Värde Merges Vía Célere & Aelca to Create one of Spain’s Largest RE Firms

1 October 2018 – El Español

The US fund Värde has created and will control one of the largest residential property developers in the country after merging the two companies in the sector in which it holds a stake, Vía Célere and Aelca, according to a statement issued by the entity.

The resulting company, which will retain the name Vía Célere, will have the capacity to deliver 2,000 homes in 2019 and 5,000 homes in 2021.

Värde will control 75% of the share capital of the new Vía Célere. Nevertheless, the firm will continue to be led by Juan Antonio Gómez-Pintado (pictured above), who also chairs the real estate trade association.

This is the US fund’s second merger operation in the Spanish real estate sector, after it integrated Dos Puntos, the real estate firm that it constituted with assets left over from the San José group, and Vía Célere in April 2017.

With its latest operation, Värde says that it is “reaffirming its commitment to the Spanish market”, which it considers is still highly “fragmented” and “needs greater consolidation by the operators to provide a rate of deliveries that reflects the budgets prepared”.

Värde, together with Lone Star, Castlelake, Blackstone and Cerberus, is one of the overseas funds that arrived in Spain during the peak of the crisis to buy up real estate assets, above all those that the banks had been left with after foreclosing debts.

Possible resizing of the workforce

According to Värde’s data, the property developer that it has created owns assets worth €2.2 billion, located all over the country, although the firm did not provide details about the new entity’s landbank in square metres or the number of homes under construction.

According to information provided by the new Vía Célere, 38% of its assets are located in Madrid, 20% in Málaga, 11% in Barcelona, 9% in Sevilla, 5% in Valencia and the remaining 17% in other provinces.

25% of the share capital of the new Vía Célere, which is controlled by Värde (75%), is distributed between other shareholders, all of them are foreign investors, such as Barclays.

At the operational level, the new real estate giant says that, in theory, it will hold onto the 300 employees that make up the workforce, although it does not rule out “resizing its structure” over the coming months, depending on its needs.

Original story: El Español

Translation: Carmel Drake

Neinor, Dospuntos & Aedas Invest €5,000M In Homes

26 January 2017 – Cinco Días

The fund Castlelake is backing the same market as the funds Lone Star and Värde Partners by resuming construction of new homes. Between the three of them, the US entities have now invested almost €5,000 million in the sector. The latest player to join the party has created the company Aedas Homes, with a land portfolio worth €1,000 million and the capacity to construct 12,000 homes. (…).

Castlelake has been purchasing land in Spain since 2013, when the property crisis was more acute and few international investors were interested in the real estate sector in Spain. In the end, the fund has created an independent company to construct its homes, into which it has placed 1,350 million m2 of land. 90% of those plots are ready to be built on (with permits) and the firm’s strategy is to continue buying.

For this operation, the fund has been advised by Merlin Properties, which is listed on the Ibex 35. The heads of the fund were looking for a recent real estate success story that did not present any conflict of interest – the Socimi is not involved in the residential sector –and so they asked its directors for help. Moreover, of the 45 people that work for the new company Aedas, seven come from the Socimi, specifically, from the former Testa (acquired by Merlin in 2015), given that they had experience in residential development at the now extinct Vallehermoso.

Castlelake is a firm from Minneapolis that manages €8,600 million in assets around the world. (…).

The new real estate company’s plans

Aedas – the name has Latin roots, stemming from the word to build – will construct homes in seven provinces: Madrid, Barcelona, Alicante, Valencia, the Balearic Islands, Málaga and Sevilla. “We are committed to the areas where there is clear residential demand”, said David Martínez Montero (pictured above), Director General at Aedas. Martínez Montero previously led the Operación Chamartín project between 2013 and 2016, the Valdebebas Compensation Board and the Cuatro Torres project in Madrid.

The new company is going to launch 14 developments to construct 1,000 homes, with the aim of finishing them by the end of the year and handing them over between 2018 and 2019. These homes will be located in Madrid (capital, Boadilla and Las Rozas); Barcelona (Hospitalet, Sabadell and Vilanova i la Geltrú); Sevilla (in the capital and in Dos Hermanas); Valencia (capital and Denia); and Estepona (Málaga).

Aedas is not proposing a pre-determined rate of investment or committing to building a specific number of homes per year. “It will depend on how the market absorbs our first 1,000 homes. We are not going to make the same mistakes as in the past”, said Martínez Montero. The company’s strategy involves tackling the primary residential market with urban products for middle class buyers, a segment where demand exists. (…). The directors of the company believe that there is a need for new builds given that hardly any new homes have been built in the last decade.

The arrival of the funds

It is the same theory that the other funds that have burst onto the residential scene are applying. The first was Neinor Homes, owned by the Texan firm Lone Star, with the plan to invest €2,000 million in land and building homes. That company was created from the business purchased from Kutxabank (…).

The next to emerge was Dospuntos, created by Värde Partners, from the ashes of the San José Group’s real estate division, which plans to invest €2,000 million between now and 2021. (…).

