UBS Finalises Purchase of Torre Titán from España-Duero for €50M

29 December 2017 – Voz Pópuli

UBS is on the verge of closing one of the largest real estate operations of this year-end. The Swiss entity is negotiating the purchase of one of the two Titán towers, owned by Banco Ceiss (España-Duero), a subsidiary of Unicaja. The sale is in its final phase and could be closed within the next few days, for more than €50 million, according to financial sources consulted by Vozpópuli.

The final consideration may even reach €55 million, which is exactly the price that España-Duero paid Nozar for the tower in 2008. That acquisition caused a great deal of controversy at the time to the point that some of the former directors of Caja Duero were subjected to investigations, but the case was archived in the end.

The Titán towers are two 13-storey buildings constructed by Nozar in 2008. One of them is owned by Invesco (which acquired it in 2011 for €40 million) and leased to the state-owned firm Adif. The other one is owned by España-Duero and it not only houses the headquarters of Unicaja’s subsidiary but is also home to Nozar and Enagás.

Ceiss continues

This process has been led by Irea, according to El Economista, and two other consultancy firms, Knight Frank and Aguirre Newman, have also been involved, in the search for tenants for the 30,000 m2 of available space. The useful surface area for offices is 10,722 m2.

According to sources close to the operation, España-Duero is expected to commit to continue to occupy the offices. The entity is in the middle of a merger with Unicaja, after the Malagan entity acquired the 12.5% stake that it did not own in the subsidiary from the Frob.

During the IPO in the middle of this year, the heads of Unicaja expressed their intention to merge the two companies (Unicaja and Banco Ceiss). As such, observers in the market speculate that Torre Titán will serve as the new headquarters for the central services team in Madrid.

The sale of Torre Titán will be added to the list of divestments that the Unicaja Banco group has been carrying out in recent weeks. Earlier this month, it sold a portfolio of foreclosed assets to the fund Axactor, as this newspaper revealed.

Original story: Voz Pópuli (by Jorge Zuloaga)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Finaccess Increases its Stake in Colonial to 18.23%

2 December 2017 – Expansión

The Mexican group Finaccess has reaffirmed its commitment to Colonial by investing another €154 million in the real estate company, which sees its total stake increase to €630 million based on the current market value. Following this acquisition, the group chaired by Carlos Fernández has increased its stake in the real estate company from 13.76% to 18.23% and has whereby retained its position as the company’s largest shareholder.

The operation forms part of the accelerated capital increase that Colonial carried out last week to raise financing for its takeover of Axiare.

Finaccess first acquired a stake in Colonial in the summer of 2016 through an operation that saw it exchange buildings for shares in the company. Since then, the Mexican firm has increased its stake in the real estate company on several occasions.

In addition to the Mexican company, the other two main shareholders of Colonial have also announced their commitment to support the group’s capital increase, up to a total of €250 million, which is why, following the purchase of Finaccess, there will be only €100 million left to raise. After Finaccess, the next largest stakes are held by the Qatar sovereign fund, which currently holds a 10.6% stake, and the Santo Domingo group, with a 7.3% stake. The Puig family, with a 5%, has declined to comment.

On Tuesday, Colonial closed a free capital increase that, together with the placement of its treasury shares, allowed it to raise €416.23 million. The operation followed the issue of €800 million in bonds placed last week. The two operations will contribute a total of €1.216 billion, compared with the €1.033 billion required. Colonial saw its share price close at €8 on Friday, after rising by 0.79% during trading.

Original story: Expansión (by M. Anglés)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Metrovacesa Sells an Office Building Still Under Construction to Axiare

22 November 2017 – Expansión

The real estate company controlled by Santander and BBVA has sold a building, located in Madrid and still under construction, to the Socimi for €30 million.

The Socimi Axiare is continuing to expand its portfolio, whilst its counterpart Colonial is pushing ahead with its plans to buy the company. The group led by Luis López de Herrera Oria has closed the purchase of an office building, located on Calle Josefa Valcárcel in Madrid.

