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