Unibail’s Profit in Spain Falls by 3.6% Following the Sale of 4 Assets

20 February 2019 – Idealista

The French shopping centre giant has seen its profits in Spain decline due to one of the operations of the year. Unibail-Rodamco earned 3.6% less in the Spanish market in 2018, specifically, €155 million, following the sale of its portfolio of four shopping centres to the South African fund Vukile for around €500 million, as reported by Idealista News last July. If it had not carried out that sale, the group’s profits would have grown by 2.8%.

The company ended last year in the Spanish market with a net profit of €161 million, up by 10.3% compared to 2016, when the group earned €146 million. Until now, Spain had been one of the fastest-growing countries for Unibail-Rodamco.

Across all of the markets in which it operates, the French company recorded a net profit of €1.9 billion, up by 36.9% YoY. That increase in gains was due, in part, to the purchase of the Westfield shopping centre group.

Whilst the area where Unibail-Rodamco increased its profit by the most in the last twelve months was Central Europe, up by 21.7%, France was ranked in second place, with growth of 5.3%. Behind France was Austria with an increase in profits of 4.3%.

Mega-operation with Vukile

Unibail-Rodamco became one of the stars of the sector last July when it closed the sale of four shopping centres to the South African fund Vukile, through its Spanish real estate vehicle Castellana Properties Socimi for €489 million (…).

Currently, the group led by Christophe Cuvillier (pictured above) owns a portfolio in Spain worth €3.6 billion, which receives 126.2 million visitors per year. Those assets account for 10% of its global portfolio.

Original story: Idealista (by Custodio Pareja)

Translation: Carmel Drake

El Corte Inglés Puts a RE Portfolio Worth Between €1.5bn & €2bn Up For Sale

21 December 2018 – Expansión

El Corte Inglés is preparing to shatter the real estate market. The distribution giant has engaged PwC to sell a mega-portfolio containing 130 properties with a valuation of between €1.5 billion and €2 billion, which would represent the largest divestment undertaken by the company to date.

The operation includes a large variety of assets, all of which are non-strategic, and includes shopping centres (not large department stores), logistics warehouses, supermarkets, offices and land. Once the period for receiving offers has closed and depending on the offers themselves, El Corte Inglés will reserve the right to reduce the size of the portfolio. According to market sources, the firm’s intention is not to find a single buyer but rather to slice up the assets into packages.

Real estate portfolio

The company chaired by Jesús Nuño de la Rosa is whereby accelerating the divestment plan launched to reduce debt with a view to obtaining an investment grade rating from the ratings agencies over the medium term.

El Corte Inglés is one of the main owners of real estate assets in Spain, with a portfolio worth more than €17 billion, larger even than those owned by the large Spanish Socimis, Merlin and Colonial, whose asset portfolios were worth €12.2 billion and €11.2 billion, respectively, as at June, and those of the large real estate companies such as Amancio Ortega’s Pontegadea, whose assets were worth €8.8 billion at the end of 2017.

With this large exposure to property, El Corte Inglés is taking advantage of the investor appetite in the market for real estate assets to clean up its balance sheet. Last year, real estate investment reached a new record with transactions worth €18.7 billion, including corporate operations, which represented an increase of 46%. Excluding purchases by companies, the investment figure also reached a historical maximum of €10.8 billion, according to data from CBRE.

In the framework of this plan, this summer, the company sold its centres in Parquesur and La Vaguada, both in Madrid to Unibail Rodamco, the largest operator of shopping centres in Europe. Those assets have a surface area of 20,000 m2 each and were sold for €160 million.

Original story: Expansión (by R. Arroyo & V. Osorio)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Castellana to Merge the Kinépolis & Alameda Shopping Centres in Granada

2 November 2018 – Eje Prime

Castellana is making changes in Granada. The Socimi owned by the South African fund Vukile is going to merge the Alameda Retail Park and the Kinépolis shopping centre into a new brand, called Granaita, according to explanations provided in a corporate presentation that the firm has distributed to potential investors.

The company, which has been listed on the Alternative Investment Market (MAB) since July, will invest €5 million in the process to reposition and integrate its two shopping centres in Granada.

