Criteria to Make a Decision Regarding the Remaining 49% Stake in Saba on 24 May

23 May 2018 – Expansión 

Tomorrow (Thursday 24 May), the Board of Directors of Criteria, the investment arm of La Caixa, will make a decision regarding the future of Saba, the parking lot group of which it is a controlling shareholder, with a 51% stake. Criteria must decide whether to purchase the remaining 49% share capital currently in the hands of KKR, Torreal and ProA Capital or, by contrast, accept an offer for the purchase of 100% of the company chaired by Salvador Alemany.

According to sources close to the operation, Criteria’s position will be to emerge as the buyer, once the economic estimate of the asset has been made known, whose valuation ranges between €1.2 billion and €1.4 billion.

The investment by La Caixa’s industrial holding company will put an end to the period of uncertainty that the company has been experiencing since Torreal (20%), KKR (18.5%) and ProA (10.5%) agreed to sell their combined 49% stake in a coordinated way more than a year ago. Saba’s minority shareholders have forced this outcome. According to the shareholders’ agreements, the drag-along clause was activated in May, which means that any of the shareholders may require the sale of 100% of the company. KKR, ProA and Torreal notified La Caixa of their intention to find a buyer. According to sources consulted, Criteria has expressed its willingness to buy at the estimated prices. Several funds have also expressed their interest in Saba. As Expansión revealed in November 2017, Arcus was one of the first funds to propose an agreement. In the market, sources also point to Macquarie, which purchased Empark last year.

For Criteria, which has declined to comment, the investment in Saba would represent its first major buy-side move since it sold 10% of Gas Natural Fenosa to the fund GIP in 2016 for around €1.8 billion and following its exit this month from Abertis, after accepting the joint takeover bid presented by ACS and Atlantia. For its 18% stake in the highway group, Criteria has received more than €3 billion, which it will use to fund new investments.

The conversations have accelerated in recent weeks to the point that Saba had to postpone its General Shareholders’ Meeting. Originally, it had been convened for 9 May, but it has been postponed until 12 June pending an agreement between the shareholders.

Original story: Expansión (by C.M., M.P.L. and A.Z.)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Lone Star Puts 20% Of Neinor Homes Up For Sale

14 September 2017 – El Confidencial

Lone Star, the fund that controls Neinor Homes, has put up for sale 20% of the share capital in the property developer. The stake represents half of its current shareholding in the company, a percentage worth around €304 million, based on current market prices.

At the close of trading yesterday, the listed company’s share price had barely moved, up slightly by 0.26%, to €19.25 per share. So far this year, Neinor’s share price has risen by 17%.

This is the first divestment that the fund is making of it stake of around 40% that it holds in Neinor, after placing the other 60% in the IPO that took place in March. Following this new share sale, Lone Star will reduce its controlling stake in the company led by Juan Velayos (pictured above) to around 19.5%.

By virtue of the operation, Lone Star has put the shares up for sale through an accelerated placement, aimed at institutional and qualifying investors. The package comprises 15.81 million shares in Neinor, representing 20% of its share capital, according to a statement filed with Spain’s National Securities and Exchange Commission (CNMV).

Other shareholders of the real estate company, which the fund constituted in 2015 with the real estate assets that it purchased from Kutxabank, include institutional investors, such as Fidelity, with a 6.8% stake, Adar Capital Partners and Invesco (2.3%).

The businessman Juan Abelló has also backed Neinor, in which he has invested around €7.3 million through his Sicav, equivalent to around 0.5% of its share capital.

Boost to the business plan

In addition, the share sale comes at the same time as the acceleration that Neinor is giving to its business strategy, through which it hopes to put between 3,500 and 4,000 new homes on the market between now and 2020, thanks to €150 million financing that it recently raised with JP Morgan.

Nevertheless, the company does not rule out reviewing its plan, given that this financing will allow it to bring forward its land purchases and whereby take advantage of the “great opportunities” that it says currently abound in the Spanish residential real estate market, which is in the middle of its recovery.

According to its data, Neinor already owns “one of the largest portfolios of buildable land in Spain”, which will allow it to build 10,700 homes in total, in Madrid, Cataluña, the Balearic Islands, País Vasco, Andalucía and Valencia, making it the largest property developer in the country.

Currently, the firm has 65 housing developments under way, where it is building 4,300 new homes, nine of which have been launched since April.

Original story: El Confidencial

Translation: Carmel Drake

Barceló To Buy Back Crestline & Integrate Its 100 Hotels

25 January 2017 – Expansión

Barceló wants to become the sole owner of Crestline Hotels & Resorts once again and to strengthen its position in the USA. The Spanish group, which sold a 60% stake in the company to the fund ARC in 2013, is going to repurchase that stake and take back control of the entire US hotel management company, according to sources familiar with the deal.

