LaSalle Purchases Repsol’s HQ in Madrid for €100M

7 January 2019 – Idealista

A year of new real estate operations in Spain has begun and one of the first has been completed by an international fund. LaSalle Investment Management has purchased the future headquarters of Repsol in Atocha, in the Méndez Álvaro area of Madrid, from Royal Metropolitan for €100 million.

The building, located at number 23 Calle General Lacy, used to house the headquarters of the real estate consultancy Aguirre Newman, but that firm vacated the property in the summer to move to BBVA’s former tower on Paseo de la Castellana, 81 after it was acquired by the British firm Savills. LaSalle is a fund manager specialising in real estate investments. It is a subsidiary of the JLL group, listed in New York and the parent company of the real estate consultancy JLL.

Dating from the end of the nineteenth century, the building was formerly a Tabacalera warehouse until 1999, when Aguirre Newman undertook the renovation of the property to open its consultancy offices there. In the past, the asset was owned by the fund Zaphir, the manager linked to Aguirre Newman, although it has changed hands several times before ending up with another manager linked to a competitor firm.

LaSalle is one of the 20 largest managers of real estate funds in the world by properties under management, with an asset portfolio worth more than €53.2 billion at the end of the third quarter 2018. With its central headquarters in Chicago, the fund is present in 17 countries. The management firm was reborn following the merger of the British company Jones Lang Wootton and the US entity LaSalle Partners in 1999, which gave rise to the JLL holding company.

Original story: Idealista 

Translation: Carmel Drake

C&W, Savills & Colliers Compete To Buy Aguirre Newman

20 April 2017 – El Confidencial

The final round of the sales process for Aguirre Newman has started and three firms are fighting to take home the trophy. The suitors in question are Cushman & Wakefield, Savills and Colliers, the only three players that have submitted bids for the real estate consultancy firm, according to sources in the market.

The winner is expected to be announced in less than a month. Following the first analysis of the proposals submitted, C&W and Savills are the favourites to reach an agreement with Aguirre Newman, to the detriment of Colliers.

As El Confidencial revealed, Aguirre Newman engaged Atlas Capital in February to organise a sales process that could result in a valuation for the company of between €80 million and €100 million, given that the consultancy firm’s turnover amounts to €80 million and its operating profit (EBITDA) stands at €12 million.

Although there was speculation that venture capital funds, such as Cinven and Apax Partners, may be interested in acquiring the real estate consultancy firm, to take advantage of the recovery in the sector, the underlying reasons that caused the company to organise the sales process in the first place rule out a movement of this kind, a priori.

According to the explanation provided by the head of the group to the workforce, the engagement of Atlas forms part of Aguirre Newman’s new Strategic Plan, which seeks to grow in size and importance, at both the domestic and international levels. The idea is that it may be able to handle that leap in magnitude more quickly if it is able to reach some kind of agreement with another firm in the sector.

Aguirre Newman is the only domestic brand of the large companies that operate in the world of real estate consultancy – the market is dominated by multinationals such as CBRE, JLL, Knight Frank, BNP Paribas Real Estate, C&W, Colliers and Savills. The largest eight players account for more than 90% of the turnover in this market in Spain.

With almost 400 professionals, Aguirre Newman stands out due to its good position in the Spanish capital and due to its architecture division, a “rare species” in the sector, which some of the firms that have expressed interest in the sales process have valued as a differential sign when considering the operation,

In addition to the usual work undertaken by these types of firms – advisory, valuations, appraisals, management… – the Spanish firm has tried to pursue new avenues of growth and expansion, like it did in the past with the fund Zaphir and, more recently, with the creation of a specific business unit for the ‘fintech’ world.

Original story: El Confidencial (by R. Ugalde)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Amazon Revolutionises The Logistics Sector

9 February 2017 – Expansión

The boom in e-commerce and the arrival of the large distribution giants, like Amazon, have caused a genuine tsunami in the real estate market and in the way we understand logistics. Logistics assets – which were, until recently, the ugly duckling of the sector – have really blossomed and now represent one of the investment segments with most potential, given their risk-return relationship, according to the experts.

