Urbania International Builds New Halls of Residence in City Centres

5 April 2018 – Inmodiario

The student hall subsidiary of Urbania International has a brand: Syllabus by Urbania. Under this name, the international property developer’s new firm is already acquiring and developing assets destined for student accommodation in major university cities, not only in Spain but also in other countries in Europe. The company is going to invest more than €200 million in the acquisition and development of these kinds of assets, with the aim of generating 4,000 beds over the next three years.

At the helm of Syllabus by Urbania is Jeffrey Sújar, who was appointed as CEO of the firm in March. According to Sújar, “the aim of Syllabus is to improve the existing student hall supply in the most attractive cities for students, in the best urban locations, creating high-quality spaces, with contemporary designs and a unique supply of services in the sector”.

Strategic alliance with “Mi Casa Inn”

With this in mind, Syllabus has already signed a strategic agreement with the specialist manager Mi Casa Inn for the operation of its properties. Mi Casa Inn (MCI) currently operates seven halls of residence, containing 500 beds, and is the leader and benchmark player in the urban hall segment focusing on international students, where it has been working for more than eight years.

Syllabus and Mi Casa Inn have already started to acquire assets with a flurry of activity in cities such as Madrid, Valencia, Sevilla, Málaga and Barcelona, amongst others, and currently have a portfolio of 1,500 beds under development. They plan to extend their activity to the main university cities in other European countries in the short term.

360º experience

Syllabus and MCI develop a concept that is very different from traditional halls of residence and colleges located on campus or close to universities. The aim of the company is to create spaces where students can live a 360º experience in the heart of cities, where they can mature and develop themselves individually. “It is a more contemporary version of the classic hall of residence”, says Jeffrey Sújar, “adapted to the lifestyle of international young people, giving them a high degree of independence to allow them to meet and live alongside students from very different countries and cultures”.

As such, we have chosen central, urban environments, “where it all happens” and where Syllabus will adapt and construct buildings in which students can live more of a co-living experience than that of a traditional boarder.

Original story: Inmodiario

Translation: Carmel Drake

Taylor Wimpey & La Cala Resort Invest €11M In New Project In Mijas

27 September 2017 – Inmodiario

The collaboration between the Spanish subsidiary of the British property developer Taylor Wimpey Plc and the Irish hotel chain FBD Hotels and Resorts is pushing ahead. On Thursday 21 September, Taylor Wimpey España and La Cala Resort convened media and real estate agencies to unveil the new show home, which represents the launch of the sale of the 2nd and 3rd phases of the Horizon Golf development in La Cala de Mijas. This new initiative between the two large companies will involve an investment of approximately €11 million.

It is worth remembering that the strategic alliance signed between the two companies will result in the construction of more than 600 homes over the next ten years, with forecast investment of more than €125,000,000.

Currently, Taylor Wimpey España is selling 2- and 3-bedroom homes in the 48-unit Horizon Golf Apartments development. Asking prices start at €280,000 and the first phase of properties, which have all been sold already, is expected to be ready by March. The second phase, comprising 18 apartments, is currently being sold.

Similarly, also in Horizon Golf Adosados in the La Cala Resort in Mijas, Taylor Wimpey is selling 55 terraced homes. The first phase has been completely sold and those homes will be handed over to their owners before the end of the year.

The second phase is currently up for sale and has been since March, with asking prices starting at €410,000. Those homes are expected to be finished by June 2018. The third phase was the one presented last week.

Through this alliance with Taylor Wimpey, La Cala Resort is not only consolidating its position as a unique golf and leisure destination in Spain, with three 18-hole golf courses, an exclusive 4-star hotel with 107 rooms, a spa measuring 1,300 m2, tennis, paddle and squash courts and a football pitch; it is also positioning itself as a leader of international residential tourism, with one of the best and most varied offers of residential homes in low-density complexes, with panoramic views over the golf courses, sea and mountain, and all this just 5 km from the city centre and Mijas Costa’s beaches, and just 30 minutes from Málaga airport (…).

