Paraguayan Magnate Buys Luxury Development on c/General Oráa 9

8 April 2018 – El Confidencial

A new Latin American investor has entered Spain’s luxury residential market. The person in question is Carlos Gill Ramírez, a businessman who was born in Paraguay and who also has Venezuelan citizenship. He has just purchased the high-end development at c/General Oráa 9 in Madrid from Platinum Estates, according to sources.

This sale is the first divestment that the Asian fund has carried out in Spain and forms part of the asset rotation policy that it has launched for its first Spanish fund, to focus on raising and investing €500 million in its new vehicle.

For Gill, this acquisition represents the first step in his growth plans in the country, where he has constituted the company Sari Holdco with a view to continuing to star in operations that will allow him to create his own real estate empire. Uría has represented the Latin American businessman in the purchase of General Oráa and Garrigues has represented Platinum, whilst Engel & Volkers has acted as the advisor.

Having obtained all of the necessary authorisations from the Town Hall of Madrid, construction of this luxury development is almost 70% complete. It will allow the transformation of this building, dating back to 1926, into 10 high-end homes, measuring between 348 m2 and 409 m2 each, plus two penthouses measuring 500 m2, with 250 m2 dedicated to a solarium and private swimming pool. The sales prices range between €3.6 million and €10 million per home.

Since Platinum acquired this development from the Catalan firm Renta, four years ago, it has always been said that it would be aimed at Latin American buyers interesting in owning a home in the Salamanca neighbourhood. Nevertheless, nobody imagined that a businessman from the other side of the Atlantic would also end up taking over the entire project, with the objective of finishing the construction work and putting it on the market.

Industrial wealth

Born in Paraguay, in July 1956, aged just six, Carlos Gill moved with his family to Venezuela, where he ended up being an honorary counsel for his native country. After studying Dentistry at the Central University of Venezuela, the businessman participated in important restructurings such as those of Banco Unión, Mercedes-Benz Venezuela, Grupo Corimón, Banco Capital, Banco Canarias de Venezuela and Bancentro Banco Comercial.

He is currently the President of Grupo Corimón, a Venezuelan corporation that operates in the paint, chemical product and flexible packaging sectors. The firm claims to be the largest conglomerate of its kind on the entire sub-continent and its shares are listed on the Caracas Stock Exchange.

Moreover, four years ago, Gill purchased a controlling share of Ferroviaria Oriental, the company that operates the railways in the east of Bolivia and, months later, he did the same with the country’s western network, by acquiring Ferroviaria Andina from the Chilean firm Luksic. Recent operations include his purchase of Bridgestone Firestone Venezuela.

Original story: El Confidencial (by Ruth Ugalde)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Hispania Puts its €603M Office Portfolio Back on the Market

27 February 2018 – Eje Prime

Hispania has resumed its plan and placed the “for sale” sign up again over its office buildings, worth €603 million. The Socimi, managed by Azora and in which George Soros holds a stake, owns 25 office buildings and one plot of land. The divestment operation was initiated in February 2017 but was suspended in October due to the socio-political situation in Cataluña at that time. Previously, in June, Hispania sold one office building in Madrid for €37.5 million.

The properties for sale span a gross leasable area (GLA) of 153,621 m2 and have an occupancy rate of 87%. The assets are mostly located in Madrid, and the rest are in Barcelona. Companies such as LaLiga, Aegon, Uría and Ilunion have their offices in Hispania’s buildings.

The company will subject the sales process of this portfolio for approval by the General Shareholders’ meeting, which has been convened for 4 April, according to a statement issued by the company to Spain’s National Securities and Exchange Commission (CNMV).

With this operation, which, when it closes, will result in the distribution of almost €2 in extraordinary dividends per share to each shareholder, the Socimi is going to strengthen its strategy of focusing its investments in the hotel segment, where it is the king of the Spanish real estate sector with 46 assets.

Similarly, Hispania is also starting to sell its portfolio of rental homes to individuals, a market that is currently in high demand in Spain.

Original story: Eje Prime

Translation: Carmel Drake

Compagnie Secures Financing for Spain’s Largest New Shopping Centre

28 November 2017 – Expansión

Yesterday, the French group Compagnie de Phalsbourg managed to close financing, amounting to €157 million, for its first shopping centre in Spain: the Open Sky centre in Torrejón de Ardoz (Madrid), according to Expansión.

