Floorfy Increases its Real Estate Clients by 50% Since the Start of the Crisis

The start-up, in which Wayra holds a stake, forecasts that the majority of online visits will be made to virtualised properties by 2025.

Floorfy, the startup specialising in tours and virtual reality for real estate companies, in which Wayra Spain – Telefónica’s innovation hub – owns a stake, has increased its real estate clients by 50% since the start of the crisis, according to reports by the company itself.

“Customers have continued to make up to half a million virtual visits, using Floorfy’s technology, which allows buyers and prospective tenants to visit many more properties virtually than they could if they had to physically move around to see them. This solution is already making it possible for rental and sale-purchase contracts to be signed for properties throughout Spain,” say sources from the startup.

Telefónica Sells Headquarters on Barcelona’s Plaça de Catalunya for €100 Million

19 November 2019 – The Spanish telecoms firm Telefónica has sold its historic headquarters located at the corner of Plaça de Catalunya and Portal de l’Àngel to the Basque executive Daniel Maté for one hundred million euros.

Telefónica had announced its intention to sell the asset in March through a private auction without the intermediation of any real estate consultants.

Telefónica will continue to lease the building for the moment. The Movistar Center operates on the first floor, with offices on the rest.

Mr Maté had also already acquired a portfolio of four buildings from Telefónica a few years ago for a total of fifty million euros. The executive converted the properties, in Madrid, Barcelona and Santander, into residential flats.

Original Story: Eje Prime

Adaptation/Translation: Richard D. K. Turner

Blackstone Finalises the Purchase of Torre Tarragona from UBS

5 June 2019 – Cinco Días

The US fund Blackstone is negotiating the purchase of Torre Tarragona in Barcelona from UBS, according to several sources in the sector. The deal looks set to become the third major operation in the city’s office market this year after Naturgy sold its headquarters to Colonial and Telefónica sold its Diagonal 00 property to Emperador.

UBS Global Asset Management acquired Torre Tarragona in 2015 for €72 million from Omega Capital, the family office owed by Alicia Koplowitz. Now, having invested €10 million in a comprehensive renovation, the Swiss bank is hoping to sell the property for between €100 million and €110 million.

Torre Tarragona is located close to the Sants train station in the Catalan capital and spans a surface area of 18,150m2 spread over 19 floors. It has 250 parking spaces and its main tenant is Pepsico, together with other companies, such as the technological firm Acens (a subsidiary of Telefónica), Quercus and the laboratory Gentic.

Original story: Cinco Días (by Alfonso Simón Ruiz)

Translation/Summary: Carmel Drake

Telefónica Finalises the Sale of its Catalan Headquarters

4 May 2019 – Expansión

Telefónica is on the verge of selling its headquarters in Barcelona for more than €150 million in a sale and leaseback operation that will see the group continue to occupy 8 floors of the property, but on a rental basis.

The 16-storey skyscraper, known as Diagonal 00, has a surface area of 34,000 m2 and is located next to the Fòrum on the edge of the 22@ district. The property was constructed by the Consortium of the Zona Franca in Barcelona (CZF) as a turnkey project for Telefónica, which moved in in 2011.

The telecommunications giant went on to purchase the property from CZF in 2014 for €107 million plus VAT (€129.4 million) and is now selling it as part of its debt reduction process, which has already seen it divest businesses in Central America and the insurance company Antares.

Original story: Expansión (by M. Anglés & I. del Castillo)

Translation/Summary: Carmel Drake

Merlin Teams Up with Telefónica to Digitalise the Management of its c.150 Office Buildings

21 April 2019 – Expansión

Merlin has joined forces with Telefónica to digitalise and centralise the management and maintenance of its c. 150 offices, which are primarily located in Madrid and Barcelona, and which span a combined surface area of 1.3 million m2.

The aim of the initiative is to optimise the efficiency of the buildings’ operations and, above all to save costs, especially on the energy side. It forms part of the Socimi’s wider commitment to the digitalisation of its property portfolio.

A new digital headquarters will be set up to centrally manage the operations and maintenance of the Socimi’s offices, from where it will be possible to turn off the lights, change the temperature and take into account any breakdowns in any of the properties.

Merlin’s office portfolio includes several iconic assets, such as Torre Glòries in Barcelona, one of the four skyscrapers in Madrid, several assets on Paseo de la Castellana and properties on Calle Balmes and La Diagonal in the Catalan capital.