Original story: Inmodiario (by Carmen Durán)

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

Neinver & TH Real Estate Buy Nassica Shopping Centre For €140M

8 November 2016 – Real Estate Press

TH Real Estate and Neinver have completed the purchase of the Nassica shopping centre from the private equity firm KKR for €140 million.

At the beginning of 2015, Neinver and TH Real Estate signed a strategic alliance to create a leading platform for outlet centres in Europe. Each company owns a 50% stake in the joint venture, which owns several assets in a portfolio that now also includes the complex located in Getafe (Madrid).

Nassica has a gross leasable area (GLA) of 50,200 m2 and 4,000 parking spaces. The centre receives twelve million visitors per year.

In this way, the joint venture between TH Real Estate and Neinver have acquired the complex in Getafe just two years after KKR purchased it for €100 million.

With operations in France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Spain, The Netherlands and the Czech Republic, Neinver has consolidated its position in the European retail sector and now manages 24 centres, covering a GLA of 593,000 m2, housing almost 2,000 stores and more than 1,000 exclusive national and international brands.

Original story: Real Estate Press

Translation: Carmel Drake

Barceló Sells Hotel In Tenerife To Chinese Group ‘Kangde’

23 April 2015 – Expansión

Another transaction in the Spanish hotel sector has a foreign buyer. Barceló has sold the Hotel Barceló Santiago (in Tenerife) to the Chinese group Chongqing Kangde Industrial. Negotiations began in 2013, when Barceló and Kangde signed a framework agreement to explore options together.

After more than a year of meetings, the Spanish tourism group agreed the sale of the property to Kangde. According to the Chinese group’s website, the alliance was signed during Lu Chaokang’s tour of Europe in search of investment opportunities. Chaokang, the Chairman of Kangde, visited a dozen projects in Budapest, Madrid, Barcelona and the Canary Islands.

Consideration of €50 million

The sale, which amounted to around €50 million, has not been formalised yet, as the buyer is still waiting to receive approval (of the purchase) from the Chinese government. The deadline for obtaining the backing ends in May. Nevertheless, according to industry sources, Barceló has already received confirmation that the transaction will close on time.

The Spanish chain will continue to manage the four-star hotel, which has 406 rooms and is located close to the Playa de los Gigantes. However, Kangde may be interested in renovating the property and increasing its (star) rating. In 2006, Barceló invested €7 million in the refurbishment of Hotel Santiago, which entered its portfolio in 1995. The sale of the hotel forms part of the process designed by Barceló to reduce its exposure to real estate, which has reached a historic high – (it owns) almost 63% of all of its rooms. The major milestone on this roadmap has been the creation of the Socimi, Bay, together with Hispania. Barceló will transfer 16 hotels and two shopping centres worth €421 million to the Socimi and whereby reduce the percentage of rooms it owns to 43%.

In 2014, Barceló recorded a profit of €46.4 million, up 85.6% on the previous year and a turnover of €2,056.6 million.

Original story: Expansión (by Yovanna Blanco)

Translation: Carmel Drake

KKR Considers Buying One Third Of Acciona’s RE Subsidiary

18 March 2015 – El Confidencial

The group owned by the Entrecanales family is looking for a partner to allow it to ‘ride the wave’ of the real estate recovery and has invited the US fund to be its travel companion.

KKR. The acronym of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts has become Acciona’s most important partner in recent times. Last June, the private equity giant purchased a third of the international renewable energy business owned by the Entrecanales family’s group for €417 million, and in a stroke, that allowed the Spanish group to clean up its accounts, fulfil its divestment plan six months early and rethink other sales that it had on the table, such as Bestinver and Acciona Inmobiliaria.