Crestline Hotels & Resorts began operating in 2000, when its then owner, Crestline Capital, acquired Dubai Empresas and Stormont Trice Hospitality to create a hotel management company. In 2002, the Barceló Group acquired the group and renamed it the Barceló Crestline Corporation.

At the end of August 2013, Barceló decided to unwind some of its shareholding in Crestline and reached an agreement with the investment fund ARC to sell 60% of the company, which saw the group become a minority shareholder. This agreement included a clause that gave Barceló the right to repurchase its stake and that right is due to expire this year. The group intends to exercise this right, say the sources.

Currently, Crestline Hotels & Resorts manages more than one hundred assets in the country, which will be added to the existing hotel portfolio controlled by the Barceló group. This operation will allow the Spanish group to considerably strengthen its presence in USA, by consolidating the assets managed by Crestline onto its balance sheet.

Barceló, which presented its balance sheet for 2016 last Tuesday, along with its strategy for the next few years, is seeking to increase in size and continue to diversify its portfolio. Specifically, the company is looking towards the Middle East, a market it would like to enter through an alliance with a local partner.

Moreover, the Barceló Hotel Group has set itself two challenges for 2017. On the one hand, it wants to continue its expansion into the main provincial capital cities in Spain and the main cities in Europe, as well as into urban destinations in Latin America, especially in Mexico.

On the other hand, the company is planning to take the first steps of the agreement signed with Planeno in June 2016. The objective of the alliance is to reach a minimum of 100 establishments over the next 10 years.

In 2016, the company opened 12 hotels and this year it plans to add 20 new establishments to its portfolio. Specifically, last year, the chain incorporated hotels in new countries such as Panama and El Salvador; in urban destinations such as Querétaro (Mexico); in locations where the Mallorcan group is already established, such as Prague (Czech Republic), Istanbul (Turkey), Madrid, Fuerteventura, Lanzarote and Bilbao; as well as three hotels in Granada, where it previously had no presence, whereby fulfilling one of its priority objectives of expansion.

Original story: Expansión (by Rebeca Arroyo)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Socimi Inmofam 99 Will Debut On The MAB On 21 Dec

19 December 2016 – Finanzas

The Socimi Inmofam 99 will debut on the Alternative Investment Market (MAB) on Wednesday 21 December, at a price of €17.60 per share, according to the BME.

This price values the company at €38.83 million. Inmofam 99 owns a portfolio of retail premises located on the main shopping streets of a number of Spanish capital cities, as well as one residential building in Oviedo.

The portfolio includes a shop on Calle Raimundo Fernández Villaverde in Madrid and another two on Paseo Zorrilla in Valladolid.

On the financial side, Inmofam 99 has two loans, granted by the entity Banca March and both are secured by mortgaged assets. The first, amounting to €2.48 million, expires in December 2019 and €1.72 million has been drawn down to date. The other, amounting to €3.90 million, matures in 2022 and €3.12 million has been drawn down so far.

This is the 27th Socimi to debut on the MAB in 2016 and, like its predecessors, it will begin trading by means of a price fixing system.

Original story: Finanzas

Translation: Carmel Drake

Quabit Pays Its First Ever Dividend, In The Form Of Shares

3 August 2016 – El Economista

Quabit Inmobiliaria has paid its first ever dividend, by gifting shareholders one new share in the company for every twenty shares they own.

The company has paid this remuneration to its shareholders after completing the capital increase that it launched at the beginning of July to finance it.

By virtue of this operation, the real estate company chaired by Félix Abánades increased its share capital by €1.26 million, through the issue of 2.52 million new shares, with a nominal value of €0.50 each.

Quabit closed the operation in accordance with the planned timetable, which means that it had issued and handed over the shares by Monday 1 August and now it will address “the necessary steps to register the operation in the Commercial Registry and request the listing of the new shares”, as communicated to Spain’s National Securities and Exchange Commission (CNMV).

The real estate company went ahead with the capital increase, which was approved at its last general shareholders’ meeting, as it considered that the circumstances were now right to reward its shareholders, “after three years of profits and once it had strengthened its equity and financial positions, following the most recent refinancing processes and capital increases”.

Now, after several years cleaning up its books, Quabit is embarking on its growth plan for 2020, which focuses on the development of its land portfolio and so will see a return to the construction of new homes.

The plan provides for total investment of €470 million and focuses on the development of land in Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia and the Costa del Sol, and other areas that the company considers have “potential demand for housing”.

