Investors Spend €12,000M On RE Assets In 15m To Mar 15

5 June 2015 – Expansión

International funds, private investors and other companies have purchased assets worth almost €12,000 million during the last 15 months. American investors favour large properties, whilst Asians players prefer hotels.

The purchases of almost €12,000 million…mean that the Spanish market has returned to its pre-crisis levels and illustrate the focus that investors from around the world have placed on our country. But, what is the profile of these buyers? And which assets do they prefer?

According to data from the last 15 months, office buildings and shopping centres have been the star investments. Nevertheless, rather than making direct purchases, investors, both Spanish and overseas, have chosen to participate in the market through the new listed companies for real estate investment (Socimis).

For their stock market debuts, the four large Spanish Socimis – Merlin Properties, Hispania Real, Axiare and Lar España – raised funds amounting to more than €2,550 million; and this year they have undertaken capital increases to raise another €1,300 million…Hispania raised €550 million for the IPO of its Socimi subsidiary, from large international investors such as the US magnates George Soros and John Paulson. Just a few weeks ago, it raised a further €337 million from investors with a similar profile. Meanwhile, the real estate company GMP secured €300 million from the Singapore fund GIC.

Offices

The four Socimis have created portfolios worth around €4,000 million. These companies, headquartered in Spain, have been the major investors. Thus, 64% of the €2,727 million invested in offices was disbursed by Spanish investors. “The main Spanish investors are Socimis, but they also include investment funds, private equity firms, wealth managers and family offices. The average price for this type of transaction is €29 million, compared with the large deals carried out by British investors (above all investment banks and private investment companies), which exceed €100 million”, explain sources at the consultancy JLL.

Spanish investors have also exceeded foreigners in terms of the purchase of retail premises; 78% compared with 22%, respectively. “During 2014 and Q1 2015, Spanish investors spent €738 million on retail premises. The average price of these transactions was €37 million and the typical buyers were retail operators (such as fashion brands), family offices and private investors”, say JLL.

Meanwhile, international buyers dominate the market for shopping centres and hotels. Of the €3,092 million invested in shopping centres between January 2014 and March 2015, 82% was foreign capital, thanks to the purchases made by US funds such as Tiaa Henderson and specialist companies, such as the French firm Klépierre.

Almost €2,500 million has been invested in hotels in the last 15 months and 55% of the capital invested was foreign. Furthermore, it was very diversified, with Chinese investors such as the Wanda Group and Qatari funds, such as Katara Hospitality buying hotels in Spain – the latter acquired the InterContinental Hotel in Madrid. (…)

In the residential segment, several US funds have chosen to buy land in Spain. The clearest case is Lone Star, which has become the largest developer of land in the country. (…)

Original story: Expansión (by R. Ruiz)

Translation: Carmel Drake

UBS Finalises Its Purchase Of The Zielo Shopping Centre

20 March 2015 – Expansión

The Swiss bank’s real estate fund is offering €73 million for the Madrilenian shopping centre, exceeding the expectations of its current owner, Hines, which has invested more than €100 million in its construction.

Another shopping centre is expected to change hands soon. After the French company Klépierre closed its purchase of the Plenilunio shopping centre in Madrid this week, another Madrilenian property will soon have a new owner.

The property in question is the Zielo shopping centre, located in the town of Pozuelo de Alarcón, in Madrid. The building was designed by the real estate company Hines, which took out a loan of €50 million to construct the property. Conceived at the height of the boom (it was opened in October 2009), Hines invested more than €100 million in its development.

The centre, designed by the architect Alberto Martín Caballero, has a surface area of 50,000 square metres, of which 15,537 m2 is dedicated to retail over three floors. It also has more than a thousand parking spaces, the majority of which are indoors.

Five years later, Hines put the “for sale” sign up on its Madrilenian shopping centre in January. The initial asking price was set at €65 million. The Houston-based real estate company decided to sell the property through a restricted (tender) process rather than open it up to all of the interested investors in the Spanish market. Thus, its advisors reached out to the large Spanish Socimis (Merlin Properties, Axia Real Estate and Lar España), as well as the more institutional investment funds such as Deka Inmobilien and the (fund) manager Tiaa Henderson. In the end, the real estate fund owned by the Swiss bank UBS made the best offer and is now negotiating the finer details of the transaction in an exclusive process with Hines.

According to sources close to the process, UBS is offering €73 million. A price that means that the yield on the transaction amounts to less than 5%, a very low figure compared with the figure of 10% that was achieved on the first deals involving the sale and purchase of shopping centres following the burst of the bubble, in 2013.

Zielo Shopping is not the only commercial property that is currently on the market in Spain. According to Deloitte Real Estate, around 80 shopping centres will come onto the market over the next 12 months. Some transactions, such as the purchase of Puerto Venecia in Zaragoza and Plenilunio in Madrid have already been closed. In total, €3,500 million could change hands in this market alone.

Possible buyers include the British real estate company Intu Properties, which is finalising a call option on a real estate project in Málaga, as part of its €2,500 million investment program, and the fund manager CBRE Global Investors, which plans to invest €600 million in shopping centres and retail outlets in the Spanish market.

Original story: Expansión (by Rocío Ruiz)

Translation: Carmel Drake