16 August 2016 – El Confidencial
Another new Socimi, VBA Real Estate, is planning to list on the stock exchange and has decided to accelerate its debut. It is now working against the clock ahead of its listing on the MAB (Alternative Investment Market) in November. But that is just the beginning, given that the company hopes to move onto the main stock market and to start competing with the large Socimis in the field, in other words, with Merlin, Hispania, Lar and Axiare.
In fact, its strategy on the stock market partially replicates those adopted by these large vehicles, given that the reason why VBA is debuting on the MAB is not just to comply with the legal requirements imposed on Socimis to benefit from their special tax regime. In this case, VBA also wants to raise money to finance new purchases and grow in size, a policy that would involve future capital increases, and that means that its upcoming debut on MAB will be structured as an IPO (Initial Public Offering or Oferta Pública de Suscripción or OPS).
To accompany it on its stock market debut, the Socimi has hired Renta 4 and Aguirre Newman, and has also hired professionals from firms such as PwC and McKinsey to comprise its management team, with David Calzada at the helm, as the CEO of VBA.
The Socimi already owns assets for rent in its portfolio, comprising 166 homes, 17 parking spaces and 68 storerooms, spread over four complete buildings; as well as others, scattered across several properties. It has performed these operations with a net direct profitability of 5%, without gearing, and a discount of between 10% and 30% on the market value, which has allowed it to accumulate an increase in its asset value of 34%.
To build this portfolio, VBA has invested €14 million, after having analysed operations worth €420 million and having raised €16.2 million, as well as having closed financing amounting to €3 million. With its upcoming debut on the stock market, the Socimi hopes to secure another €15 million, which will allow it to continue to progress towards its investment objective of €100 million.
According to its roadmap, the company hopes to have a gearing or Loan to Value (LTV) ratio of close to 50%, an ambitious challenge, given that it currently amounts to 16%.
To give credibility and transparency to these numbers, VBA subjects its accounts to a quarterly review and publishes the corresponding financial statements, along with a valuation of its assets, a policy that adopts in order to provide a period point of references to investors interested in investing in its shares. This approach means that it is already complying with the practices of the (main) stock market, even though the obligation does not apply to MAB-listed companies.
Currently, the Socimi’s share capital is owned by 35 different shareholders, from Israel, USA and Spain, and none of them owns more than 15% individually. Part of its decision to accelerate its debut on the stock market (it could have waited until 2017) was based on the fact that several investors are interested in buying its share capital, but they will only do so once the company is listed.
Madrid, Málaga, Valencia, Sevilla and Bilbao are the cities where VBA has set its sights. It tends to close its investments in specific areas and neighbourhoods outside of the centre of those capitals, focusing instead on more popular areas, where rental prices are more affordable.
Original story: El Confidencial (by R. Ugalde)
Translation: Carmel Drake