The sale of the latter became more attractive after the company was strengthened through the hiring of Walter de Luna, who was until then the number two at Sareb, as the CEO, and Luis Moreno, who was his right hand man at the bad bank; they joined the company with the clear challenge of designing a plan for growth. Nevertheless, that plan requires resources and, once again, Acciona’s American friend seems to be willing to help out.

According to knowledgeable sources, KKR is considering buying share capital in Acciona Inmobiliaria; and if the negotiations between the two parties go well, they will culminate in a third large transaction between the fund and the Spanish group, because, as well as having acquired the international renewable energy business from the construction company, KKR has also created a joint venture with the Spanish group, containing wind assets, the famous ‘yieldco’, which it expects to list on the Nasdaq soon.

In recent official presentations, Acciona itself has formally acknowledged the badly-kept secret that it is looking for a partner to inject the money it needs to reinvigorate its real estate subsidiary and thus be in a position to benefit from the recovery that is emerging in the sector, now that it has managed to sort out the direction of the parent company.

The book value of Acciona Inmobiliaria amounts to c. €1,500 million and market sources indicate that the goal of the Entrecanales family would be for the new partner to take ownership of around one third of its share capital. Nevertheless, other alternatives have also been put on the table (in the discussions with KKR), such as tackling projects together, since the Spanish group has (lots of) projects (in the pipeline) and the American fund has cash.

KKR’s commitment to Spain

Spain has become a priority market for KKR in Europe, where its Operations Director, the Spaniard Jesús Olmos, has been the main driver behind the firm’s growth in our country in recent years. He has led the investment of more than 2,400 million dollars in companies such as Saba, Telepizza, Uralita, Grupo Alfonso Gallardo, Port Aventura, T-Solar and, of course, Acciona. These transactions have been strengthened by the fund’s decision to open an office in Madrid and recruit Alejo Vidal-Quadras, who was the CEO of 3i España until last December.

Now, one of KKR’s next goals in our country is to position itself as a player of reference in the real estate sector, as well as to open its sphere of operation to investments in credit and to continue its growth in infrastructure.

Meanwhile, after seven years of crisis and various failed sale attempts, Acciona Inmobiliaria managed to recover in 2014 to record positive results; it closed last December with an EBITDA – earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation – of €3 million, compared with losses of €2 million a year earlier.

The group owned by the Entrecanales family values its subsidiary at €1,529 million, of which it considers around 70% (€1,199 million) to be gross gains by the group. By geographical region, 87% of the subsidiaries’ assets are located in Spain and only 13% are overseas; whereas if we analyse the subsidiary in terms of turnover, 45% relates to property (primarily residential), 37% corresponds to land in Spain, 8% is land overseas and development activity accounts for the remaining 10%.

Original story: El Confidencial (by R. Ugalde)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Hispania And Barceló Create A Resort Hotel Socimi

25 February 2015 – Hispania Press Release

Hispania and Barceló create a resort hotel Socimi (REIT) with 16 hotels and an initial targeted investment of 421 million euro.

The first investment will be the acquisition of 3,946 keys (11 hotels and 1 shopping centre) plus the option to acquire additional assets reaching more than 6,000 keys (16 hotels) and 2 shopping centres currently owned by Grupo Barceló

Hispania will invest 339 million euro for an 80.5% stake in the new company, which will become a subsidiary of Hispania

The new REIT will be the first hotel REIT exclusively focused on holiday resort, targeting a minimum of 12,000 keys in Spain

Hispania Activos Inmobiliarios, S.A. has communicated to the Spanish Stock Market Regulator, CNMV, that its subsidiary Hispania Real SOCIMI, S.A.U, (hereinafter “Hispania”) has signed an agreement with Grupo Barceló (hereinafter, Barceló) for the creation of the first hotel REIT focused on the holiday resort segment; an industry in which Spain is one of the leaders worldwide.

