Värde Partners May Force Breakup of LaFinca Socimi Due to Villarejo Case

24 September 2019 – The British fund Värde Partners, which owns 37.7% of the shares of LaFinca, may force a redistribution of the socimi’s assets should it fail to receive an acceptable offer for its shares in the firm, due to the socimi’s possible indictment in the Villarejo case.

Spanish prosecutors are investigating LaFinca concerning a series of possible crimes, including bribery, based on actions by the firm’s president and largest shareholder, Susana García Cereceda. Cereceda allegedly hired a firm owned by the commissioner Villarejo to spy on her sister Yolanda, who owns about 10% of the socimi’s shares.

Original Story: Eje Prime

Adaptation/Translation: Richard D. K. Turner

Mansfield Invest to Debut on MAB Today

17 September 2019 – The socimi Mansfield Invest, which is controlled by Värde Partners and which has a 37.78% stake in the La Finca socimi, will debut on the Alternative Stock Market (MAB) on September 17 at 13 euros/share, valuing the company at 115.4 million euros. Mansfield, which invests in offices for lease, was incorporated on November 16, 2015.

Renta 4 Corporate is the Registered Adviser while Renta 4 Banco will act as Liquidity Provider.

Original Story: Inversión & Finanzas

Adaptation/Translation: Richard D. K. Turner

LaFinca Global Assets Given Green Light to Debut on MAB Stock Market

9 September 2019

LaFinca Global Assets, which is owned by Grupo La Finca and Värde Partners, was given the green light by the MAB for a new stock market listing. The firm has a portfolio of ten office buildings, all of them located in Madrid, the La Finca business park in Pozuelo de Alarcón, also Madrid, along with other facilities such as the Reebok sport club, an event-space and a below ground parking lot with 590 parking spots.

The company’s assets have a total value of €726.76 million with debts of €395 million, giving it a loan-to-value ratio of 54%. LaFinca set an initial share price of €4.66, based on an analysis by Gloval, giving it an upper value of more than €176 million.

Värde Partners has signalled a potential interest in selling its 39% stake in the socimi. In such an event, Grupo La Finca would have the preferential right to acquire the US fund’s stake.

Original Story: Expansión – Rocío Ruiz

Adaptation/Translation: Richard D. K. Turner

President of Vía Célere, Juan Antonio Gómez Pintado, Resigns

2 July 2019 – Richard D. K. Turner

Juan Antonio Gómez-Pintado, the Chairman and CEO of Vía Célere, announced his resignation from the company.  The decision came shortly after the firm completed its merger with Aelca. The current CFO of the group, Ignacio Morales, will take his place as CEO, while Värde Partners’ point man for the European real estate market, Francisco Milone, will assume the presidency.

Vía Célere is a benchmark for the sector, with a gross asset value of €2.2 billion, with a land bank of more than 24,000 units and more than 2,500 homes delivered. It has a presence throughout much of Spain, including Madrid (38%), Malaga (22%), Barcelona (10%), Seville (8%), and Valencia (6%), among others.

Original Story: El Confidencial – Ruth Ugalde

 

Colau Halts Investments in Barcelona’s 22@ District

10 December 2018 – Catalunya Press

Colau’s municipal government has halted several investments in the 22@ district of Barcelona, which affects companies such as Acciona, Värde Partners and Metrovacesa.

According to sources in the real estate sector, several multinationals will also end up missing out, including the French company Bouygues, the family business Espais and private funds, such as Semillas Fito.

The histories of each firm are very varied. Shaftesbury purchased an abandoned factory in 2017, where it wants to build an office building spanning 16,000 m2, a turnkey project where the multinational technology firm Cisco is going to open a research centre for intelligent cities. The land purchase involved an investment of around €10 million, according to El Confidencial.