Original story: Expansión 

Translation/Summary: Carmel Drake

Telefónica Finalises the Sale of 25 Data Centres for €600M

15 April 2019 – Expansión

The telecommunications giant Telefónica is expected to complete the sale of a portfolio of 25 data centres located in the USA, Europe and Latin America after Easter, as it continues its efforts to reduce its debt.

One of the best-positioned candidates in the bid to acquire the assets is Asterion Industrial Partners, a fund founded by Jesús Olmos, former Director of KKR, in November, which has already fought off competition from the infrastructure fund Brookfield, amongst others.

Two other investment vehicles have also reportedly expressed significant interest in acquiring the portfolio, namely, EQT and I-Squared Capital, as have two companies in the sector, the US firms Digital Realty and Equinix.

Of the portfolio of assets, eight centres are located in Spain, three in Brazil, three in Colombia, three in Ecuador, two in Peru, two in Chile, two in Argentina, one in Miami and one in Mexico.

With this new divestment, which is expected to generate proceeds of around €600 million, Telefónica will succeed in reducing its debt below €40 billion.

Original story: Expansión (by D.B., M.Á.P., I.C. and R.C.)

Translation/Summary: Carmel Drake

Telefónica to Sell an Historic Office Building in Barcelona for c. €110M

15 March 2019 – Expansión

Telefónica is putting one of its oldest buildings in Barcelona up for sale. The property, constructed in 1928, is located in Plaza Catalunya on Calle Fontanella and has a surface area of 8,530 m2 distributed over eleven above-ground floors and a basement.

The asking price stands at around €110 million and Telefónica, which occupies the whole building, is expected to continue as the tenant following the operation, in a deal known as a sale & leaseback.

The lower three floors of the building are currently occupied by Movistar Centre, an initiative from Telefónica, similar to a flagship store, which allows the public to try out the latest mobile phone technology.

According to the initial plans, Telefónica could close the sale of this property during the first half of this year, or early during the second half. Potential buyers include funds, Socimis and other investors.

Original story: Expansión (by Rebeca Arroyo & Ignacio del Castillo)

Translation/Summary: Carmel Drake

Segro Purchases 44,500 m2 of Land for Industrial Development in Madrid

11 October 2018 – Eje Prime

Segro is increasing its commitment to the Spanish logistics sector. The British Socimi, which specialises in the industrial segment, has purchased 44,500 m2 of land on which it is going to build two urban distribution centres in Madrid.

The first logistics space is going to be located in the south of the Spanish capital. The centre, spanning a surface area of 33,500 m2, will be located in the district of Villaverde, an area that is home to multinationals such as Telefónica, Repsol and Air Liquide.

The Socimi is also planning to build a second warehouse measuring 11,000 m2 in the Madrilenian municipality of Coslada, where it already owns a business park. The company has chosen that location due to its proximity to Barajas airport, the centre of the Spanish capital and motorways such as the A-2 and the M-40.

This operation reinforces the good times that the logistics sector is enjoying in Spain, driven by the rise in e-commerce in the country. Not in vain, in 2017, the sector achieved an investment record, exceeding €1.5 billion.

With demand constantly growing, above all due to the arrival of international funds and investment firms that are keen to enter the logistics segment, encouraged by the high yields and stability, operators are also looking for land in the last mile space to respond to current demands. That means the development of sites on the outskirts of large cities, with assets that are no more than 50km away from the city centre.

Original story: Eje Prime

Translation: Carmel Drake

Telefónica Seeks Use for 11,000 m2 of Offices After Failure to Find Tenant

2 October 2018

The telecommunications company put its North Building 3 up for lease a year ago. As yet, the company has found no takers willing to pay 16 euros per square meter per month.

It was heralded as a major real estate transaction: Telefónica announced that it was looking for a tenant or tenants for one of the buildings in the tower complex comprising its headquarters in Madrid that were left unoccupied after the company’s restructuring in recent years. The firm is now looking for a use for the 11,000 square-meter space after it failed to find a tenant willing to pay the 16 euros per square meter per month requested.

In April of last year, the telecoms operator contacted Spain’s leading real estate consultancies asking them to bid on a contract to lease the company’s unused offices. Cushman & Wakefield was one of the firm’s chosen to find a tenant to monetise the empty building. The property has five floors (four upper floors and one below ground), 180 interior parking spaces and 11,112 square meters.

