three leisure centres that it owns in Spain.

The offers received by the British company fall well below its expectations, which has caused it to reconsider its whole strategy and take the decision, last week, to suspend the current sales process, according to sources familiar with proceedings.

As El Confidencial revealed in September, the British company engaged CBRE to find a buyer for its whole portfolio, which comprises Heron City Las Rozas (Madrid), Heron City Paterna (Valencia) and Heron Diversia Alcobendas (Madrid), and which has a valuation of between €230 million and €250 million.

Nevertheless, the appetite in the market has been lower than anticipated because the usual suspects who typically participate in these types of operations (large international funds and Socimis) actually specialise in shopping centres, whose casuistry differs from those of leisure centres, and where lots of investment opportunities are still emerging.

In 2017 alone, with less than a month to go before the end of the year, 17 transactions involving shopping centres and retail parks have been closed across Spain, according to data from the trade association AECC, led by giants such as Xanadú. Moreover, during the next two years, around twenty new centres are expected to open and six centres are due to be expanded, which will see an additional gross leasable area come onto the market of more than 2 million m2.

The result has been that Heron International has decided to suspend the sales process and redefine its strategy. The three Heron City complexes, which span a combined gross leasable area of 84,000 m2, have 6,100 parking spaces, receive more than 12 million visitors per year, and represent a brand that arrived in Spain almost three decades ago with a very specific leisure concept, based on cinemas and a restaurant offer that tries to distance itself from classic fast food.

Since its arrival in Spain, Heron International has only starred in one operation, involving the sale of one of its leisure centred, namely Heron City in Barcelona, which it sold to Babcock & Brown and GPT at the end of 2006 for €138 million. Almost a decade later, as El Confidencial revealed, that complex was acquired by ASG, the Spanish subsidiary of Activum, a deal that represented that firm’s first operation in the Catalan capital.

The leisure centre in Barcelona, as well as those in Las Rozas and Paterna were all built by the British company. In the case of Diversia, it purchased that centre in 2003 in conjunction with Realia (50%) and a decade ago it took over all of the share capital when it also acquired the stake owned by FCC’s subsidiary.

Original story: El Confidencial (by R. Ugalde)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Wanda Plans To Sell Edificio España Before August

26 May 2016 – Cinco Días

The Chinese group Dalian Wanda is pushing ahead with the sale of Edificio España, and at the same time it is continuing its negotiations with the Town Hall of Madrid to refurbish the building. The process to complete the transaction is progressing quickly. In fact, the company owned by the magnate Wang Jianlin expects to close the deal before the summer holidays, according to sources close to the talks.

Over the next two weeks, the Chinese group will receive the first non-binding offers from parties interested in buying the building, where Wanda plans to open a hotel and luxury homes, as well as a shopping arcade. These bids will be analysed and a due diligence process will begin. Wanda expects to have closed the sale before August.

For this process, the Chinese investor has engaged the real estate consultancy JLL to act as intermediary, which is pushing ahead with the transaction. Both Wanda and JLL are conducting the transaction with the utmost confidentiality. (…).

The sources consulted understand that Wanda has lost interest in this Madrid mega-project, as it has been unable to carry out its refurbishment plans, which included demolishing the property to reconstruct it from scratch in a similar form to the original. In the face of the rejection from the Town Hall, the Group has decided to forego the complicated refurbishment.

Nevertheless, Wanda is continuing its negotiations with the municipal technicians to find a solution for tackling its future renovation and whereby obtain the necessary construction permits. Market sources insist that it would be positive for the Chinese Group to have these permits, because they will add value to the property for the potential buyers, as would resolve the problems with the Town Hall of Madrid regarding the renovation.

Companies reported to be evaluating the purchase come from Asia, Europe and USA. In some cases, these companies and funds are looking to form alliances with Spanish partners or with firms that have knowledge of the local market, so as to entrust the refurbishment work to them. The figure being talked about in the sector for the sale amounts to just under €300 million.

Wanda paid Santander €265 million in 2014 for the skyscraper, constructed in the 1950s, which is currently unoccupied. It planned to undertake an ambitious renovation, which included reconstructing the building from scratch, but it met with refusal from the Local Heritage Committee, in which the Town Hall (Ahora Madrid) and regional Government (PP) participate, due to the protection afforded to the façades. However, differences of opinion started to emerge last year. The Asian conglomerate decided to put the building up for sale in February. In recent weeks, however, it has resumed talks with the Town Hall.

Nevertheless, there was a new twist in the tale on Monday. The President of the Asian conglomerate broke his silence to confirm that he is still waiting for official confirmation from the Town Hall that his company will be allowed to demolish the property and rebuild it from scratch. “The Town Hall is holding talks with us again saying that we can demolish it. We are waiting for a written document to confirm this, rather than their verbal promise”, said the Chinese magnate to CCTV, the state television channel in his country.

In this way, he contradicted the team led by Manuela Carmena, which has stressed to date that it will not allow the demolition. Sources close to the project say that they do not know why the Chinese officials in Spain agreed to not demolish the building after months rejecting the municipal proposal and they consider that they have gone to the limit to obtain the upper hand in the negotiations.

Original story: Cinco Días (by Alfonso Simón Ruiz)

Translation: Carmel Drake