Monday, December 22, 2008

Spanish Savings Bank CAM Enters EUR 63 Million Sale Leaseback of Three Office Buildings in Spain

PropertyEU - December 18, 2008

The employee pension fund of Spain's savings bank Caja de Ahorros del Mediterraneo (CAM) has acquired three office buildings from the bank for EUR 63 mln. The assets are located in Alicante, Valencia and Barcelona, and have been leased back to CAM for a period of 20 years with an option to extend for a further 10 years.

The fund said this sale-and-leaseback transaction is expected to 'give more stability to its real estate portfolio, as it provides a stable income stream which is less subject to market volatility. Sphere: Related Content

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Caixa Catalunya Seeking EUR 500 Million Sale Leaseback of 824 Bank Branches Across Spain

Reuters - December 14, 2008

Spanish savings bank Caixa Catalunya is seeking to sell 824 of its 1,200 buildings in Spain in a bid to raise 500 million euros ($663.4 million), La Vanguardia reported on Sunday, citing sources at the bank.The bank wants to strike a deal with potential buyers to continue to rent the branches, with a buy-back option for 10, 15 and 20 years, and wants to sell them in lots of 5 million euros, which would include 10 to 15 premises, the paper said.

The bank is in particular targeting its private banking clients as potential buyers, it added.

Its head office in Barcelona is not up for sale, added the report. No one was immediately available at the bank on Sunday to comment.

Other Spanish banks have also closed leaseback deals on their property, notably Spain's largest bank Santander (SAN.MC), which has sold more than 1,150 of its branches and other buildings and its headquarters complex at Boadilla del Monte on the outskirts of Madrid. Sphere: Related Content

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Tesco Pursuing €212 Million Sale Leaseback of Six Properties in Ireland

Property Week - December 12, 2008

Tesco plans to sell properties in the Republic of Ireland worth €212m (£184m), including shopping centres Golden Island in Athlone and Artane Castle, Artane, north Dublin.

It is looking for €60m (£52m) for Golden Island, which would reflect a net initial yield of 6.15%, and €35m (£30m) for Artane Castle – a yield of more than 6%.

DTZ Sherry FitzGerald is quoting €116.9m (£101m) for a sale and leaseback of four other stores. Sphere: Related Content

Sunday, December 07, 2008

European Banks Look to Sale Leasebacks for Liquidity Amid Tight Capital Markets

Property Week - December 5, 2008

European banks have embarked on a slew of sale and leasebacks in an attempt to raise cash amid the global economic turmoil.

Collapsed Belgian bank Fortis, BBVA and Banco Sabadell have all put portfolios on the market.

Almost every other top European bank, from Italy’s UniCredito to Royal Bank of Scotland in the UK, is also scrutinising its property holdings to see where money can be made.

A report by Merrill Lynch found that Europe’s leading banks need to raise a further €73bn (£61bn) to keep their finances steady.

Cushman & Wakefield found that the top 43 European banks have €63bn (£52bn) of property assets on their balance sheets (see table).

Matthew Stone, head of occupier strategy at Cushman & Wakefield, said: ‘One increasingly popular method for banks to raise capital is through sale and leasebacks. The Spanish banks, BBVA and Banco Sabadell, and Fortis of Belgium, have all recently announced plans for billions of euros of sale and leaseback transactions, and many other European banks are actively considering them as a cost-efficient method of raising finance.

‘Leading European banks have over €63bn of land and buildings on their balance sheets which, if fully monetised, would meet almost all the €73bn of additional capital needs estimated by Merrill Lynch.’

There are investors willing to buy this kind of property. The fact that some banks have been bailed out by governments provides reassurance that they are safe from insolvency and are good covenants. Sphere: Related Content

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Renown Agrees to $89.3 Million Sale Leaseback of Two Properties in Japan

Trading - December 1, 2008

Japan's Renown Inc. (TSE:3606) said Friday that it will sell its headquarters building in Tokyo and an office building in Osaka for a total of 8.5 billion yen (US$89.3 million). The apparel company, which is undergoing rehabilitation, plans to use the proceeds to reduce interest-bearing debt and renovate stores.

Renown will sell the Tokyo property to building-leasing firm TOC CO. (8841) for 6 billion yen and the Osaka property to condominium builder Haseko Corp. (TSE:1808) for 2.5 billion yen.

It will sign lease contracts with the buyers and continue using the buildings. Sphere: Related Content

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Dearth of Financing Slows Sale Leasebacks

Financial Week - November 30, 2008

The credit crunch is killing the trend of using sale-leasebacks to raise capital, because frozen conditions have made it nearly impossible to get deals done.

Through Nov. 1, sale-leasebacks totaled $6.2 billion, less than half of the $14.2 billion in such transactions seen during 2007, according to Real Capital Analytics. Most of the deals that do close are one-off, single-tenant transactions amounting to less than $100 million each, experts say, a change from the large portfolio deals that dominated the market in years past.

From 2002 through 2007, sale-leasebacks gained popularity with private equity firms, which sold real estate assets from acquisitions to pay off the loans used to bankroll their leveraged buyouts. Having less invested capital increased PE firms’ net returns on assets and equity.

But few other corporations saw the need for them because the liberal lending atmosphere made capital promptly and cheaply obtainable. As that lending has dried up, sale-leasebacks, like most other forms of financing, have become both more desirable and less available.

Sale-leasebacks have slowed dramatically,” said Dan Fasulo, managing director of Real Capital Analytics. “It’s counterintuitive, because you’d think that they would be thriving in this type of environment. But it doesn’t matter how good the tenants are, the lenders just are not there.”

One reason is that lenders can no longer package loans for sale-leasebacks into securities as they did during the real estate boom.

“If the debt is available, it’s available in smaller denominations, because you are working directly with a lender, not from a securitization anymore,” said Mindy Berman, the managing director of corporate capital markets at Jones Lang LaSalle.

In addition to providing another source of capital, sale-leasebacks offer a way to reap gains on property that has been on the balance sheet. Companies have been depreciating their real estate assets for years, so the book value of those assets is low and companies should realize hefty profits on sales. But commercial real estate prices have come down considerably from their 2007 highs, and some executives harbor unrealistic expectations regarding the value of their properties, experts said.

“There is still a real spread between sellers’ expectations and what buyers are willing to pay,” said Arthur Greenberg, an executive vice president in the Washington office of real estate broker Studley. “There is a lot of money sitting on the sidelines, but it is primarily private equity money, and [private equity] has higher yield expectations than the current market is offering.”

Potential investors will only consider deals for top-notch properties whose tenants have stellar credit, and they’re looking for long-term leases that stretch to 15 years instead of 10. Medical office building sale-leasebacks represent a bright spot in the industry, while deals have dried up in sectors that have suffered more from the financial slowdown, such as retail or automotive.

“Underwriting has changed significantly in the sale-leaseback realm,” said Ms. Berman of Jones Lang LaSalle. “We’re back to basics. You need to underwrite the credit of the tenant and the property fundamentals.”

Still, Ms. Berman said her office fields calls every day from companies interested in determining the value of their property and the feasibility of a sale-leaseback.

“In today’s market, everyone is desperate,” said Bill Pollert, president of CapLease, a real estate investment trust that specializes in single-tenant properties. “They’re looking for every possible way to generate capital. It’s hard for companies that are not in real estate to justify owning property.”

Experts expect the sector to lead the rebound in commercial real estate once credit conditions relax.

“Fundamentally, the economics that justify sale-leasebacks are strong and viable,” Mr. Pollert said. “It’s a segment that will come back and will be strong once the debt markets come back. There is a lot of pent-up demand out there.” Sphere: Related Content

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