Castellana is one of the emerging players in the current retail market in Spain, in which it specialises. The objective of the company is to be “the leading Socimi in the retail sector”, adds the company, whose objectives include the optimisation of its asset portfolio. The operation that it is going to carry out in Granada sits firmly within that framework.

The real estate manager acquired Kinépolis in June 2017, through the company Junction Parque Granada. The asset, inaugurated in 2004, comprises eight stores with a gross leasable area of 18,508 m2 and is worth €32.5 million.

Meanwhile, Alameda Retail Park was incorporated into Castellana’s portfolio in December last year. Located in the municipality of Pulianas, in Granada, the park began operating in 2014 and comprises four stores with a gross leasable area (GLA) of 27,256 m2. The monthly rent at Alameda amounts to €10.71 and its market value stands at €55.3 million.

The fund that sustains the Socimi financially, Vukile, is going to inject up to €200 million over the next few years to continue with its plan to conquer the commercial sector in Spain, where it hopes to form a portfolio worth €1.2 billion. Castellana is going to look for new shareholders to inject the resources necessary to carry out this plan, which seeks to enable the Socimi to make the leap from the MAB to the main stock exchange within the next three years.

In pursuit of this goal, Vukile acquired four shopping centres from Unibail-Rodamco for €489 million last summer, which were placed in Castellana’s portfolio, as reported by Eje Prime.

Castellana Properties closed 2017 with revenues of €9.31 million, whilst it registered turnover of €5.15 million during the first three months of 2018. The net result for 2017 amounted to €18.61 million, and the firm earned €6.65 million during the first quarter of 2018. The group’s debt at the end of 2017 amounted to €146 million.

Original story: Eje Prime (By Jabier Izquierdo)

Translation: Carmel Drake

VIA Outlets will Start Renovating its Shopping Centre in Sevilla in Q4

11 October 2018 – Eje Prime

VIA Outlets has a start date for the remodelling and expansion of its shopping centre in Sevilla. The European group is going to start the building work on its Sevilla Fashion Outlet before the end of the year, according to explanations provided by the company to Eje Prime. The start of the complex’s reconstruction coincides with the opening of Torre Sevilla, owned by CaixaBank, and the relaunch in 2019 of Palmas Altas, owed by Lar España.

The company is going to invest more than €13 million in this comprehensive renovation project of the Sevillan outlet centre, the group’s second largest in Spain, after its complex in Mallorca. Amongst other aspects, “the building work will include the reconfiguration of the restaurant and food area”, says the company, which is also going to increase the number of parking spaces by approximately 40%.

In terms of aesthetic considerations, the renovation will involve a general remodelling of the centre, which will include a new façade, a renovated entrance and new common areas. “This, as a whole, will contribute to repositioning Sevilla Fashion Outlet as the only premium outlet in Andalucía”, says the group.

The retail complex has been owned by VIA Outlets since January 2017, when it purchased it from the fund Irus European Retail Property. With a surface area spanning 16,400 m2, Sevilla Fashion Outlet has already started the work to recondition and expand the complex’s parking area.

Founded in 2014 as a joint venture between  APG, Hammerson, Value Retail and Meyer Bergman, VIA Outlets has seen rapid growth in the real estate retail market. In just four years, the group has acquired eleven centres around Europe and, recently, it recruited two new senior managers. They were Otto Ambagtsheer (formerly of Unibail-Rodamco), who has been appointed as the Operations Director, and Peter Stals (formerly Blackrock),  who is the company’s new Finance Director (…).

The portfolio of VIA Outlets spans a gross leasable area (GLA) of more than 259,000 m2 and is home to more than 850 brands across the nine European countries in which it has a presence. In 2017, the group’s eleven centres recorded sales of more than €1 billion and were visited by more than 30 million people.

Original story: Eje Prime (by Jabier Izquierdo)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Spain, the Fifth Biggest European Destination for Real Estate Investments

14 August 2018

With more than €6.1 billion invested in the year to June, Spain consolidated its position as one of the favourite destinations for investors, behind the United Kingdom, Germany, France and Holland.