Original story: Cinco Días (by Alfonso Simón Ruiz)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Värde Will Start Building c.900 New Homes In Q1

11 January 2017 – Cinco Días

The new real estate company Dospuntos, which wants to become one of Spain’s major property developers, will start the year by marketing a significant number of new build properties in a sector that has started to wake up slowly, without any star players. “We are going to start 18 developments containing around 900 homes during the first quarter of the year”, confirmed Javier Eguidazu (pictured above), CEO at Dospuntos, a company controlled by Värde Partners.

These homes will be located in Madrid, Galicia, Andalucía, Castilla y León and Cataluña, primarily in large cities and metropolitan areas. In La Coruña, the real estate company already announced last month that it was beginning its first project there, known as Casa Vega, in the centre of the city. The company will also debut soon in Sevilla, Málaga, Valladolid, Barcelona, Leganés (Madrid) and Oleiros (La Coruña).

“The market has finally woken up. There is pent-up demand because hardly any new homes have been constructed over the last decade. Every property that comes onto the market is sold”, said Eguidazu regarding the recovery in the property development sector.

His company is looking to become one of the largest property developers in the country. After the real estate crisis, almost all of the major players disappeared – went bankrupt – or took time out whilst they waited for better times. Just a handful of companies such as Pryconsa, Vía Célere, local developers, cooperative managers such as Domo and new platforms linked to the banks (Aliseda, Altamira, Solvia…) continued to build at a slow pace. Other listed companies, such as Realia – controlled by the magnate Carlos Slim – and Quabit, are only resuming their business now. Anida, owned by BBVA, also strengthened its business at the hand of Manuel Jove, founder of the now bankrupt company Fadesa.

Dospuntos emerged in June 2016, after Värde purchased the damaged real estate business from the San José Group. It was created to construct around 7,000 homes on land coming from several sources: purchases by the US fund, inherited from San José and even some new acquisitions. “The company has financial muscle. In 2016, we spent €150 million on land”, said Eguidazu.

Along with Neinor Homes, owned by the Texan fund Lone Star, Dospuntos leads this new type of property developer, owned by overseas funds and interested in investing in the real estate recovery in Spain, now that the traditional players have disappeared (…).

The real estate company’s main shareholder is Värde, which holds more than 50% of its share capital. The fund from Minneapolis manages assets amounting to more than €10,000 million all over the world. It has been particularly active in Spain, with the acquisition of Popular’s credit card business, as well as half of that bank’s real estate arm, Aliseda, in an operation for which it teamed up with the fund Kennedy Wilson. Moreover, it has entered the office business of Procisa, the owner of the La Finca business park in Pozuelo de Alcorcón (Madrid).

As a shareholder of Dospuntos, Värde (which means “value” in Swedish) is accompanied by the funds Marathon and Attestor, as well as by banks such as Bank of America and Barclays.

From 2019, the company wants to reach a cruising speed of 2,000 new homes per year on average, according to comments made by Eguidazu at a presentation last June. By then, the company forecasts that it will be generating revenues of between €500 million and €600 million per year.

The shareholders plan to invest €2,000 million between 2016 and 2021, at an average rate of €400 million per year, of which €800 million will be allocated to buying more land on which to build homes. Over the long term, between 30% and 40% of the company’s resources will come from bank financing. (…).

Original story: Cinco Días (by Alfonso Simón Ruiz)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Värde Creates A New RE Company: Dospuntos

21 June 2016 – Cinco Días

One of the real estate firms that suffered during the real estate crisis has been reborn under a new name and with new owners. Värde Partners has created a new property developer, Dospuntos, out of the San José Desarrollo Imobiliarios structure, which it acquired from the San José Group last year. The US fund has an ambitious plan to turn the company into one of the major players in the sector as the incipient recovery starts to heat up.

“Värde and the rest of our shareholders believe in the recovery of Spain and in the growth of the real estate sector”, said Javier Eguidazu (pictured above), CEO of Dospuntos, who joined the firm in September from the Valdebebas urban development in Madrid. According to the Director, Värde and its partners paid more than €1,000 million to purchase the real estate company from San José, basically the amount equivalent to the value of its debt, and the debt clock was reset when the agreement was signed.

The company now owns land from the former subsidiary of San José, as well as from Várde, which was a dynamic and discrete purchaser of land during the recession in Spain. “We now have 800,000 sqm of land, on which we will build 7,000 homes”, said Eguidazu. “Värde is a very active operator in the market and is always studying deals. It is our majority shareholder, but that does not mean that it constructs all of its developments through our entity, nevertheless, it is likely that it will”, said the Director.

The major shareholder of this new real estate company is the US fund, with a stake of more than 50%; it manages assets worth more than €10,000 million all over the world. Värde has been particularly active in Spain in recent years, with the acquisition of Popular’s credit card bsiness, as well as half of the real estate firm Aliseda, from the same bank, in an operation that it entered into together with the fund Kennedy Wilson. Moreover, it is currently holding negotiations to acquire a stake in Procisa’s office business.

