4 October 2016 – Cinco Días
The former hotel and real estate empire Marina d’Or has launched an aggressive marketing campaign to raise revenues. It has put apartments up for sale from as little as €130,000 and retail premises from €200,000, with a “guaranteed” return of 7%.
The empire created by Jesús Ger began to crumble at the same time as the real estate bubble burst in Spain. The Holiday City, which was advertised in the City of London as the best place to spend the summer and as a golden retirement destination for British pensioners, is resorting to aggressive marketing techniques once again to increase its sales in the short term.
The key to the campaign, which is featuring in most national newspapers, is the slogan… “Guaranteed returns of 7%”. The small print explains that these investment opportunities relate to fully operational retail premises, with an established client base, as well as beach-front apartments. It specifies that the return of 7% with guaranteed rent will be over “1, 2 3 or more years, depending on the agreement”.
The reality is that the entity selling these assets is the hotel subsidiary of the group, which has not filed for bankruptcy, unlike its property developer associate.
Hoteles Marina d’Or has been selling homes and retail premises from €130,000 and €200,000, respectively, since the summer. In theory, the guaranteed return used to be 4%, but in September, that figure was increased to 7%.
How does it work?
The mechanism is simple. The company undertakes to pay that percentage over the purchase price on the basis of a signed contract, if the owner grants it the right to rent out its property in return. “In reality, they are apartments that the hotels already manage and given their locations, it is almost certain that they will be occupied; and as such, we are able to promise such returns”, said a sales agent from Marina d’Or. A spokesperson for the firm added that the sale of these apartments represents a direct cash injection and allows them to consider using this formula with more homes in the future. (…).
The hotel and real estate complex, which has half a dozen hotels, ranging from three- to five-star categories, is also home to several leisure facilities and a large spa. (…) The company, which guarantees annual interest of more than €9,000 per year for a flat costing €130,000, held own funds amounting to €86.2 million at the end of 2014, the last period for which accounts have been deposited in the commercial registry.
The company generated revenues of €38.6 million in 2014, in line with the preceding year. Its profit amounted to €627,000, compared with a loss of more than €1 million in 2013. The debt repayment calendar of Hoteles Marina d’Or, a limited company that is fully owned by Jesús Ger, was clear at the end of 2014. Last year, it had to repay €1.2 million; this year €1.4 million; and in 2017, €2.8 million. In 2018, the amount will increase to €4.6 million and from 2019, to €87.5 million. In total, the company’s debt amounts to almost €100 million. (…)
The return means multiplying the average interest rate on one- and two-year deposits by 30, given that on average such deposits paid out 0.23% in July. Nevertheless, the return is not quite so far-fetched in the real estate world. Sources in the sector acknowledge that it is high, given that holiday apartments offer around 4% in their contracts, and that it depends on the tourist occupancy rates in the area. In any case, there is a risk, given that the hotel company is responsible for paying that interest rate.
Original story: Cinco Días (by Pablo M. Simón y Laura Salces)
Translation: Carmel Drake