BBVA buys back 166 retail units from Merlin Properties.

BBVA has repurchased 166 of its retail branches in mid-sized cities from former landlord Merlin Properties Socimi for €252M.

Spain’s second largest bank offloaded retail units to various funds between 2008 and 2009 and in fact one of these portfolios was amongst Merlin Properties’ first acquisitions: the so-called Tree portfolio, with an initial set of more than 800 units.

According to newspaper Cinco Días, following the announced transaction, Spanish REIT Merlin Properties will continue to have some 699 bank branches in its portfolio.

As published in the REIT’s quarterly results, the price BBVA has paid represents a +3.6% premium with respect to the latest appraisal as at the 30th of June 2018.

The listed fund’s intensive divestment activity has seen the completion of other transactions such as the Testa Residencial portfolio which sold for €321.2M and various non-core properties in Granada del Penedés, Sant Boi and three Tree Portfolio units to a private investor. These sales have enabled the generation of €588M in sales proceeds for the fund with an overall premium of 2.5%.

The REIT, however, continues to invest in new acquisitions and capex and has spent €562.4M on the purchase of Zen Tower and the Almada Shopping Centre in Lisbon as well as several logistics warehouses in Getafe, San Fernando (Madrid), Vitoria and Guadalajara. In addition, the property group has spent €33M on the development and refurbishment of Torre Chamartín, Torre Glòries and the new X-Madrid shopping center.

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