Part of this agreement includes the acquisition by Hispania in an initial phase of 11 hotels (3,946 keys) and 1 shopping centre. Later on, Hispania will have the option to acquire 5 additional hotels (2,151 keys) along with a second shopping centre. The agreement is subject to the successful completion of the due diligence process.

Once the transaction is completed and the option on the 5 additional hotels executed, Hispania will have invested 339 million euro, obtaining an 80.5% stake in the new REIT. Grupo Barceló will maintain 19.5% with the option to reach up to 49% through future capital increases.

Barceló will remain as the operator of the acquired hotels through lease contracts with an initial term of 15 years.

The valuation of the 16 hotels and 2 shopping centres amounts to 421 million euro. It is expected that the REIT, following the execution of the option, will have an initial equity of 187 million euro and a syndicated loan amounting to 234 million euro. Hispania’s capital contribution will amount to a maximum amount of 151 million euro (total attributable investment of 339 million euro).

The initial asset portfolio will have pro forma rental income of approximately 45 million euro (40 million euro pro forma 2014).

The Barceló assets included in this agreement comprise most of its resort portfolio in Spain, located in the Canary Islands, Andalusia and the Balearic Islands; touristic destinations which have had a strong performance during the last few years and are expected to continue consolidating their position in the future. Out of the 16 hotels, more than 90% of the rooms available are 4* category and are leaders in their respective influence areas.

Hispania and Barceló have agreed to invest together an additional 35 million euro in the short term in order to complete the repositioning and updating of some of the properties.

“Spain is the third most important touristic destination in the world, preceded only by France and the United States”, commented Concha Osácar, Board Member of Hispania. “Spain has almost twice the number of resort keys than the United States, as well as a well-diversified tourist base, with British, German and French visitors representing more than 50% of the total. This illustrates the opportunities which the industry offers in Spain”.

The agreement signed between Hispania and Barceló will allow them to start an ambitious plan focused on increasing the portfolio of the new REIT, through hotel acquisitions or incorporations of existing hotels. The purpose is at least, to duplicate the size of the initial portfolio, creating a Spanish resort portfolio managed by different leading hotel operators.

According to Concha Osácar, “our objective and that of our partner Barceló, is that the new entity becomes the first listed REIT focused solely on hotel resorts, with a diversified portfolio in terms of hotel operators, and a steady income base, through lease contracts with a strong fixed income component and enough exposure to the future increase of the Spanish tourism market. The objective of the new REIT for Hispania and Barceló, is to become an instrument with which to attract institutional capital for the Spanish hotel industry, creating new sources of capital for the hotel industry”.

From Barceló’s perspective, “as a result of this transaction, we are creating a solid alliance with one of the most active investors in the industry”. According to Barceló’s CEO, Raúl González, “after this transaction we will be in leading position to benefit from the concentration process that should take place in the Spanish hotel industry”.

Hispania has invested a total of 112 million euros, including capex for 2015, in 6 hotels (5 acquired in 2014 and 1 in 2015) managed by different hotel operators (Meliá, NH and Vincci), which could be included into the new REIT; this decision will be made by the partners during the second half of 2015.

Hispania will have invested 100% of the net proceeds raised

With this agreement, Hispania will have committed a total investment of c. 800 million euros in a total of 44 assets since its IPO on 14 March 2014.

Original press release: Hispania

Edited by: Carmel Drake

Cajamar And Cetelem Join Forces To Supply Consumer Credit

24 February 2015 – Cinco Días

Cetelem and Banco de Crédito Cooperativo (BCC), the parent company of the Cajamar Cooperative Group (Grupo Cooperativo Cajamar), have reached an agreement to form a joint venture that will specialise in the commercialisation of consumer credit in Spain, according to a press release.

The company, which will be owned by Cetelem España and BCC, will be constituted as a financial credit institution and its (primary) objective will be the distribution of personal loans and revolving credit lines (with or without credit cards) through the Cajamar Coooperative Group’s network of 1,300 branches.

