12 March 2018 – Expansión
Founded in 1975 by Felipe Pereda, the real estate developer Lar was one of the few high-profile companies during the boom that survived the subsequent crash. Having become the manager of one of the largest real estate companies on the stock market, Socimi Lar España, the company owned by the Pereda family has not been neglecting its house building activity. “We are currently working on residential projects in seven countries. At the global level, we are working on projects involving 18,000 units”, explains Miguel Amo, Director General of the Lar Group.
This extensive portfolio also includes the Spanish market, where the company has focused on the residential business, after years of investing in shopping centres (it has a clause not to invest in commercial assets beyond the Socimi). “The first thing we did when we saw the signs of recovery in the market in 2013 was to team up with Fortress to acquire a portfolio containing almost 1,400 homes and plots of land spread all over Spain from Sareb. With that batch, we created a FAB (banking asset fund), which expires this year, with the delivery of the final homes. Next, we entered the luxury business, with Lagasca 99, a project that we are managing and in which we also hold a stake through the Socimi. And, with the market recovering, we saw the opportunity for new build projects”, said Amo.
Last year, after selecting several plots of land, Lar opted to create a fund, called Acacias Inmuebles, to promote seven projects with 450 homes in total. “The vehicle was created in July 2017 with €35 million and we have now invested 100%. We manage it and we own 30% of the vehicle (…) and the rest is owned by investors from Spain and Peru (…), explains the head of Lar.
In total, Acacias Inmuebles is going to promote five primary residence projects over the next three years in Madrid, Valencia, Málaga, Torremolinos and Sevilla, and two other second-home developments in the Malaga towns of Benalmádena and Mijas (…).
The success of that first vehicle has caused the real estate company to launch a second fund. “We are asking for a minimum capital investment of €500,000. It is a fund without any intermediary liquidity, but which will distribute dividends when the projects are handed over and the investments will be recovered within a period of between three and five years, with an approximate annual return of 12%”.
Besides Acacias and Lagasca, Lar owns other plots for the development of an additional 400 homes. “They are located in Móstoles (Madrid) and Valladolid; in the case of the latter, we will likely sell off some of the land to be developed by third parties”, said Amo. In addition to its activity in Spain, the majority of Lar’s developments are based abroad, primarily in Latin America.
Specifically, Lar, which was one of the first Spanish real estate companies to branch out overseas (in 1998) has 9,000 homes under construction in Mexico, another 5,000 in Peru and 1,300 in Colombia (…) “We are also building in Romania. We always do it by ourselves, in conjunction with a local team, and we are very happy with the results so far”.
Thanks to all of these projects, Lar had forecast revenues of between €400 million and €450 million in 2017, which would be added to the fees received for the management of the Socimi. “2017 was a good year in all areas, we sold 1,500 homes in private contracts and 1,300 were notarised. This year, we will hand over 1,500 homes, of which between 200 and 300 will be in Spain”, highlights Amo.
Lar is also committed to buying land for its subsequent management. “In Spain, we are also going to intensify our investment in land. We think that developable land is running out all over Spain, after 10 years with no investment and, so there is a need to “manufacture” land. We want to acquire plots for at least 1,000 homes and if we can buy land for 3,000 units, then even better”.
Original story: Expansión (by Rocío Ruiz)
Translation: Carmel Drake