Axiare has paid its former owner, Metrovacesa, €29.7 million for the property, which is still under construction, as reported by the Socimi to Spain’s National Securities and Exchange Commission (CNMV).

The project under construction includes a gross leasable area for offices of 8,652 m2, spread over seven floors, as well as two underground floors, which will contain 261 parking spaces. The construction work on this building is expected to be completed during the last quarter of 2018.

The property forms part of a small real estate portfolio that Metrovacesa held onto after transferring its non-residential buildings to the Socimi Merlin Properties in an operation closed in October 2016. Specifically, this project emerged from the final investment plans of Román Sanahuja, owner and President of Metrovacesa prior to 2008, when the real estate company ended up in the hands of its creditor banks.

Following this purchase, Axiare has a portfolio of assets worth €1.74 billion, dedicated primarily to office buildings. So far this year, the Socimi has purchased seven properties, located in Madrid and Barcelona, for a total investment of €245 million. Similarly, it has assets “in an advanced stage of analysis” worth another €170 million.

On Monday 13 November, Colonial launched a takeover bid  for 100% of Axiare, in an operation worth around €1.4 billion. Before launching the public offer, Colonial, which has been Axiare’s largest shareholder since October 2016 with a 15% stake, increased its shareholding to 28%.

Colonial’s offer boosted Axiare’s share price, which now stands at around €1.453 billion, equivalent to €18.38 per share, compared with the takeover offer price of €18.50.

Original story: Expansión (by Rocío Ruiz)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Grupo Villar Mir Sells Final 1.51% Stake In Colonial

10 July 2017 – El Mundo

Grupo Villar Mir has definitively exited the share capital of the real estate company Colonial by selling the 1.51% stake that it still owned in the Socimi. The shareholding that has been sold is worth around €40 million on the basis of current market prices.

The corporation owned by Juan Miguel Villar Mir has thereby brought to an end its phase as a shareholder of the real estate company, which began in January 2014 – at its height, the Group was the largest shareholder, with a 24% stake. Villar Mir first invested in the real estate company Colonial when that firm was in the middle of its restructuring and clean up process, and it has exited it days after the firm returned to the Ibex 35 and became a Socimi.

Specifically, the corporation has sold the 5.42 million shares that it still owned directly in the real estate firm, through Espacio Activos Financieros, a package equivalent to a 1.51% stake of its share capital, according to the registers of Spain’s National Securities and Exchange Commission (CNMV).

Grupo Villar Mir also owned another 3.21% of Colonial indirectly, through various financial instruments. Those shares have been “loaned to hedge a financial operation”, according to the supervisor’s register.

In this way, the corporation concludes just over three years as a shareholder of Colonial, after leaving the Board of Directors in December 2016, when it decreased its stake in the company to just 3.3%.

Subsequently, in January 2017, it decreased its percentage to 1.5%, which is the stake that it is now selling.

Finaccess, current largest shareholder

Currently, the Mexican group Finaccess is the largest shareholder of Colonial; following its recent share purchase, it now owns 13.76% of the share capital. The Qatar sovereign fund is the second largest shareholder of the company chaired by Juan José Brugera, with a stake of 11.7%. The next largest shareholders are the Colombian firm Santo Domingo (6.1%) and the Puig family, which recently acquired a 5.10% stake.

On 19 June 2017, Colonial returned to the Madrid Stock Exchange’s Ibex 35, nine years after leaving the exclusive group. The firm owns a portfolio of office buildings for rent in the centre of Madrid, Barcelona and Paris, with a combined surface area of 866,000 m2 and a value of around €8,000 million.

With its return to the Ibex, Colonial completed the restructuring and clean-up process that it began in 2015. After that, it undertook a growth strategy through which it has now made investments amounting to €1,760 million through various operations, ranging from the purchase of assets to increasing its stake in its French subsidiary Société Foncière Lyonnaise (SFL), and acquiring capital in another Socimi, Axiare.