The Spanish property market is still monopolising the flow of investment capital to Spain. With 6.161 billion euros invested in the first half of the year, Spain accounted for 5% of the total volume invested in the European market and has consolidated its position as the European country with the fifth highest volume transacted until June, behind the United Kingdom, Germany, France and Holland.

Overall, investment in the real estate market in Europe exceeded 120 billion euros, 10% less than in the same period of the previous, record-breaking, year, according to a report prepared by the consultancy CBRE.

By country. The United Kingdom is the leader in investments, with 34.4 billion euros, followed by Germany with 24.5 billion euros. In both cases, investments fell by 6%.

Behind these countries is France, with 11.9 billion euros; Holland with €10 billion; Spain with €6.1 billion; and Sweden with €5.1 billion.

By asset type. The office market was, once again, the segment that attracted the largest volume of investment in Europe, with 52 billion euros, 41% of the total; followed by alternative assets – student and senior citizen residences and healthcare facilities – with 21%; retail (20%), logistics (11%) and hotel management, 7%.

A takeover bid for Axiare

Spain. Colonial’s bid for Axiare encouraged investment in the sector during the first six months of the year, which, despite everything, came in at 15% below that registered in the same period of the previous year.

The acquisition of Axiare, which specialises in offices, by its rival Colonial, accounted for 30% of the total volume transacted in the first half of the year and leveraged the total investment in offices, to 2.036 billion euros.

The most active segment behind offices was retail. With 1.689 billion euros transacted in the first six months of the year, retail accounted for 27% of the total, thanks to the large volume invested in commercial centres with, among others, Redevco and Ares’ purchase of 70% of Parque Corredor for 140 million euros.

Operations focused on high street stores also encouraged investment in retail. Last January, the German fund manager Deka finalised its acquisition of 16 stores owned by Inditex, of which 14 are located in Spain, for some 400 million euros.

The next most significant segments by volume transacted were hotels, with 869 million euros, and logistics, with 716 million euros. 589 million were also invested in the residential sector, almost the same figure as in the first half of 2017, while purchases of alternative assets saw investments of 125 million euros.

Upward forecasts

As for forecasts for the end of the year, CBRE believes that the recovery in the real estate market in Catalonia that, after the independence referendum of last year, has experienced a certain measure of paralysis, along with the finalisation of some large operations currently under negotiation, will see the conclusion of 2018 reaching investment levels similar to those of previous years. Investments in 2017 reached 12.9 billion euros.

The director of Capital Markets at CBRE Spain, Mikel Marco-Gardoqui, explains that taking into account the various “large-scale” operations in advanced negotiations and the return of activity to the investment market in Catalonia, the prospects for the end of the year are “rosy.”

Among these operations is the purchase of four shopping centres owned by Unibail Rodamco for 490 million euros by Vukile. Specifically, the sale of Los Arcos (Seville). Bahia Sur (Cadiz), Faro (Badajoz) and Vallsur (Valladolid) by the South African fund was finalised at the end of July and will be counted, therefore, amongst the transactions closed in the third quarter.

Also, the finalisation of the sale of the three shopping centres sold by CBRE GI and Sonae – Gran Casa (Zaragoza), Max Center (Bilbao) and Valle Real (Santander) – for around 500 million euros is expected in the coming months. According to Expansión, the Slovak fund J&T, in alliance with Sonae, is a favourite to acquire this portfolio of commercial assets.

Corporate operations will also continue to boost the sector in the second half of the year. Among the operations that will boost the real estate market is the purchase of Hispania by Blackstone. The American investment fund finalised its takeover of Hispania last July, after taking control of almost 91% of the Socimi.

The offer from Blackstone, which already held 16.56% of the socimi’s capital, values Hispania at 1.992 billion euros and makes the US fund the largest hotel owner in Spain.

Marco-Gardoqui explains that Spain’s benign macroeconomic prospects, the potential for revenue growth in the office sector, the strong growth of electronic commerce and the need for adequate logistics spaces will continue to undergird the real estate sector.

Likewise, the consultancy underlined the opportunities in the alternative asset segment, which have an extensive need for development and professionalisation. Together with the availability of low-cost capital at low cost, the sector is expected to attract additional capital.