Original story: El Economista

Translation: Carmel Drake

The 4 Largest Socimis Have Raised €3,000M In 1 Year

13 June 2016 – Cinco Días

George Soros has just endorsed his commitment to the Socimi Hispania. Soros Fund Management, managed by the US magnate, subscribed once again to his share of the Socimi’s second capital increase, in which he is the majority shareholder. It is the most visible example of how international investors are still interested in these specialist listed real estate investment vehicles.

Since their creation, the four largest Socimis have raised more than €5,350 million in own funds, primarily from institutional funds and investors. In their respective debuts on the stock market, which all took place in 2014, they raised €2,600 million. Since then, all of them have also raised additional resources through capital increases. In total, they have raised €2,746 million of new financing in this way in the last 12 months.

Hispania completed the most recent operation at the beginning of June amounting to €230.6 million, and Soros participated in order to maintain his 16.7% stake, which required an investment of around €38 million. It was the second operation of its kind, after the Socimi undertook an accelerated placement in 2015 to raise a further €337 million. Its main investors include the international funds Paulson&Co and FMR.

The special tax framework that applies to Socimis, which has revitalised these firms since 2014, establishes that they are exempt from Corporation Tax, although they are obliged to distribute an annual dividend, on which its shareholders are taxed. These structures, which already existed in the USA (known there as REITs), have attracted international funds, who are backing the recovery of the real estate sector in Spain. The assets of the large Socimis, worth €9,235 million at the end of 2015, are rented out and include office buildings, shopping centres, bank branches, other premises, hotels and logistics warehouses.

The largest Socimi Merlin Properties, which is listed on the Ibex 35, has also completed two capital increases to raise €1,650 million. It completed its second round in August 2015, to raise €1,034 million, the largest in this sector. Following its purchase of Testa from Sacyr, the company chaired by Ismael Clemente now owns assets worth more than €6,050 million. Its shareholder structure is very fragmented and includes fund such as Blackrock, Invesco and Principal Financial Group.

Axiare Patrimonio, led by Luis López de Herrera-Oria, also raised €395 million in a capital increase last June. Finally, Lar España – which specialises in shopping centres – issued new shares worth €135 million last summer.

Original story: Cinco Días (by Alfonso Simón Ruiz)

Translation: Carmel Drake

GMP Will Debut On Stock Exchange Before Oct 2016

10 November 2015 – Cinco Días

One of the real estate companies that owns some of the best office buildings in Madrid will debut on the stock exchange before October 2016. GMP Property, which was constituted as a Socimi in September last year, has up to two years to list on the stock market, and it seems like the company’s managers are going to maximise that period – by all accounts, they are in no hurry to take the step, but they are already working to prepare the company to that end.

GMP Property is controlled by the Montoro family, which founded the company in 1979, as a pure real estate company, in other words, a company dedicated to the generation of income, primarily from office rentals. The GIC Real Estate International division of the Singapore sovereign fund acquired a stake in the company as part of GMP’s strategy to become a Socimi in September last year. It purchased 30% of the real estate company for €200 million, which meant that the company’s market value then stood at around €670 million.

That is an indication of the potential value of the real estate company on the stock exchange, although the company says that its market capitalisation is greater now than when GIC acquired its stake, given the better climate for economic activity in Spain and thanks to the new properties that the company has incorporated into its portfolio. “GMP is undoubtedly worth more now than a year ago”, said Xavier Barrondo, the CEO of GMP.

In this way, it will become one of the largest Socimis in Spain, alongside Merlin, Axiare, Hispania and Lar España. Zambal is the Socimi that is expected to debut on the stock market next. It is owned by the French fund IBA Capital and holds properties such as the ABC Serrano shopping centre in Madrid and Zara’s flagship store on Calle Preciados. The Socimis have the advantage that they do not pay corporation tax, but they are obliged to pay dividends to their shareholders. Moreover, they have a maximum period of two years to debut on the stock exchange.

Shareholder stability

Once listed, the managers of GMP intend to maintain the union of current shareholders, which includes the Montoro family and GIC. “It is a long-term strategic alliance”, says Barrondo. For this reason, the Socimi will only list the minimum number of shares known as free float on the stock exchange, for a small value, estimated at €2 million.

The Singapore fund holds its stake in GMP through another Socimi, known as Euro Cervantes. That company also holds other investments in Spain, primarily in shopping centres, such as La Maquinista (Barcelona) and Habaneras (Torrevieja, Alicante). The latest data available for GMP, from its annual report for 2014, indicates that the gross value of the company’s assets amounted to €1,282 million as at December 2014. (…).

Some of the most iconic buildings in its portfolio include the BBVA Tower on the Castellana, the historical headquarters of Banco Bilbao, on Calle Alcalá 16 and Garrigues’ corporate headquarters on Calle Hermosilla, all in Madrid. (…).

Original story: Cinco Días (by Alfonso Simón Ruiz)

Translation: Carmel Drake