Original story: El Mundo

Translation: Carmel Drake

Intu Sells 50% Of Xanadú To TH Real Estate For €264.4M

31 May 2017 – Europa Press

The British firm Intu has sold 50% of the Xanadú shopping centre, located in the Madrilenian town of Arroyomolinos, to TH Real Estate for €264.4 million. That figure represents 50% of the price that Intu paid to the Canadian group Ivanhoé Cambridge for the whole establishment back in March.

In this way, Intu and TH Real Estate are creating a joint venture to manage the ownership of the shopping centre, including the Snowzone, the only indoor ski slope in Spain, according to a statement issued by the British firm. Cushman & Wakefield introduced and advised TH Real Estate as a partner to Intu in the creation of that joint venture.

“We are delighted to announce our new partnership with TH Real Estate and we look forward to working together on a series of active management opportunities to improve and strengthen the position and offering of Madrid Xanadú”, said the CEO of Intu, David Fischel.

Xanadú, which has an occupancy rate of 97%, is currently home to more than 220 stores. Its tenants include Inditex, El Corte Inglés and Primark, and it has a gross leasable area (GLA) of 153,000 m2 plus 8,000 parking spaces.

The shopping centre, which receives 13 million visitors per year, has a clear focus on leisure, given that its facilities include the only indoor ski slope in Spain, 15 cinema screens, a bowling alley and almost 40 restaurants. It also plans to open an Aquarium and a Nickelodeon centre this year.

The aim of the British firm, which is now working hand in hand with its partner, is to transform the centre into the resort of choice in the area. It plans to renew the offering, revitalise the space, undertake a digital transformation, as well as invest in the image, all with the aim of converting the centre into an attractive tourist destination where visitors can spend their leisure and free time.

Original story: Europa Press

Translation: Carmel Drake

CBRE GI Buys 70% Of H2O Rivas Shopping Centre

22 May 2017 – Expansión

CBRE Global Investors has acquired 70% of the H2O Rivas shopping centre – located in Rivas-Vaciamadrid (Madrid) – from Alpha Real Trust, which will hold onto the remaining 30% of the share capital.

The operation, which has been carried out through a joint venture, is expected to close at the end of June, after a series of conditions to which the purchase is subject have been fulfilled. As part of the agreement, Alpha Real Capital – investment manager and the main shareholder of Alpha Real Trust Limited – will continue managing the asset.

Although neither the buyer nor the seller have disclosed the amount paid in the transaction, market sources value the asset at between €150 million and €200 million. The entry of new shareholders and the recent acquisition of an additional plot of land will allow the asset to be renovated, and for the shopping centre to be expanded.

Alpha Real Trust purchased H2O Rivas from Avantis for €83 million in 2010. Since then, it has promoted the modernisation of the asset and H2O has gone from receiving 5.7 million visitors in 2010 to 7.7 million last year.

Inaugurated in 2007, the asset has a surface area of 52,000 m2 and comprises 130 stores spread over two floors. The shopping centre, which has an occupancy rate of 92%, also has an artificial lake and a garden area. Its tenants include Mercadona, H&M and seven brands from the Inditex group, including Zara.

Original story: Expansión (R.Arroyo)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Värde Acquires 40% Of La Finca Global Assets For €103M

15 February 2017 – El Economista

The US fund Värde is making progress with its plans to consolidate its position within the Spanish real estate sector. Last year, it launched Dospuntos, with the aim of becoming one of the main residential property developers in the country, and now it has acquired a stake in the real estate company Procisa (recently converted into Grupo LaFinca), a move that positions it as a key player in the office market in Madrid.

According to industry sources, the fund has paid €103 million for a 40% stake in LaFinca Global Assets, the firm that owns the business-related properties of the real estate company, which is in turn controlled by the García Cereceda family.

Specifically, as a result of this operation, which was advised by Alantra, Värde has become the owner of a portfolio containing 230,000 m2 of rental space – with an occupancy rate of more than 90% – as well as 6,200 parking spaces in Madrid. The jewel in the crown of this portfolio is the La Finca Business Park in Pozuelo de Alarcón, where the real estate company owns the luxury urbanisation of the same name and where many important footballers and multi-millionaires live. The group’s most iconic assets include the Cardenal Marcelo Spinola office complex and the Martínez Villergas Business Park.

