Archive for January, 2014

Spain’s Catalan Government to sell fifteen buildings for up to €300 million

Friday, January 31st, 2014

Sources in the real estate sector have indicated that the Generalitat de Catalunya is to put up a portfolio of fifteen buildings for sale for which it could obtain up to €300 million.

The privatization of these properties, for which the list has still not been completely finalized, is the first step of the initiative to obtain extraordinary income as reflected in the 2014 Budget where income of €2.3 billion from sales and concessions is expected.

This large portfolio of properties has an area of around 90,000 m2 and basically comprises office buildings, many of them occupied by the Catalan government itself, which would remain as a tenant following a sale and leaseback transaction. Sources from the Ministry of Economy have declined to comment.

The sale is expected to arouse the interest of international investors and real estate funds, although history has shown that these auctions always have tortuous results.

The main point of reference for investors interested in the portfolio is the transaction closed by Axa Real Estate in June 2013, when it acquired 13 buildings for an amount of €172 million. This transaction which amounted to an area of 80,000 m2 of above ground accomodation provided a guaranteed return of 10%.

For detailled information about investment and corporate sales transactions in Spain and office rental transactions in Madrid and Barcelona contact: i-comparables.com

Investment funds falling over to recruit top executives in Spain

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

Spain is back on international investor radar screens. Foreign investment funds increasing interest in entering the Spanish property and capital markets is having a positive effect on the executive employment market, giving rise to a wave of executive signings. After several years of monitoring from London or New York, investment companies have decided to form local teams or hire consultants to carry out their plans for Spain.

Some large investment funds have preferred to wait until they had acquired some investments before hiring a team. This was the case with the U.S. fund, Anchorage, which waited until it had acquired real estate assets from EuroHypo (Operation Copernicus) and shares in Codere and La Seda, apart from looking at other transactions such as El Arbol and Supersol supermarket portfolios. After this period they signed up Juan José Nieto as representative for Spain. Nieto is a past chairman of Service Point, a quoted Spanish company, and also of Vía Digital and Antena 3 TV, both previously owned by Telefonica.

Other funds have preferred the figure of senior advisor to take the market pulse before making their first investment. This path was the one adopted ​by U.S. firm, Searchlight, founded by former directors of Apollo. Searchlight has appointed Gonzalo Díaz-Ratobeen as its top Spanish executive. Díaz-Ratobeen is a veteran of Spanish venture capital companies and has passed through Gala and Suala Capital, both Spanish investment managers.

Firms such as Oaktree, Cerberus and Brookfield have all been busy recruiting due to their interest in the Spanish economy and investing in companies such as Panrico, BankiaHabitat and Abertis. These funds have hired veterans from the Ibex 35 in the role of senior advisors, namely Juan Arena (formerly at Bankinter), Juan Hoyos (formerly at McKinsey) and Rafael Miranda (former CEO of Endesa).

For more operational roles, the contracted financial and management executive profile is of a lower age range (35/45). Some recent signings include Fortress (Chema Cava), Varde (Hector Serrat), Goldman Sachs (José Antonio Urquizu), Apollo (Enrique Ibáñez) and HIG (John Barnet), who have turned to professionals from other funds in the same industry (Gladia, Patron, Portobello, BBVA and Riverside) which are now less operational.

This wave of signings is maintaining the momentum initiated by the first investment funds which set up operational structures in Spain in early 2013, such as Blackstone (Iñaki Echave) and KKR (Jesus Olmos). Now, in 2014, other well known international venture capital partners such as BC Partners and Cinven are addressing their physical prescence in Spain. Investor appetite has always been around, but the gap between buyers and sellers pricing aspirations is increasingly narrowing which is why international investors are committing more and more resources to Spain.

For transactions information about the Spanish commercial real estate investment market and Madrid and Barcelona office rental markets contact: i-comparables.com

Commerzbank selling huge Spanish Eurohypo real estate portfolio

Thursday, January 23rd, 2014

Commerzbank, has put the biggest credit portfolio on the market in the history of Spain and the largest in Europe at the present time. The second largest German bank wants to liquidate all its real estate asset positions in Spain, which amount to €5 billion, and has retained the services of Lazard for the purpose.

The enormous interest of international funds to buy loan portfolios and real estate assets in Spain has led Commerzbank to put the Eurohypo portfolio up for sale. Eurohypo, one of the major financiers of real estate in Spain during the era of the property bubble, was acquired by its German mortgage bank rival after the real estate bubble burst.

Commerzbank, which between 2009 and 2010 had to be partially nationalized partly due to the indigestion that followed on from the merger with Eurohypo, wishes to divest these loans and assets during 2014, either by dividing the assets into lots or through a disposal in a single transaction.

According to official information from Commerzbank, the portfolio consists of €3.3 billion in loans that are currently up to date on payments and €1.7 billion delinquent or non performing loans (NPL’s).

Lazard has already started preparing the sales particulars to send to potential buyers, which include entities such as Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs and Bank of America Merrill Lynch, some of the most active banks in transactions of this type, as well as opportunistic funds such as Fortress, Cerberus, Lone Star, Apollo, Anchorage, Centerbridge, HIG, Kennedy Wilson, Varde Partners and Blackstone.

See original article in El Confidencial El Confidencial

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