The establishment will have a gross leasable area of 85,000 m2, will house 100 stores, 3,500 parking spaces and a large garden area with a central lake.

To obtain the necessary resources for its project, Compagnie de Phalsbourg has resorted to non-bank financing through a competitive process. Sources close to the operation maintain that a single fund has subscribed 100% of the financing. According to the same sources, it is a fund based in the City of London, specialising in the real estate sector.

“This process is a boost for Spain because it shows that international investors, in this case, French and British players, see potential in Spain”, say financial sources. The crisis in Cataluña has not affected the process in this case, whose negotiations started long before the tension escalated in that regard.

The French group expects that Open Sky will be inaugurated by the end of next year. In fact, the first earth movement work has now begun and the land that Compagnie acquired for €110 million from the Town Hall of Torrejón in 2015 is being prepared (…).

The company has already signed agreements with around twenty fashion labels, accessories brands and service providers, including with many high-profile names such as Adidas, Reebok, Decimas, OVS, Okaidi, Merkal, Kiwoko, Orchestra, RKS, Celio, Encuentro Moda and Druni, amongst others. Moreover, the shopping centre will have 11 Cinesa cinema screens with capacity for 1,200 people and it has already signed agreements with restaurant groups such as the Vips group, with its five brands (Vips, Fridays, Ginos, Wagamama and Starbucks); the Zena group (Fosters and Cañas y Tapas) and the Restalia group (100 Montaditos and La Sureña).

Once Open Sky is fully operational, it is expected to generate approximately 1,000 new jobs in the region.

The Spanish investment boutique Alantra has served as the sole advisor to the operation for the French group. In addition, Alantra has advised the firm on three other projects in Spain. Meanwhile, Clifford Chance and Uría have been responsible for providing legal advice (…).

Original story: Expansión (by Andrés Stumpf)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Santander & Bankia Join CaixaBank In €700M Loan To Realia

6 February 2017 – Expansión

The process to negotiate the refinancing of Realia is still underway. In the latest development, Santander and Bankia have announced that they will join CaixaBank in a new syndicated loan, amounting to around €700 million, which will allow the Spanish real estate company, which is controlled by the Mexican businessman Carlos Slim, to pay off its existing debt.

In this way, in addition to Caixabank, which will lead the new loan for the subsidiary Realia Patrimonio, Santander and Bankia have approved this operation. They are now looking for three more banks to join the agreement, since the idea is that six financial institutions will comprise the new syndicate, according to sources familiar with the process.

To this end, the coordinator has made contact with around thirty banks, including most major banks in Spain, as well as some foreign entities that have headquarters in Spain, such as ING, Crédit Agricole, Société Générale, Deutsche Bank, Aareal Bank and Natixis. Financial sources indicate that the players most interested in joining the process are Abanca, Sabadell, Bankinter and Popular.

The sales document containing the results of the due diligence was published on Thursday and it is hoped that the loan contract will be signed in April, which is when the real estate company’s existing debt, amounting to €680 million, is due to expire. CaixaBank engaged Deloitte in December, on behalf of the other financial institutions, to perform a feasibility analysis of the group’s properties, as well as a comprehensive due diligence; meanwhile, the law firm Uría will be responsible for drafting the new syndicated loan financing contract.

The negotiations to agree the terms of a new syndicated loan form part of the firm’s objective to fulfil its financial viability plan and reduce its level of indebtedness.

In April 2007, Realia Patrimonio carried out a restructuring of its financial debt by subscribing to a syndicated loan with two entities – Caja Madrid and Banesto. They subsequently assigned some of their exposure to 14 others entities, whereby taking the total number of FIs in the lender group to 16, for an initial maximum amount of €1,087 million, and Realia has been paying off the balance ever since. Moreover, these entities have since transferred some of the debt to other companies.

Within the framework of this strategy, at the end of 2015, Realia signed a refinancing agreement with the debt-holding entities of its residential activity – another one of the company’s business lines – whose capital pending repayment amounted to more than €800 million.

Following the restructuring of the residential business debt and after incorporating the debt outstanding on the participation loan that Inversora Carso purchased from Sareb, Realia’s gross financial debt position stood at €941 million at the end of Q3 2016, down by 46% compared to the same period in 2015.

Original story: Expansión (by R.Arroyo)

Translation: Carmel Drake