Deloitte faces loss of license to operate in Spain for “very serious offences”

July 2nd, 2013

According to El Confidencial, the auditing firm Deloitte is facing the loss of its license to operate in Spain. The Ministry of Economy has uncovered “very serious offenses” in the auditing of Bankia by Deloitte.

The inspection, carried out by the Institute of Accounting and Auditing (ICAC) of the Ministry of Economy, on the performance of Deloitte in the merger and IPO process of Bankia detected “very serious offenses”. These could lead to the loss of the license of the audit firm to operate in Spain. The findings, contained in three documents to which El Confidencial had access, have already been referred to the magistrate in the Bankia case, the National Court Judge Fernando Andreu, who will have to assess them now and decide if this implies new criminal liabilities. At present there are 32 past directors of Bankia who are defendants in the case that began after a complaint from the Union, Progress and Democracy (UPyD) political party.

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AXA Real Estate agrees to acquire Catalunya portfolio for €172 million

June 25th, 2013

AXA Real Estate Investment Managers (“AXA Real Estate”), the leading real estate manager in Europe with €45 billion of assets under management as of March 2013, announces that it has agreed to acquire a portfolio of up to 13 government-let office buildings in Barcelona, as part of a sale and lease back transaction with the Generalitat de Catalunya (the “Generalitat”) for €172 million. The acquisition of 11 of the properties is expected to complete on Friday, 28 June 2013, while the remaining two are subject to further due diligence and expected to close in the middle of July. This is AXA Real Estate’s first Spanish office acquisition since the financial crisis in 2008 and has been made on behalf of the AXA insurance companies.

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Vodafone lets 50,000 m² at Avenida de America 115, Madrid

April 30th, 2013

International property consultant, Jones Lang LaSalle, has closed the largest office letting deal ever in Spain, consisting of the letting of the Avenida de America 115, Business Park in Madrid to Vodafone Spain. The owner, Solvia, is the property arm of Banco Sabadell.

One of the main feature of the park is its location and facade onto the A2 motorway and proximity to the intersection with the M-40 close to the Campo de las Naciones in Madrid.

The property is adjacent to two metro stations, Canillejas and El Capricho on line 5 and several lines of the EMT bus company pass by the business complex. The business park includes 1,423 parking spaces.

The Madrid office letting team of Jones Lang LaSalle is led by Jose Miguel Setien.

Invesco buys Madrid Titán 4 tower from Pramérica for €40m

November 18th, 2011

German investment fund manager Invesco has bought the Titán 4 office building in Madrid for €40m from Pramerica, the real estate arm of US insurance firm Prudential. The sale of the tower, located in the Méndez Álvaro neighbourhood in the south of Madrid, is the largest single-asset transaction so far this year in Spain.

Pramérica bought the tower, which is a recent build, from Nozar in 2008. The building is currently rented to Adif, the railway infrastructure management company, and has a total area of 10,300 square metres and 218 parking spaces, according to the broker for the operation and future manager of the building, Cushman & Wakefield.

“This transaction has been possible thanks to the excellent quality of the building and its privileged location, despite of Spain’s current difficult market situation. A well-known tenant has also played an important role. High quality well- located product such as Titán 4 are the type of asset that international investors are looking for,” according to Jaime Alonso-Allende, Head of Office and Industrial Investment of C&W in Madrid.

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SICAD buys Cartagena mall from Perella Weinberg

November 14th, 2011

Spanish unlisted construction firm SICAD has acquired the Mandarache shopping centre in Cartagena from Perella Weinberg Capital Partners. The asset formed part of a €300m Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) debt package.

SICAD, Sociedad Industrial Cartagenera de Desarrollo, also owns the Parque Mediterráneo mall in the same city. The Mandarache mall, with 26,976 sq.m. of retail accomodation and 1,200 parking spaces, opened in 2006 after a €35m investment but has struggled to achieve full occupancy, with most units now empty. Ownership passed to RBS in early 2009 after the developer, Union y Desarrollos, went into receivership.

The mall was acquired as part of the debt package by Perella Weinberg Capital Partners, a New York-based financial and asset management firm, earlier this year.

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Värde exchanges contracts on Spanish retail portfolio deal at bargain price

November 9th, 2011

The US opportunistic investor Värde Partners is close to finalising the purchase of a retail portfolio across Spain currently owned by APN European Retail Property Group.

