12 February 2016 – Expansion
The tortuous liquidation process of Marme Inversiones, the company owner of the Ciudad Financiera of Banco Santander, is on the verge of culminating the transfer of this property complex to a group of international investors for about 2,800 million euros. This is the amount of the tender submitted by the funds Global Asset Capital (GAC), AGC Equity Partners and Cruz Capital to the Madrid Court responsible for the supervision of Marme insolvency proceedings, the company that acquired Santander‘s headquarters in Boadilla del Monte (Madrid ) in 2008 for 1,900 million. Unable to meet the payment of the interests of the debt incurred in this transaction, Marme went to bankruptcy in 2014, and last year its receivers decided upon the company liquidation and the sale of its only asset, which is the office complex of Santander.
According to sources familiar with the process, during the auction, a tender was submitted by Aabar, Abu Dhabi sovereign fund, associated with the British-Iranian investor Robert Tchenguiz. There was also a purchase proposal by Azora Capital, a Spanish investment company managed by Hispania Activos Inmobiliarios. But these tenders were below the price raised by GAC, AGC and Cruz, an alliance that has beaten all the forecasts when approaching 3,000 million euros, 40% more than the market expectations.
GAC is a California fund, which has taken the lead of the consortium in the negotiations. AGC Equity Partners is an Arab investors vehicle, which owns Citigroup headquarters in London among other real property assets. Cruz Capital is a New York hedge fund (high-risk investments fund ). These companies also have the support of Glenn Maud, one of the original shareholders of Marme Investments, with 50% of the capital. The British investor, together with the Irish Derek Quinlan, acquired the Ciudad Financiera in 2008, thanks to a 1,850 million euros loan, led by the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS). Barely two years after the purchase, Marme began having trouble paying off the debt. The accrued interests have made the current liabilities of the company rise to 2,700 million. The money the consortium intends to pay in order to acquire the assets of Marme would allow the return of 100% of the debt to the creditors of the company, should the judge approve the transaction. RBS transferred all its loans, which are mostly in the hands of funds. GAC, Aabar and Tchenguiz are among the creditors who bought pieces of loans. The only banks of the original loan that maintain their position are CaixaBank and ING.
Santander pays an annual income of about 80 million for its headquarters. Although it has the first refusal right to match the offer and repurchase the Ciudad Financiera, it is not expected to exercise it.
Original story: Expansion (by Roberto Casado)
Translation: Aura Ree