Sonae Bids to Buy Back Shopping Centres in Spain While Selling Three in Portugal

15 June 2018

The group, pressured by its partner, put three shopping centres on sale in Spain. It plans now to bid to keep the three on its own in a deal valued at 500MM, achieving liquidity through the sale of similar assets in Portugal.

The shopping centre giant, Sonae Sierra, has decided to go to the market twice in one go. The company, whose hand has been forced by its partner, the fund manager CBRE Global Investors, has started the process of selling Gran Casa (Zaragoza), Valle Real (Cantabria) and Max Center (Vizcaya) in Spain.

However, several sources confirmed that the Portuguese group does not share the American fund’s desire to sell, although it has had to accept the sale after the completion of the original investment period. The company has now decided to bid for the three shopping centres itself, with the advantage that it already owns 50% of the capital.

In parallel, and perhaps as a way to obtain liquidity, Sonae has decided to sell RioSul Shopping, a mall with 44,475 square meters of gross leasable area in ​​the Portuguese city of Seixal (Setúbal), where it and its partner, Rockspring, each own 50% of the capital in deal that began in 2006.

The company has also put two other complexes on sale, both of which are located in the city of Porto: Arrábida Shopping, which has 60,733 square meters, and Gaia Shopping, with 59,695 square meters. Sonae declined to comment on the matter.

The two parallel transactions are expected to continue until the end of the year, since the sale of the three Spanish centres, entrusted to CBRE and JLL, is expected to conclude in the last quarter of this year.

The portfolio has been valued at 500 million euros, and Sonae would need about 250 million to buy CBRE’s participation.

The divestment of the three Portuguese centres, though no sales figure has been provided as the official launch of the sale of Gaia and Arrábida is still being prepared, is expected to exceed this figure comfortably.

In all these cases, the Portuguese giant is a shareholder through the Sierra Fund, a vehicle where Sonae shares interests with several international investment partners.

Sonae Sierra has a portfolio of 46 shopping centres scattered throughout Europe and South America, totalling 1.9 million square meters of gross leasable area and a market value of 7 billion euros.

In Spain, the company owns the Área Sur (Jerez, Cádiz), Dos Mares (San Javier, Murcia), Luz del Tajo (Toledo) and Plaza Mayor (Malaga), as well as the Gran Casa, Max Center and Valle Real.

Original Story: El Confidencial – Ruth Ugalde

Translation: Richard Turner