The Minneapolis based opportunistic investor is making its first purchase in the Spanish market with the acquisition of four assets. Värde is understood to be paying €70m in cash for the properties. Although there has been comment in the market that Spanish broker Aguirre Newman is advising the buyer and that Jones Lang LaSalle is advising the seller, i-comparables has been unable to confirm this.

The portfolio comprises La Vega retail mall in Madrid; two retail warehouses with three tenants located close to Pamplona, Navarra; the 31,000 m2 Cuadernillos Retail & Leisure Park in Alcala de Henares, Madrid and the Festival Park, factory outlet centre, in Palma de Mallorca.

According to PropertyEU, APN and RBS (the lender) put the assets on the market in May this year. Indicative offers were submitted by June, with three parties selected to make binding bids by end-July. However, due to growing financial market volatility and tighter financing, the vendors decided in September to re-open the bidding process to new buyers, including Värde, which recently emerged as the preferred party.

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RBS disposes of 50% stake in Madrid, Barcelona offices

November 5th, 2011

Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) has sold its 50% stake in two Madrid office buildings and one in Barcelona to Madrid-based Drago Capital and a US institutional investor for an undisclosed sum.

The bank, together with Drago, acquired 100% of the assets for €315m in 2008.
The buildings in Madrid, at Gran Vía 32 – which also contains retail units – and Miguel Yuste 40, and at Caspe 6-20 in Barcelona, are all leased by Prisa, Spain’s largest media conglomerate and owner of El País newspaper and Cadena SER radio, which sold the assets in 2008 in a sale-and-leaseback deal. The Gran Vía building also contains ground-floor retail units.

Madrid-based Drago Capital manages a real estate portfolio across Spain and Portugal valued at €2.7bn, including more than 1,200 bank branches of Santander and Bankia.

RBS currently has four shopping malls on the market, located in Madrid, Mallorca and Pamplona, and managed by Melbourne-based APN Property Group, which is withdrawing from the Spanish market.

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Investor interest returning to Spain – CBRE

November 3rd, 2011

Investors are optimistic of a recovery in Spain’s real estate sector but are avoiding residential, according to a study by realtor CBRE released during the Barcelona Meeting Point expo.

“European investors are showing an absolute lack of appetite for the Spanish residential market, CBRE’s research director Patricio Palomar said. According to the firm’s Barometer of Investment in Spain, only 7% of investors will opt for the residential and hotel sectors, with 50% seeking office and 40% prime shopping centres.

The report, based on a survey of 600 local and international investors, reveals that 73% believe the Spanish real estate sector will recover in the next 18 months and almost 57% plan to invest in Spain over the next six months.

The majority of investment in Spain comes from foreign investors. “Opportunist funds are showing a great deal of interest in Spain,” Palomar said, adding that a lack of deals is due to prices not matching investors’ expectations of reductions, and a lack of financing, the main obstacle to transactions according to 80% of the investors consulted.

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Spain’s NH Hoteles drops price of 20% stake to China’s HNA

November 3rd, 2011

Spanish hotel chain NH Hoteles has revised downward the price of the sale of a 20% stake to China’s HNA Group, better reflecting NH’s share price, which has tumbled by nearly 50% since January. The deal was originally announced in May.

The Chinese group will now pay €330m for a 20% stake, compared to the €432m originally offered, and based on €5.35 per share against €7 per share, which still represents a 64% premium on NH’s current share price of €3.26, the firm said in a statement.

The Spanish hotel chain will carry out a capital increase, issuing 60m shares at a price of €5.35 per share, which will make HNA the second-largest stakeholder after Hesperia, with 24%, and provide NH with a much-needed injection of liquidity and reducing its debt from €1.1bn to €787m.

The deal foresees the opening of two or three NH-brand hotels in China in 2012, with the Spanish chain keen to open “dozens” of hotels in what is perceived as a high-growth hospitality market over the coming years.

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Spain – “In 2011 the national property investment market will record its lowest investment volume in a decade.”

October 27th, 2011

“The turmoil in the global economy is holding back investment activity in southern Europe and Spain. In 2011 the national market will record its lowest investment volume in a decade. Although there is product available, investors are increasingly conservative and continue to wait for the perfect investment. The increase in the cost of financing and growing problems in gaining access to credit are slowing down sales processes.”

Danny Kinnoch – Director International Investment, Savills. 27th October, 2011.