Operators are increasingly looking for more large logistics warehouses on the outskirts of cities, which they combine with distribution centres situated on ring-roads to make deliveries on time and on budget.

“The effect is a reflection of new consumer habits and online purchases, as well as of consumer expectations, which require products to arrive on time and to be easily returnable (inverse logistics)”, explains Antonio Montero, Director of the Industrial-Logistics business at Aguirre Newman.

Alberto Larrazábal, National Director of Industrial and Logistics at CBRE, said that there has been an increase in the e-commerce market. “Operators are increasingly demanding more logistics and distribution space. In Madrid and Barcelona, 400,000 m2 and 700,000 m2 of space was leased, respectively, in 2016 and e-commerce accounted for 25% of those amounts.

Javier García-Mateos, Partner in Financial Advisory at Deloitte said that “retailers are starting to use their own establishments in cities as logistics and distribution points for e-commerce”.

García-Mateos also said that there is greater demand for the development of cross-docking warehouses (which reduce the time needed for logistics operations and which can be adapted to the needs of e-commerce) in the vicinity of the main urban nuclei. (…).

“Logistics spaces are moving increasingly closer to cities, there are even warehouses inside city centres. These are points where companies can serve their customers in the fastest and most effective way”, said Luis Guardia, Director of the Logistics and Industrial Area at JLL.

Guardia also explained that the major department stores are also committed to opening “regional hubs” to get closer to the major urban nuclei.

Development activity

In terms of investment, Larrazábal considers that the logistics and industrial sectors are becoming more fashionable by the day. “Large funds and private investors will end up acquiring these assets”, he said.

Over the last three years, investment volumes have grown considerably, to reach more than €800 million last year.

One example of this investor appetite is Merlin’s purchase of Saba Parques Logísticos – the company that groups together Saba’s stakes in five parks – for €115 million.

“The logistics market is interesting as it allows the Socimis to diversify and add new assets to their portfolio that generate returns not afforded by the other assets at the moment”, said García-Mateos. Other operators that are committed to this market include Logicor (Blackstone), Zaphir, Prologis, Rockspring, GreenOak and the joint venture between Colony and Neinver.

In the same way, experts indicate that development activity has resumed. “Developers and investors know that there is latent demand in high quality logistics assets and this is encouraging them to buy land and build assets”, said Montero

Original story: Expansión (by Rebeca Arroyo)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Aguirre Newman Sells Portfolio Of Retail Premises For €40M

19 October 2016 – El Confidencial

Less than six months after putting its portfolio of retail premises up for sale, Aguirre Newman has reached an agreement to sell the jewel in the crown: the 14 assets that it owns in Madrid.

According to several sources familiar with the deal, the real estate consultancy has reached an agreement with a Madrilenian family office to close the sale for almost €40 million. With this move, the buyer will acquire a portfolio of assets located, above all, on the Spanish capital’s main high streets.

This lot forms part of the Zaphir real estate fund, which engaged Arcano to organise a formal sales process of 32 retail premises located in several provincial capitals, for a total amount of €80 million.

Nevertheless, during the negotiations and thanks to the attractive offer received for the Madrilenian assets on their own, Aguirre Newman has decided to sell these assets in one lot and to divest the other assets in smaller separate operations.

The portfolio of retail premises in Madrid has an average historical occupancy rate of almost 90% and enjoys a diversified profile of tenants, ranging from giants such as Zara Home, Vips, Trussardi, Cortefiel and Punt Roma to popular corner shops (typically run by Chinese families).

Madrid accounts for 56% of the rental income from this portfolio thanks to the fact that it contains high quality premises such as the store located at number 82 on the sought-after Calle Serrano, which is houses to a Trussardi shop.

Zaphir’s divestments

The sale of these retail premises forms part of Zaphir’s divestment process. The fund also reached an agreement with Neinver and Colony at the beginning of this year to sell them some logistics assets for €87 million.

The recovery in consumption has reawakened investors’ appetite for high street premises, as we saw in 2015, when they invested more than €1,200 million in retail premises, significantly exceeding the historical investment volume in the segment.