Expansion – Rebecca Arroyo

Vukile Finalises Purchase of 4 Shopping Centres from Unibail for €490M

18 July 2018 – Idealista News

One of the deals of the year in the shopping centre sector is on the verge of completion. The South African fund Vukile, through its Spanish real estate vehicle Castellana Properties Socimi, is in the process of buying four shopping centres from the European giant Unibail-Rodamco for €489 million. Castellana Properties, which also acquired the Habaneras shopping centre in May, is going to add the Bahía Sur, El Faro, Los Arcos and Vallsur complexes to its asset portfolio in Spain, all of which are currently owned by the French company specialising in shopping centres.

Vukile will acquire these assets in a block purchase, although Unibail-Rodamco had been negotiating their sale with other groups, such as Lar España and Klépierre, on an individual basis. The French group, which completed its integration with the Australian firm Westfield in June, has signed a binding offer agreement with Castellana Properties for €489 million. According to sources familiar with the operation, that amount may decrease before the final sale is signed.

From now on, Castellana Properties Socimi will have the following shopping centres in its portfolio: Bahía Sur, which spans 59,300 m2 and is located in Cádiz, close to Puerto Real and San Fernando; El Faro, which spans 66,300 m2 and is located in Badajoz; Los Arcos, located in Sevilla, with a surface area of 44,000 m2; and Vallsur, located in Valladolid with a surface area of 36,000 m2.

The sale of these four assets forms part of the operation carried out last year with Barnasud, the complex acquired by Meridia Capital, a Catalan fund owned by the businessman Javier Faus, who paid Unibail-Rodamco €35 million for the asset (…).

Currently, the group led by Christophe Cuvillier has a portfolio in Spain worth €3.556 billion and receives 126.2 million visitors per year. Those assets account for 10% of its global portfolio.

Castellana Properties, on a mission to acquire shopping centres in Spain

Since its creation, Vukile has been increasing its portfolio of assets in Spain through Castellana Properties in a frenetic way. In July last year, Vukile purchased nine retail parks from Redevco Iberian Ventures, the joint venture between the real estate company specialising in retail Redevco and the funds managed by the global alternative asset management company Ares Management, for €193 million.

Before the end of the year, Castellana Properties formalised the purchase of two retail spaces located in Granada and Murcia for €65 million (…).

The only operation signed by Vukile and Castellana Properties so this year has been the purchase of the Habaneras shopping centre for more than €80 million (…).

Original story: Idealista News (by Custodio Pareja)

Translation: Carmel Drake

ECE and J&T Bid in RE Operation of the Year

12 June 2018 – Expansión

One of the real estate mega-operations of the year is entering the home stretch. The German manager specialising in retail ECE and the Slovakian real estate leader J&T Real Estate are positioning themselves as favourites to acquire the Valle Real (Santander), Max Center (Bilbao) and Gran Casa (Zaragoza) shopping centres, currently owned by Iberian Assets, a joint venture in which the fund managers CBRE Global Investors (CBRE GI) and the multi-national Sonae Sierra both hold 50% stakes.

In the case of the Slovakian firm, the operation would be carried out through an alliance with Sonae Sierra and would represent J&T Real Estate’s debut in Spain.

Market sources explain that, in both cases, the bids for these assets exceed €450 million and reveal that the transaction could be closed within the next few weeks.

The portfolio, baptised as Project Summit, includes almost 117,000 m2 of gross leasable space in total (owned by Iberian Assets) and together, the three centres received 24 million visitors last year. CBRE GI and Sonae Sierra engaged the real estate consultancy firms CBRE and JLL at the beginning of the year to sell the three shopping centres.

The assets

Valle Real, opened in November 1994, has a gross leasable area of 47,725 m2, spread over two floors and is fully occupied (100%).

The shopping centre, located in Santander, closed last year with 5.9 million visitors. Valle Real includes a Carrefour hypermarket, which occupies almost 16,000 m2. Its other main tenants include Primark, Inditex, H&M and Forum Sport.