The US firm Värde spent €50 million in total during 2017 buying land in the area affected by the revised plans of Colau, who now wants to modify the urban planning arrangements, which will mean the suspension of all projects. It was one of the largest land operations of last year in Barcelona, involving 52,000 m2 of buildable office space. At stake, a €70 million investment, which is now under threat.

Acciona has been in the area since 2001 and is the owner of an entire block between Calles Perú, Bolivia, Fluvia and Selva de Mar, which spans a surface area of 53,380 m2 and where it wants to build 33,200 m2 of office space.

Sources in the real estate sector indicate that the suspension of all of these projects, involving approximately 2 million m2 of office space, is only going to serve to put more pressure on prices in the consolidated 22@ area, which has now been completed south of La Diagonal, where Torre Glòries and the other offices are now occupied. In other words, prices will rise.

Original story: Catalunya Press

Translation: Carmel Drake

Santander Awards the Management of Popular’s €5bn Portfolio to Blackstone

12 November 2018 – Expansión

Santander and Blackstone have reached an agreement whereby the US fund, through the real estate servicer Aliseda, has taken on the management of a portfolio of assets from Popular amounting to €5 billion, which Santander is retaining on its balance sheet. The portfolio includes real estate assets and loans linked to the retail segment and Santander is retaining ownership of 100% of the assets. They were left out of the transfer of Popular’s assets to Quasar, the joint venture that the bank and Blackstone launched last year.

Santander transferred the bulk of Popular’s damaged portfolio to Quasar (€30 billion gross, linked primarily to property developers), along with 100% of the share capital of Aliseda. Blackstone controls the management of Quasar and 51% of the shares and Santander the remaining 49%. The bank has this stake valued at €1.7 billion on its balance sheet.

“The assets under management have been classified into two different groups, to reflect their owner: the Santander Group portfolio, owned by Popular (and now absorbed by Santander) and the Popular portfolio, owned by Project Quasar 2017”, according to the annual accounts of Aliseda. Specific teams have been configured within the servicer to manage Santander’s assets.

As at June, the latest available disaggregated figures, the entity chaired by Ana Botín still had a portfolio of foreclosed assets amounting to €10.5 billion gross. They have been cleaned with €5.2 billion in provisions (48.9%), which brings their net value to €5.4 billion. Nevertheless, in September, it sold a portfolio of properties worth €1.5 billion to Cerberus. In addition, Santander has loans to property developers amounting to €5.7 billion. Of the total, €1.8 billion are doubtful balances, with a default rate of 32%.

Santander currently has agreements with three servicers (Altamira, Aliseda and Casaktua). It paid those three companies almost €460 million in management commissions last year.

Meanwhile, Aliseda, which is now controlled by Blackstone and Santander, has rescinded the syndicated loan that it signed in 2015. At the time, the funds Värde Partners and Kennedy Wilson owned 51% of the real estate manager’s share capital and Popular owned the remaining 49%.

Following the acquisition of Popular by Santander, the entity chaired by Ana Botón repurchased the 51% stake held by Värde Partners and Kennedy Wilson, as a step prior to the transfer of 100% of Aliseda to Quasar.

“According to the syndicated financing contract subscribed on 27 November 2015, the cancellation of the loan has been formalised, following the repayment of the principal and outstanding interest, and of the cancellation penalty for the overall amount of €266.03 million”, said Aliseda’s report.

The bank with the greatest share of the loan was Popular itself (33.33%), with an outstanding balance of €87.86 million at the end of 2017. Bankia, Santander, Sabadell and Bankinter, with shares of 10%, had outstanding balances of around €25 million each. ING (€24.3 million), Crédit Agricole (€23.3 million) and BBVA (€17.5 million) completed the group of banks in the syndicate.

The interest rate on the loan, conditioned on the debt ratio and the gross result of the company, was six-month Euribor plus a spread of between 2.75% and 3.50%.

Following the change of ownership of Aliseda and its senior management team, the servicer paid compensation for redundancies of €1.4 million last year. It also paid €5.64 million for a remuneration plan that granted certain executives the right to receive remuneration in the event of a change of control of the company.