The market price for the leasing contract was stipulated at 16 euros per square meter per month, along with 5.50 euros/m2/month for condominium fees. Telefónica’s plan was to generate annual revenues of 2.1 million euros and income from condominium fees of 733,000 euros, a total of almost three million euros in rent.

However, official sources at the company confirmed that no interested parties have offered to take up residence in the building. China’s Huawei has demonstrated an interest but was unable to complete the move to the District, located in the area of Las Tablas, in the north of Madrid.

Building sales

Leasing the property is still considering a possible but, in the meantime, the telecoms firm presided over by José María Álvarez-Pallete is still looking other possible uses. “[We] are analysing different internal projects,” the provider stated, declining to rule out any alternatives. The firm had already considered using the space to house tech start-ups, both in-house and externally financed.

Sources at the company insist that they have not set a specific deadline to find a use for the building. The next-door North 2 is also currently unoccupied, and the possibility of leasing had also been considered previously.

During the last two years, Telefónica has sold several buildings in the city of Madrid. One in the neighbourhood of Argüelles went for about 25 million euros; another near the well-known Plaza de España sold for about €32 million, and its former headquarters in Rios Rosas Street raised €150 million euros for the telecoms and broadband provider.

The District, 10 years as Telefónica’s headquarters

The Telefónica District, formerly known as District C, was inaugurated in 2008, after three years of construction in an area of 370,000 square meters. The operator concentrated its activities in its new headquarters in a total investment of more than 500 million euros.

The need to transfer thousands of employees who had previously worked at dozens of sites left many facilities empty, some of which had been leased and many others owned. The latter were, for the most part, sold to try to finance some of the investment in the District.

Original Story: La Información – Jesús Martínez

Translation: Richard Turner

Telefónica to Close & Sell Off 650 Telephone Exchanges between 2018 & 2020

16 March 2018 – Cinco Días

Telefónica is continuing its intense level of activity in the management and disposal of its assets (…). In this way, the telco has recorded an impact on Operating Income Before Depreciation and Amortisation (OIBDA) of gains from the sale properties in Spain of almost €180 million over the last three years. This maximisation in the value of these assets has generated a positive impact on the profitability of the company during a period marked by strong competitive pressure. In other words, these sales have helped to improve the results on firm’s income statement.

According to the company, in the accounts for the last three years, the impact of gains from the sale of properties in Spain exceeded €35 million in 2017 (…), €71 million in 2016 and €73 million in 2015.

In recent times, Telefónica has focused a large part of its real estate activity on adapting its infrastructure to the real needs of the business. In this sense, the most recent drive has been motivated by the process to shut down copper exchanges, accelerated by the migration of clients from that traditional technology to new fibre optic networks, which the company has rolled out right across Spain. With this change, those facilities are no longer necessary for the operations.

And this process is going to continue to the extent that more copper exchanges are closed, in accordance with the company’s plans. Thus, the operation may accelerate the sale of these facilities, which in many cases are located in important buildings in central areas of provincial capitals and other cities.

Overall, Telefónica plans to close 650 copper exchanges in total right across Spain between 2018 and 2020, as part of its program to modernise its infrastructure and shut down the ageing networks, according to explanations provided by the group at the recent presentation of its results for 2017.

For example, the telco has put up for sale the exchange that it owns in Gijón, in the heart of the shopping district of the Asturian city, for a price that could reach €12 million, according to reports in the local press.

In any case, its sales in recent times have affected different types of buildings. According to sources in the sector, in recent years, Telefónica has sold iconic buildings in cities such as Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Bilbao, Santander, Tarragona and Zaragoza.

Sources in the sector also indicate that the gains (from future sales) may be high given that in many cases the buildings are old, and were acquired or constructed by the company a long time ago.

Amongst other movements in the real estate segment, in 2016, the operator sold several buildings in Madrid, Barcelona, Santander and Zaragoza to Beach Bienes Inmuebles for almost €50 million.

In turn, at the beginning of 2017, Telefónica sold a building in the Argüelles neighbourhood of Madrid to the British real estate group Princeton Investments for almost €25 million (…).

Original story: Cinco Días (by Santiago Millán Alonso)

Translation: Carmel Drake