LaFinca Global Asset’s new phase started with a €155 million loan from a handful of financial entities, including Allianz Real Estate as the main lender. According to the firm, this long-term loan forms part of a financing arrangement worth €395 million, which will be used to renovate and improve its office assets, as well as to acquire new properties.

“Having a partner like Allianz Real Estate, with its long-term vision and financial stability, supports our company’s strategy”, said Susana García Cerceda, President of Grupo LaFinca.

For Allianz RE, which opened an office in Madrid last year, this represents its third real estate debt operation in Spain.

Original story: El Economista (by Javier Mesones and Alba Brualla)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Hispania Gets Ready To Debut On The Bond Market

17 January 2017 – Cinco Días

The Socimi Hispania is planning to join the bond issues undertaken in recent months by other major players in the sector, including Merlin and Colonial, with the aim of diversifying its financing. To this end, it has already started to sound out the ratings agencies. Its objective is to obtain an investment grade rating for its securities.

Hispania Activos Inmobiliarios is studying the option of debuting on the capital markets with a bond issue to refinance some of its gross debt, which currently amounts to €631 million, according to sources familiar with the operation.

The Socimi has already started the process to request a rating from the ratings agencies, with the aim of launching the operation during the first few months of the year.

The firm has made contact with the three large players –Standard & Poor’s, Moody’s and Fitch–, although it will not need a rating from all of them, rather from just one of them or two at most. The aim is to achieve an investment grade rating – BBB – or Baa3 – , which would allow it to debut on the capital markets at a reasonable cost.

Hispania, in which the magnate George Soros owns a 16% stake, will thereby join the other bond issues undertaken recently by other companies in the sector.

The Socimi Merlin Properties – which forms part of the Ibex 35 – went to the market in October with a 10-year bond placement amounting to €800 million. The current yield on that debt is 2.3%. It has a Baa2 rating, which is one notch above the limit that separates junk bonds from investment grade securities, according to Moody’s nomenclature. Moreover, Merlin has assumed another €1,550 million in bonds from two bond issues made by Metrovacesa, with which it completed its merger at the end of October. (…).

Hispania’s current debt has an average maturity period of 7.2 years and €497 million of the balance is due to be repaid from 2022 onwards. The current average debt cost is 2.7%. Hispania also has hedges in place to avoid any surprises if interest rates rise. 96% of its debt is guaranteed. (…).

In general terms, the optimal balance sheet structure of these types of companies rests on three pillars: bank debt with an additional guarantee – in the majority of cases, properties from the company’s portfolio – , unsecured financial loans and listed debt.

With the proceeds that it raises from the bond issue, Hispania plans to repay some of its current debt balance. It would thereby take advantage of the good conditions in the market with liquidity and the environment of low interest rates. This company, created in 2014 under the special tax regime for Socimis, is led by Concha Osácar and Fernando Gumuzio, and is managed by Azora. In addition to Soros, its shareholders include the funds Fidelity, FMR, Tamerlane and BlackRock.

Hotel specialist

Hispania’s portfolio of real estate assets closed the third quarter of 2016 with an appraisal value of €1,680 million. The Socimi owns 36 hotels in Spain with 10,407 rooms. 68% of the value of those assets is located in the Canary Islands and 64% is managed by Barceló, with which it has signed a strategic alliance. The Socimi recently purchased three properties in the Cala San Miguel in Ibiza (pictured above) for €32 million.

Original story: Cinco Días (by A. Simón and R.M. Simón)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Baraka Teams Up With Riu To Promote Edificio España Hotel

13 January 2017 – Cinco Días

The Baraka group has taken a giant step forward in its acquisition of Edificio España from the Chinese holding company Wanda. The company, through which the Murcian businessman Trinitario Casanova is handling the operation, has announced the launch of a joint venture with the hotel chain Riu.