Meanwhile, Max Center is located in Bilbao and it opened its doors for the first time in 1997. The asset was remodelled in 2000 and its tenants include Inditex, H&M, Cortefiel, La Tagliatella, Foster’s Hollywood and Cinesa.

The shopping centre also has an adjoining leisure space, Max Ocio, which opened in 2002.

In total, the centre has a surface area of almost 40,000 m2 and it also received 5.9 million visitors last year.

Gran Casa, inaugurated in 1997, has a gross leasable area spanning 80,000 m2, almost half of which is occupied by Hipercor, and with an overall occupancy rate of 93%. Last year, the shopping centre, located in Zaragoza, received 12.2 million visitors.

If the transaction goes ahead, it will be the largest (non-corporate) operation in the real estate sector so far this year by transaction volume.

Moreover, the sale of the Summit portfolio would clear the way for the sale of another major commercial portfolio by Unibail Rodamco.

The shopping centre giant has hung the “for sale” sign up over four of its shopping centres in Spain – Los Arcos (Sevilla), Bahía Sur (Cádiz), Vallsur (Valladolid) and El Faro (Badajoz) – an operation that may exceed the volume of Project Summit.

Investment

According to data from the Spanish Association of Shopping Centres and Retail Parks (AECC), last year 29 transactions, involving 36 assets, were closed for a total sum of €2.7 billion, which represented growth of 35% YoY.

So far this year, several significant operations have been closed such as the sale of a portfolio of 14 premises by Inditex to the German fund Deka for €370 million (…).

Original story: Expansión (by Rebeca Arroyo)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Vukile Increases Castellana Properties’s Share Capital by €7M to Fund New Purchases

12 June 2018 – Eje Prime

The South African fund Vukile is looking after its investment vehicle in Spain. The Socimi Castellana Properties has increased its share capital by €7 million to undertake new purchases, according to explanations provided by the group to Eje Prime. The company is whereby continuing with its investor appetite, which was sated in May with the purchase of the Habaneras shopping centre for €80.6 million.

“Castellana Properties is immersed in an ambitious growth process”, explain sources at the company. “Last year, the Socimi acquired eleven retail parks in Spain for approximately €300 million, to become a strategic player in the real estate sector and, specifically, in the retail sector”, explain sources at the company.

“The capital increase forms part of this growth strategy; it will allow us to increase the company’s financial capacity to undertake new and exciting projects”, they conclude. Following this increase, the resultant subscribed share capital will amount to €33.4 million. The South African fund Vukile now has a portfolio containing thirteen shopping centres in Spain and an investment made to date of €290 million across the whole Spanish market.

Since last year, the group has closed several operations in the Spanish market. Redevco Iberian Ventures, the joint venture between the real estate company specialising in retail Redevco and funds managed by the global alternative asset manager Ares Management, sold nine retail parks to the Socimi for €193 million.

In December, the group acquired two retail spaces in Granada and Murcia with an investment of €65 million. Alameda Park has a surface area of 25,000 m2 and was acquired for €54.6 million, whilst Pinatar Park occupies 10,637 m2 and involved an outlay of €10.7 million.

The only operation signed by Vukile and Castellana Properties so far this year has been the purchase of the Habaneras shopping centre for more than €80 million. The complex was constructed in 2005 by Metrovacesa. Since then, the asset has passed through the hands of Unibail-Rodamco, in 2008 and Harbert, which acquired Habaneras for €65 million.

That centre has a gross leasable area of 24,158 m2 and contains 70 stores distributed over three floors and more than 800 parking spaces. Its tenants include operators such as Zara and H&M. The Habaneras shopping centre received 4 million visitors last year and recorded operating revenues of €5 million.

Original story: Eje Prime

Translation: Carmel Drake

Savills IM Buys a Hypermarket in San Sebastián for €48M

23 May 2018 – Expansión

The fund manager Savills Investment Management (Savills IM) has purchased a hypermarket in the Garbera shopping centre in San Sebastián for €48 million.

The agreement, closed with an international institutional investor, has been completed in an off-market operation.

The investment, made by Savills IM on behalf of the European investment fund European Retail Fund (ERF) reflects a net yield of approximately 5%.

