The 4 Largest Socimis Will Specialise By Asset Type

31 January 2017 – Cinco Días

Hotels, logistics assets, offices, shopping centres. The four largest Socimis – Merlin, Hispania, Lar España and Axiare – are entering their third year of life, and as they do so, they are embarking upon a new phase of specialisation by type of asset – the aim is to make their management more effective and ensure that they remain attractive to large international funds. (…). 

Between them, Merlin, Hispania, Axiare and Lar España now own assets worth almost €14,000 million – they have created small empires out of nothing.

Hispania looks set to become one of the major stars of 2017 with a series of operations planned to strengthen its already high degree of specialisation in hotels. The Socimi, in which the magnate George Soros owns a 16% stake, has a portfolio worth €1,793 million (including its most recent purchases at their acquisition prices). 61% of the portfolio value relates to hotels and most are located in the Canary Islands (70%) and the Balearic Islands (16%).

The experts forecast that this company, managed by Azora and led by Concha Osácar, will put the majority of its offices and residential assets on the market, and at the same time, will continue to buy up hotels. (…). 

Meanwhile, Merlin has taken steps to divest its residential and hotel assets, transferring them to Testa and Foncière des Murs, respectively, and is continuing to expand its core portfolio with its recent purchase of the Torre Agbar office block in Barcelona for €142 million. The Socimi’s portfolio currently comprises offices (48%), shopping centres (18%) – Merlin is now one of the major players in this segment – retail premises (22%) and logistics assets (5%). Experts consider that the latter have enormous potential to generate higher returns for this Socimi.

Axiare, led by Luis López Herrera-Oria, has already focused heavily on offices, which account for 73% of its €1,300 million portfolio. It has enhanced its presence significantly in recent weeks through its acquisitions of the headquarters of PSA, Cuatrecasas, McKinsey and Vocento for €242 million in total.

The Socimi’s high decree of specialisation in offices has led Colonial to take advantage of the fund Perry Capital’s departure from its share capital to acquire 15% of the Socimi. Some in the sector view this move as a precursor to a possible takeover bid, but the Catalan real estate company has denied the claim repeatedly. (…). 

Finally, Lar, led by José Luis del Valle and Miguel Pereda, has managed to specialise mainly in shopping centres, which now account for 75% of its €1,201 million portfolio. With shareholders that include Pimco and Franklin Templeton, the company owns 17 assets including shopping centres, retail parks and hypermarkets.

In just three years, Lar España has risen up the ranks to become the third largest owner of shopping centres in Spain, behind Unibail and Merlin. (…).

Original story: Cinco Días (by Alfonso Simón Ruiz)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Vocento Sells ABC’s HQ In Madrid To Axiare For €35M

27 December 2016 – ABC

On Friday, the Vocento Group announced that it has reached an agreement to sell the headquarters of the ABC newspaper, located on Calle Juan Ignacio Luca de Tena in Madrid, to the Socimi Axiare for €35 million, according to a statement sent by the group to Spain’s National Securities and Exchange Commission (CNMV).

Vocento reported that it has signed a five-year rental contract with Axiare, which will allow it to continue to occupy the property as the tenant. The operation is expected to generate net profits before tax of €22 million for the company.

The company stated that the operation forms part of its strategy to optimise its existing real estate portfolio. The consultancy firm Aguirre Newman participated in the operation as the real estate advisor.

Original story: ABC

Translation: Carmel Drake

Vocento Finalises Sale Of Its Madrid HQ To Axiare

15 December 2016 – Cinco Días

Axiare has put its foot down on the accelerator to complete several purchases during the final month of the year. In addition to its acquisition of the headquarters of Cuatrecasas and McKinsey in Madrid, the Socimi is now finalising the purchase of the building from where Vocento operates its business in Madrid. The operation will be closed imminently, for around €35 million, according to several sources familiar with the operation.

Vocento is following the strategy of moving from being the owner of the property to becoming the tenant, in exchange for making some money. Currently, the group has debt amounting to €128.5 million, according to data submitted to the CNMV relating to the third quarter.

The building, located on Calle Juan Ignacio Luca de Tena (the historical director of the ABC newspaper and member of its founding family) has been home to the newspaper since 1989, when it abandoned its headquarters on Paseo de la Castellana, where the ABC Serrano shopping centre is now located.

The holding company has negotiated a rental contract with the Socimi, which allows its companies to continue to occupy the headquarters in Luca de Tena for five years. In addition to ABC, Vocento has several online businesses, such as Infoempleo; several influential regional newspapers resulting from the merger of Prensa Española with Grupo Correo; a number of magazines; and the Colpisa agency, amongst others.

The building is located at exit Km 7 on the A-2 motorway. This area of the capital has been enjoying a busy few months, with Popular constructing its new corporate headquarters on the adjoining plot of land, and the University Clinic of Navarra building its first major hospital in Madrid just a few metres away, which is expected to open next year.

Through this acquisition, Axiare Patrimonio adds another new building to its growing portfolio, which comprises offices, retail and logistics assets. The Socimi, which debuted on the stock market in 2014, has now accumulated assets worth €1,230 million in just over two years. These types of listed real estate investment company have beneficial tax regimes, whereby they do not pay corporation tax, but they are obliged to distribute dividends on an annual basis. (…).

Original story: Cinco Días (by Alfonso Simón Ruiz)

Translation: Carmel Drake