Through this joint company, Rui will hold a stake in the property amounting to between 25% and 30%. Sources close to the agreement indicate that the hotel chain will participate as an investor through the joint venture for the acquisition and renovation of the building, which is actually still owned by the Chinese group Wanda.

The Mallorcan hotel chain, founded by the Riu family, in which the tour operator giant Tui owns a 49% stake, will also manage the future five-star hotel in Edificio España, which will operate under its Riu Plaza brand under a long-term lease contract. It will be the first property to operate under the brand in Spain, which was created in 2010 and which specialises in urban destinations, such as New York and Miami in the USA, Guadalajara in Mexico and Berlin in Germany.

The future establishment, which may open its doors at the end of 2018, will have almost 700 rooms, spread over 22 floors and will have a surface area of just under 70,000 m2. It will join six other properties operated under the same brand across Europe and America. (…).

Riu operates more than 100 hotels across 18 counties and each year receives more than 4 million clients, which means that the future hotel in Edificio España will have a very international profile.

Meanwhile, Baraka also made a second payment for the historical building yesterday, amounting to €14 million….the final operation must be signed before 31 March 2017, at which point the Murcian businessman will have to pay the remaining balance to make up the figure of €272 million agreed with the Chinese group.

Casanova reached an agreement with Dalian Wanda to purchase the property in July. The Chinese investor Wang Jianlin had purchased the building from Santander in 2014 for €265 million, but his plans to demolish the building and reconstruct it were never approved by the Town Hall ruled by Manuela Carmena.

Casanova had been looking for a partner to deal with the renovation of the property, which will have an additional cost of around €200 million. The businessman was looking for an operator for the hotel with which he could sign a fixed lease contract, which caused the major international chains to withdraw their interest. And that, despite the fact that Baraka managed to negotiate a 30 year contract with the US group Hard Rock. (…).

Original story: Cinco Días (by A.S. and L.S.)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Marina d’Or Has Sold Off Assets Worth €330M

14 June 2016 – Expansión

The real estate empire constructed by Marina d’Or in Oropesa de Mar (Castellón) is changing hands, but for the time being, its new owners have little to do with the Chinese group Wanda, despite the rumours that were rife just a few months ago.

The company into which the owner of Marina d’Or, Jesús Ger, has grouped together his real estate business, Comercializadora Mediterránea de Viviendas (Comervi), disposed of properties and land (in 2014), worth €330 million at the time. In most cases, banks were involved in these transfers, given that Comervi filed for bankruptcy in 2014.

The most notable operation to date affects the subsidiary Platja Amplaries, a company created in 2011 with Banco Popular to hold properties and land financed by that entity. In December 2014, two companies headquartered in Luxembourg, created just a few months earlier, Ecol Investment and Trans Investment, took control of the firm, owned until then by Comervi (75%) and the bank, through Aliseda (25%).

The two companies acquired a 49.73% stake each and Comervi retained just 0.54%, following a capital increase that did not involve the contribution of any new funds, but rather the transformation of a €27.7 million loan, granted by the former shareholders, into capital.

Apartments and debt

Platja Amplaries is the owner of assets including apartments in Marina d’Or worth €91 million – which the group rents out or has put up for sale – and land that Marina d’Or acquired in different areas of the province of Castellón worth €163 million. Its debt amounts to €266 million, and is all borrowed from Popular.

None of the vendors has revealed the identity of the owners of the Luxembourg-based companies. Comervi’s financial statements for 2014 reflect the transfer, which allowed the company to increase its net equity by €147 million, according to the audit report, which was not prepared until April 2016.

This was not the only transfer that took place. The financial statements also reflect the sale of properties worth almost €80 million to a bank in exchange for debt. Thanks to these operations, Comervi reduced its total liabilities from €528 million in 2013 to around €240 million by the end of 2014, of which €194 million corresponded to bankrupt liabilities. The creditors include Public Administrations, owed €68.5 million, and Sareb, which has called for the rescission of certain corporate transactions, according to the financial statements.

Original story: Expansión (by A.C.A)

Translation: Carmel Drake