Original story: El Confidencial (by Ruth Ugalde)

Translation: Carmel Drake

BNP: Inv’t In Logistics Assets Reached €662M In 2015

8 June 2016 – Mis Naves

According to the real estate consultancy firm, BNP Paribas, “2015 was an exceptional year” for the logistics sector in Spain, with total investment amounting to €662 million, whereby exceeding the figure recorded in the previous year to register the highest investment volume in the last eleven years.

The data available for 2016, corresponding to the first quarter, confirms this rising trend, with total investment exceeding €320 million between January and March 2016 – this figure essentially relates to three large portfolios: Metrovacesa, Zaphir and Prologis.

For the analysts at BNP Paribas Real Estate, the good performance of consumption and industrial output, which began three years ago, has continued to boost the logistics market in 2015 and so far in 2016. Moreover, the shortage of high quality products has led to a slight increase in income and above all, to a stabilisation of prices. Thanks to the availability of land, new developments may go on the market at these rental prices. For this reason, the consultancy considers that 2016 offers good opportunities for buying and selling logistics assets.

It is worth highlighting two key milestones that are shaping the evolution of the logistics real estate sector and boosting the strong outlook for this sector.

On the one hand, 2014 and 2015 were the years when the highest ever investments were made in logistics warehouses. More than 50% of the high quality logistics warehouses changed hands during that period. The market saw a generational change in owners, with the disappearance of some and the appearance of others. The latter group includes international investors, which have been positioning themselves in the market, including several specialists, such as Prologis, which have strengthened their positioning; and the Socimis, which have secured capital overseas and invested it in this segment to create significant portfolios of logistics warehouses. During the first quarter of 2016, the main Socimis and funds interested in logistics assets invested around €320 million.

On the other hand, consumer habits have changed with the crisis, which has led to a very significant increase in the volume of purchases made online, to the detriment of in-store shopping. In this vein, e-commerce is growing at an average rate of 20% p.a.. To the extent that the volume of purchases made online increases, so too does demand for logistics spaces designed to provide support for these types of businesses. In 2015, around 17,000 sqm of logistics space was leased for e-commerce use. Even so, in Spain, online shopping accounts for just 3% of overall consumption, which reflects the potential for growth in the country, above all if we compare it with other markets such as Germany and the UK, where e-commerce accounts for 10% and 13.5% of all shopping, respectively. (…).

During 2016, consumption is expected to continue to grow with the same energy, along with the leasing of logistics space. Income will continue to increase and yields will continue to decrease due to the shortage of high quality logistics products. The e-commerce business will grow and so too will demand for cross-docking and XXL warehouses. The main Socimis and funds will continue to expand their portfolios with logistics assets. (…).

Original story: Mis Naves

Translation: Carmel Drake

Caprabo’s Former Owners Put 33 Supermarkets Up For Sale

7 May 2015 – Expansión

The Carbó, Botet and Elías families, i.e. the former owners of the supermarket chain Caprabo, have decided to cash in (some of) the real estate assets they own through their investment vehicle Caboel.

This company was created by Caprabo’s three founding families in 1986, in order to manage the real estate assets owned by the supermarket chain. The Carbó family and its partners excluded the retail premises, warehouses and other properties from the transaction when they sold the company to Eroski in 2007.

Now, Caboel has put a batch of 33 supermarkets up for sale (around a third of the total number they own), most of which are located in Barcelona and its metropolitan area, with a total surface area of 88,410 square metres. The portfolio, known as Blue Box, contains properties that generate annual rental income of €6.93 million.

All of the premises continue to be leased to Caprabo, under long-term contracts (the majority expire on 31 December 2028 and at the end of 2033). The 33 properties include shops measuring just over 500 square metres and one store measuring 18,500 square metres in El Masnou. In addition to the retail space, the properties up for sale include more than 3,000 parking spaces.

Caboel has engaged the consultant CBRE to manage the sale. This lot has generated a lot of interest in the market, due to its “unique” nature. Possible buyers include several Socimis, the real estate division of Generali, Zaphir and Drago Capital, said sources close to the process. Bids (are expected to) amount to around €100 million, explain market sources.

It is expected that binding offers will be received within the next few weeks and that transaction will close before the summer.

Original story: Expansión (by R. Ruiz)

Translation: Carmel Drake