Original story: Expansión (by M. Martínez)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Aelca & Aedas Enter Final Round of Sareb’s Property Developer Venture

1 June 2018 – Eje Prime

The bad bank is gradually outlining what its property development venture in Spain is going to look like. Aelca and Aedas Homes are the final candidates in the bid to take over the land portfolio that the bad bank has put on the market in exchange for entering the share capital of one of the house builders. By contrast, Vía Célere has abandoned the competition, leaving the path clear for the other two operators.

According to sources familiar with the process, Vía Célere has decided not to submit a final proposal to Sareb. The property developer, controlled by Värde Partners (51%), together with other funds, decided against going forward to exploit the bad bank’s €1.2 billion portfolio.

The bet by the entity chaired by Jaime Echegoyen is also happening because its property developer partner is listed on the stock market, such as in the case of Aedas, or has the intention of doing so, such as Aelca. That means that the financial institution will be able to divest its shares easily in the future and make a gain. That point is likely to have been one of the reasons that led Vía Célere to back out of the deal, given that it has put the brakes on its stock market debut following the postponements announced by Testa and Azora.

Original story: Eje Prime

Translation: Carmel Drake

Vía Célere Launches in Girona with a 139-Home Development

29 May 2018 – Eje Prime

Vía Célere is expanding its homes across Spain. The residential property developer has started marketing Célere Domeny, its first project in Girona, comprising 139 homes. The urbanisation is going to be built in the capital of the province located in the north of Cataluña. In that autonomous region, the company is already working on projects in Barcelona.

Vía Célere’s new development comprises two-, three- and four-bedroom homes, which are going to be built on a plot of land that will also have common areas with a swimming pool, a padel court, a gym and even a study room, amongst other services.

The residential development is located in the northwest of the city of Girona, in Pla Baix de Domeny between Calles Roberto Bolaño Avalos, Damià Escuder i Lladó and Carrer Font de la Teula. The developer is going to open an experiential office on the site, a project unveiled recently by Vía Célere, which allows visitors to tour different spaces and experience emotions and sensations.

The province of Girona is the tenth in which the real estate company chaired by Juan Antonio Gómez-Pintado has a presence. The firm is controlled by the international investment fund Värde Partners. In addition, the company owns plots of land in neighbouring Portugal, in Lisbon and Porto, which it inherited from its merger with Dospuntos in 2017.

Currently, Vía Célere has a land bank spanning 1.4 million m2 of buildable space, equivalent to a production capacity of 12,200 homes. The property developer invested €227 million last year to expand and diversify its land portfolio, with operations in Madrid, Sevilla, Valladolid, Barcelona, La Coruña, Girona and the Balearic Islands, amongst other provinces. Since 2007, the company’s management team has delivered 2,300 homes.

Original story: Eje Prime

Translation: Carmel Drake

Habitat Joins the Entrenúcleos Fever & Buys 3 Plots Spanning 30,000 m2

2 April 2018 – El Confidencial

Entrenúcleos, the immense expanse of land stretching out more than 7 million m2 across Dos Hermanas (Sevilla) and urbanised to a large extent, is continuing to attract new investors interested in starting to build homes as soon as possible. The latest player to join firms such as Inmobiliaria del Sur (Insur) in partnership with BBVA, Aelca and the Sevillan firm Bekinsa, is Habitat, the property developer that has been controlled by the US fund Bain Capital since the end of last year.

The group has acquired almost 30,000 m2 of land spread over three plots, through an auction of assets owned by the local property developer Ábaco. The total price, according to market sources, is a real bargain: €4.6 million. “Taking into account current sales prices in the area, which stand at around €1,700/m2 for a family home, and range between €1,400/m2 and €1,500/m2 in the case of flats, the final yield could reach 45%”, explain the same sources. Habitat has been awarded three plots on which to build 189 flats (on two of them) and 78 family homes on the third one.

