25 May 2017 – El Confidencial
A decade after they sold or wrote off their real estate arms, the country’s largest construction companies are now returning to the residential property development sector. Ferrovial, ACS, Acciona and FCC have regained their appetite for property and although they have different paces and strategies in mind, they have all definitively decided to revive their real estate divisions.
In the case of the group chaired by Rafael del Pino, which sold Ferrovial Inmobiliaria to Habitat for €2,200 million at the end of 2006, it will lay the first stone of this new strategic phase in Valdebebas. It owns plot 128A there, in what is one of the most important urban planning developments in the north of Madrid, and it plans to build between 200 and 300 homes on the site.
And that is just the tip of the iceberg, given that as the group’s CEO, Íñigo Meirás, acknowledged to this newspaper, the firm “is willing to become a property developer once again”. (…).
This strategy, combined with the gradual recovery in the real estate sector, has allowed residential construction work to account for 5% of the group’s total building portfolio, having closed last year at €442 million, up by 31.7% YoY. The group aspires to increase those numbers, by resuming its property development activity, which has caused it to analyse land operations in different areas to the north of Madrid.
FCC Real Estate also wants to make a similar move. The division, led for the last year and a half by Xavier Fainé Garriga, has decided to start developing half a million m2 of land that it owns in the Madrilenian town of Tres Cantos. The company has owned the plots for years, and its construction division will also participate in their development, along with the real estate subsidiary Realia, which will collaborate on the marketing side. (…).
Meanwhile, Acciona has a more ambitious plan, after it tried, two years ago, to divest its real estate arm, by listing it on the stock market or selling a stake in it to a fund – it has now ended up deciding to return to development. That was recognised by the firm’s Corporate Development Director, Juan Muro Lara, in March, when he announced the launch of 16 housing developments: 13 in Spain and the rest in Mexico and Poland.
In parallel, the group is finalising the transfer of its rental properties to Merlin, in a deal disclosed by El Confidencial in October, which will see the former’s exit from the real estate business. It also wants to push ahead with the sale of its hotels and office buildings through individual operations.
In the case of ACS, the firm is carrying out its strategy in the development segment through Cogesa, the historical subsidiary of the group, which stands out because it is the owner of the group’s two main corporate headquarters, the office buildings located in Las Tablas and on Avenida Pío XII in Madrid, and for owning sizeable land portfolios in areas such as Montecarmelo, Arroyo Fresno, Las Tablas, Carabanchel and Ensanche de Vallecas.
The turning point for this subsidiary, which is led by the brother of Florentino Pérez, Enrique, came two years ago, when it carried out a capital increase amounting to €44 million and then acquired one of the last plots of residential land in Montecarmelo for €2,200/m2. That figure turned the operation into one of the most onerous since the burst of the bubble, but is now seen in a very different light. (…).
Original story: El Confidencial (by Ruth Ugalde)
Translation: Carmel Drake