Hispania Activos Inmobiliarios in €500m float

Powerful cornerstone investors such as AGP back a new Spanish firm as it seeks to tap €500 million of equity via a listing on the Spanish stock market.

Hispania Activos Inmobiliarios, a new Madrid-based real estate company, has declared it is seeking to raise €500 million via an initial public offering on a total of four Spanish stock exchanges.

Cornerstone investors that have already agreed to invest in the company include Quantum Strategic Partners – part of George Soros’ private circle of firms, New York’s Paulson and Co, Moore Capital Management, Dutch asset manager APG, Cohen & Steers and the Canepa group.

In a statement today, the firm said so far these cornerstone investors had helped it to €314 million of commitments and that it would seek further capital by institutional share placements on the stock markets of Madrid, Barcelona, Bilboa and Valencia before the end of the month.

Madrid-based investment group Azora is behind the new company that is seeking institutional investors in Hispania Activos Inmobiliarios. The company was established in 2003 to invest in real assets in Spain and raised a €1.2 billion fund in 2004 from institutional investors. It has funds for investing in social housing, student accommodation, office properties and was founded by Concha Osácar and Fernando Gumuzio, according to the company’s website.

Azora will be the external manager of the new real estate company which will invest capital over three years primarily in well-located multi-family residential properties, offices, and hotels in Spain. It hopes assets will provide income as well as value appreciation, it said, and that exits would come from the fourth-year onwards.

Already Spain is becoming a popular hunting ground for real estate firms as well as private equity, credit and hedge funds looking to invest in the country in the hope of big profits, as evidenced most recently by GreenOak Real Estate entering into a deal in the last few weeks. Azora partnered Goldman Sachs’ Real Estate Principal Investment Area (REPIA) last year in buying a portfolio of 3,000 flats mainly in Madrid in an early example of the trend.

Also in the last few weeks, the Lar group of Spain announced its intention for a €400 million IPO of a public Spanish property company. Both Lar and Azora are structuring the public companies as SOCIMIs – a Spanish equivalent of a REIT.

The IPO of Hispania Activos Inmobiliarios as a blind pool listed vehicle comes just days after Los Angeles-based Kennedy Wilson raised around €1.1 billion on the London stock exchange for a similarly blind pool of capital held by Kennedy Wilson Real Estate to make investments in target markets such as the UK, Ireland and Spain. In that instance, cornerstone investors included Canada’s Fairfax, Fidelity and part of Franklin Templeton.