Two other companies have also obtained land in the auction of Ábaco’s assets, which filed for bankruptcy in 2016. Firstly, the real estate company Aelca, controlled by the fund Värde Partners. That firm already acquired a decent amount of land in Entrenúcleos at the beginning of the year by purchasing land with a buildable surface area of almost 230,000 m2 on which to build 2,100 homes, for around €250 million. Now, Aelca has acquired another 14,000 m2 plot (with a buildability of 12,500 m2), on which it plans to build 78 terraced houses, for €3.2 million.

Aelca plans to start marketing the first two developments proceeding from its purchase at the beginning of the year in May. Finally, the third property developer to acquire land is the aforementioned Sevillan firm Bekinsa, controlled by the Beca family. It has acquired 16,600 m2, on which to build up to 30 family homes, for €1.2 million. The Sevillan firm is already marketing homes in two other apartment blocks in Entrenúcleos (…).

Other plots owned by Ábaco in the area, but included in a pro-indiviso in which the firm held a 30% stake and in which CaixaBank and the Town Hall of Dos Hermanas were also shareholders, did not get sold in the auction held before Easter. The same thing happened with other plots located close to Sevilla airport and whose urban planning procedures are in a much more preliminary stage than those of the plots in Entrenúcleos (…).

Original story: El Confidencial (by Carlos Pizá de Silva)

Translation: Carmel Drake

JP Morgan Negotiates €2bn Loan with Owner of Santander’s HQ

22 February 2018 – Voz Pópuli

There’s a new player in the complicated game of chess involving the bankruptcy and liquidation of the owner of Banco Santander’s headquarters, the Ciudad Financiera, in Madrid. One of the largest investment banks in the world, JP Morgan, is negotiating a €2 billion loan to unblock the bankruptcy proceedings, according to financial sources consulted by Vozpópuli. JP Morgan declined to comment about the rumours in the market. Market sources indicate that the loan has not been granted yet.

In this way, the US entity would support one of the shareholders, the company Edgeworth Capital, owned by the Iranian businessman Robert Tchenguiz. That banker is trying to get Marme Inversiones 2007, the company that owns the office complex, to emerge from bankruptcy without having to file for liquidation. To this end, it has asked Mercantile Court number 9 in Madrid to give it the green light to negotiate an early termination for payments with the creditors.

That is where JPMorgan comes in. Tchenguiz has managed to convince the entity to consider financing almost €2 billion, which would have to be used to repay all of the creditors, including several banks such as CaixaBank, ING, RBS and Santander itself, as well as funds such as GSO (owned by Blackstone), Canyon, Burlington, Värde Partners, Centerbridge and Monarch.

Many of these creditors, above all the funds that purchased debt at a discount, agree with Tchenguiz. But not the other shareholder, the British magnate Glenn Maud, who is preparing to make a rival offer, or Santander, which is leaning towards the proposal put forward by the Arab fund AGC.

Status of proceedings

After years of bankruptcy and hundreds of resources, the situation is closer than ever to being unblocked. In fact, the court has already given the green light to the liquidation plan for Marme Inversiones 2007. The problem is that two other parent companies, Delma and Ramblas, are still immersed in bankruptcy proceedings. A resolution is expected before the summer.

Unless there is a new legal war, all indications are that the financial situation of the owner of the Ciudad Financiera will be resolved this year.

Along with the proposal from Tchenguiz, the fund AGC and the consortium Madison-Maud-GCA are studying putting between €2.7 billion and €2.8 billion on the table for Santander’s headquarters, within the liquidation process.

Together with JPMorgan, Goldman Sachs is also positioning itself in this operation. It has been advising Santander for months on the solution that may be found to resolve the situation of its headquarters.

Original story: Voz Pópuli (by Jorge Zuloaga)

Translation: Carmel Drake