BCC will contribute 49% of the initial share capital and will appoint the Chairman of the company. Cetelem will finance the remaining 51% and will appoint the CEO. BCC has been advised in this transaction by Société Générale.

Both entities agree that their commercial partnership will contribute to the development of consuming financing in Spain, thanks to Cetelem’s experience and knowledge (it is one of the most important players in the sector) and the extensive network of Cajamar Cooperative Group’s rural savings banks.

Thierry Laborde, Chairman and CEO of BNP Paribas Personal Finance, states: “We welcome this agreement, which has been established with one of the most important financial institutions in Spain. The agreement supports our development strategy based on partnerships between players in the distribution, automobile and finance sectors, in the countries in which we have a presence”.

Luis Rodriguez González, Chairman of BCC-Grupo Cajamar, reiterates his interest in consumer credit, which is a strategic activity for the 20 entities that constitute the Cajamar Cooperative Group. “This agreement confirms our on-going commitment to customers, adapting to their needs and offering them competitive, high quality products, in this case, consumer financing”. For this reason, “we are delighted about our alliance with Cetelem, the market leader in consumer credit and a global leader, renowned for its capacity for innovation, technological development and financial services”.

Original story: Cinco Días

Translation: Carmel Drake

Neinver Joins Forces With Colony To Buy 16 Logistics Centres

29 January 2015 – Expansión

The Spanish real estate company Neinver, which specialises in the development and management of outlet centres in Europe, has signed an agreement with Colony Capital to buy 16 logistics platforms mainly located in Spain plus two in Portugal.

The purchase will form part of a joint venture created by both companies to invest a budget of €200 million in the Spanish and Portuguese real estate sectors. According to market sources, Neinver and Colony will have invested around €50 million on their first purchase.

The transaction was performed as a sale & leaseback arrangement, whereby the existing owner transfers ownership and remains as the tenant. These platforms are mainly located in Madrid, Zaragoza, Sevilla, Valencia and Lisbon.

Original story: Expansión

Translation: Carmel Drake

Car Parks: Isolux Joins Forces With Oak Hill

28 January 2015 – Expansión

Cash inflow of €100 million / The group, which is in the middle of an IPO, has granted its new partner the option to buy its car park business from 2019.

Isolux has strengthened its car park subsidiary, one of the outstanding loose ends in its business, which will become more attractive through this transaction, as the company continues with its plans to go public in mid-February. Specifically, the Spanish group has signed an agreement with the fund Oak Hill Capital Partners to jointly develop the business.

The investment firm has injected €100 million into the company in the form of a loan, which is fully intended to increase the company’s portfolio of assets. In return, Isolux has granted Oak Hill an option to take ownership of the car park subsidiary from 2019.

The agreement transforms Isolux Infrastructure into one of the most active competitors in the Spanish parking sector. The car park business map has undergone a profound transformation in the last year, due to: the divestment processes that are underway (the sale of the market leader, Empark); the merger of companies (Mutua Madrileña and EQT have created a joint venture); and the award of large public concessions (Saba has acquired car parks from the Ayuntamiento de Barcelona, as well as some of those previously owned by Aena).

Currently, Isolux is one of the largest operators in the sector, with almost 24,000 parking spaces; it generated revenues of €14 million to September last year and a gross operating profit (EBITDA) of €8 million during the same period.

The agreement with Oak Hill, signed last year, ends a period of uncertainty for this branch of Isolux’s activity, which it had put up for sale after other attempts to form strategic alliances had fallen through. At the beginning of 2013, the Spanish group signed a preliminary agreement with the French fund Edifice Capital for the investment of €150 million between 2013 and 2014. The resources were going to be used to purchase new car parks with the aim of reaching 50,000 spaces in total. Surprisingly, the French firm did not keep to its word and withdrew from the project.

(….)

Original story: Expansión (by C. Morán)

Translation: Carmel Drake