Värde (which means “value” in Swedish) is accompanied in its shareholder capacity in Dospuntos by the funds Marathon and Attestor, as well as banks such as Bank of America and Barclays.

The shareholders plan to invest €2,000 million between 2016 and 2012, at an average rate of €400 million per annum, of which €800 million will be allocated to continuing to acquire land on which to build homes. Over the long term, 30% or 40% of the company’s resources will come from bank financing. “Our aim is to create the best land bank in the country and to be the most profitable property developer in Spain”, said Eguidazu. The firm has already invested €100 million in land and another €55 million launching developments. (…).

The new property developer plans to put its first 1,300 homes up for sale in 2018, given that it is already starting to construct its first properties in Madrid, Málaga, Sevilla and A Coruña. Its other target locations include Pamplona, Valladolid, Zaragoza, Sevilla, Barcelona and Tenerife. From 2019, it plans to reach a cruising speed of 2,000 homes per year on average. By then, the company also expects to be generating revenues of between €500 million and €600 million.

Original story: Cinco Días (by Alfonso Simón Ruiz)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Who’s Who In The ‘Operación Chamartín’ Project?

2 March 2015 – Expansión

Madrid / The most important real estate project to be undertaken in Spain in recent years is being driven by BBVA and the San José group, which together own the development company; three public bodies are also participating in the project, as well as companies such as Renfe.

On 30 January, a swarm of photographers surrounded tens of public figures including distinguished representatives from the financial world, such as Francisco González, Chairman of BBVA, and Spanish businessmen and politicians. It was not a chance encounter, but rather a meeting to formally present of one of the largest real estate developments ever planned in Spain and one of the most important in the world today: the Castellana Norte project.

The official presentation of the development, known until now as Operación Chamartín, put the finishing touches to more than two decades of negotiations and collaborative work between public and private companies.

The project, which will require an investment of almost €6,000 million for the development of almost 3 million square metres (of land), has required consensus from the developers, BBVA and the constructor group, San José, as well as the Town Hall of Madrid, the Community of Madrid, the Ministry of Development and executives at Renfe. But, which role will each party be taking on?

“This would not have been possible without the support of BBVA”, announced one of the real estate experts who has worked, together with 31 professional teams from more than twenty countries, on the preparation of the Castellana North project. The financial entity owns 75.5% of the plan’s developer, the Castellana Norte Madrid company (formerly Dutch), having inherited the stake from Argentaria following its acquisition in 1999. The company is the owner of the rights of 61.6% of the land (amounting to almost two million square metres).

Its partner in this (development) company is the construction group San José. The company owned by Jacinto Rey had to divest its real estate assets during the last refinancing process it underwent. Nevertheless, it managed to retain its stake in the former company Dutch, showing its commitment to this project, which is expected to be executed over 20 years.

After the Castellana Norte company, the Town Hall of Madrid owns the next largest plot of land, with a 5.3% stake. On 19 February, the Council approved the revision of the Partial Plan for the Interior Reform of Operación Chamartín (Plan Parcial de Reforma Interior de la Operación Chamartín), which will organise the 3,114,336 square metres under development.

In that document, the Town Hall has committed to carrying out the construction works of the Nudo Norte (North Junction) and Nudo Fuencarral (Fuencarral Junction) set out in the plan, although the expenses incurred will be borne by the developer.

Renfe

62% of the land owned by the company Castellana Norte was transferred from Renfe. This land is partly occupied by the train tracks that converge at Chamartín station. The railway company, which reports to the Ministry of Development, will receive €1,250 million for the transfer of this land over a 20 year period.

Furthermore, Renfe, which owns 1.4% of the land, together with Adif, will take responsibility for the execution of the remodelling of Chamartín Station; the construction of the new tunnel to connect the high speed line between Atocha and Chamartín; the construction of the stations in Fuencarral; and the construction of the structure that will cover the tracks.

Meanwhile, the Community of Madrid will be responsible for the design and execution of the construction of the new metro line that will run through the area, but the cost of that will be borne by the management company.

Original story: Expansión (by Rocío Ruiz)

Translation: Carmel Drake

San José Stock Rebounds With Upcoming Debt Refinancing

30/12/2014 – Expansión

The San José group’s stocks are now among the winners of the Spanish Stock Exchange after the company notified the CNMV regarding its upcoming debt refinancing, envisioning its real estate business to remain in the hands of creditors.

The stocks of the group – whose debt amounts to 1.6 billion euros – rise firmly almost 6%, up to 0.73 euros, although they sporadically pick up to 10%.

The company has assured investors earlier today that it is “in the closing phase of its refinancing process” and that it will sign agreements with its creditors “during the day.”

San José added that as part of these agreements, they are considering to have creditors control the entire capital of San José Desarrollos Inmobiliarios “by converting part of their debt claims into stocks of the company.”

Original article: Expansion.com

Translation: Aura REE