The hypermarket has a total surface area of 14,200 m2 and is operated by Eroski.

Specifically, the hypermarket is located on the ground floor of the Garbera shopping centre, which is owned by Unibail Rodamco. It is the dominant shopping centre in the region, according to the fund manager.

Fernando Ramírez de Haro, Director General at Savills Investment Management for Spain and Portugal, said that, with this operation, the fund manager is growing its footprint in the Iberian Peninsula, with a regional portfolio of assets under management amounting to almost €500 million.

“Spain and Portugal are a strategic priority for 2018 and the next few years, both for Savills IM and for its clients and strategic partners. To that end, we are going to continue studying the market in an active way and we are convinced that we will be able to bring to fruition several investment opportunities over the coming months”, added Ramírez de Haro.

Savills IM, with offices in almost twenty cities around the world, was managing assets with a total value of approximately €16.6 billion at the end of last year.

Original story: Expansión (by R. Arroyo)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Klépierre to Invest €45M in Expansion of Maremagnum Shopping Centre in Barcelona

3 May 2018 – Eje Prime

The world’s shopping centre giants are very much focused on Spain. Whilst at the beginning of the year, Unibail-Rodamco announced that it was putting up for sale four non-strategic shopping centres in Spain, today, it is another French firm, Klépierre, who is picking up the gauntlet and redoubling its commitment to the country. The company is going to invest €45 million in the expansion of its Maremagnum shopping centre, located in Barcelona, according to sources at the company speaking to Eje Prime.

The group estimates that it will spend €45 million to increase the complex by 8,000 m2, space that will be added to the second floor and sides of the shopping centre. According to the company, the building work will begin in the coming months, although it is not expected to be completed until the second half of 2021. This is the only renovation or expansion project that Klépierre currently has planned in Spain for the next few years.

Maremagnum is one of the jewels in the crown of Klépierre. Located in one of the most touristic enclaves of Barcelona and where a large number of cruise ships disembark every day, the complex was launched in 1995 and was renovated in 2012.

Currently, Maremagnum has a total surface area of 22,542 m2, of which 18,800 m2 are dedicated to commercial activity. More than 154 brands operate in the shopping centre, including the Swedish giant H&M, the majority of the Inditex chains, the US firm Victoria’s Secret and restaurant operators such as McDonalds.

Maremagnum has formed part of Klépierre’s portfolio since 2015 when it completed the purchase of the Dutch company Corio for €7.2 billion. The French group completed the acquisition of Corio after launching a public exchange offer in October 2014 for 93.6% of the shares in circulation.

The objective of the French real estate company with that purchase was to expand its presence in countries such as France, Italy, Spain and Portugal, given that Corio owned complexes in seven counties and in urban centres such as Amsterdam and Istanbul, as well as in cities such as Madrid, Rome, Turin, Utrecht and Berlin.

Specifically, following that merger, Klépierre took ownership of an asset portfolio comprising 178 shopping centres spread over 16 European countries with a combined asset value of €21 billion. In this way, after the merger, Kléperre’s portfolio in Spain comprised around twenty shopping centres, worth more than €2.26 billion, and which generate a profit of €110 million for the group (…).

Good results for the sector in Spain 

In macroeconomic terms, shopping centres are performing well in Spain at the moment. Turnover for these types of assets rose by 1.5% last year with respect to the previous year, whilst visitor footfall grew by 1.1% YoY.

The sectors that performed the best last year with respect to 2016 in terms of sales were the home, leisure and restaurant sectors, with increases of 5%, 3.7% and 2.7%, respectively, according to a report from Cushman&Wakefield.

According to the real estate consultancy, new additions such as customer advisory services and sensory and emotional perception, which create new experiences for users, have helped this increase in shopping centre sales figures and visitor numbers. Nevertheless, consumer electronics stores saw their sales fall by 1.8% last year, with respect to 2016.

The occupancy rate of the assets analysed was 91% in 2017, three points above the level last year. The higher demand for retail space also led to increases in rents in shopping centres, which saw rental prices rise by 1.4% last year.

Original story: Eje Prime (by Custodio Pareja)

Translation: Carmel Drake