The largest vulture fund in the world, Blackstone, has taken advantage of the crisis years in Spain to become a brick empire in this country thanks to the acquisition of toxic assets from banks but also public housing. This is the case that has now been condemned by the Court of Auditors that claims the Former Mayor of Madrid Ana Botella and to seven members of his Government team 25 million euros.
That agreement, in 2013, was one of the first Blackstone operations in Spain. The first was the purchase of a portfolio of assets from Catalunya Banc. Since then, it has not stopped growing until becoming today the owner of six socimis – it has a seventh, Hispania, on which it launched a takeover in July – and one of the main landlords in Spain, with more than 22,000 homes for rent.
The year 2018 has been active for the group in terms of operations. The company has obtained the approval this week for its sixth socimi, Euripo, to start trading on the Alternative Stock Market. In the MAB, this partnership will unite with Torbel, Albirana, Testa, Corona and Fidere.
Precisely this last one is the company in which the assets of the EMVS were integrated whose operation has been criticized by the Court of Accounts in the judgment known this Friday. This company, which was quoted to the MAB in 2015, defended in its information brochure prior to going public that this operation was carried out "through a competitive process". Already in that document he assumed that the acquisition of public housing supposed "a reputational risk".
Blackstone announced last year, although it closed in 2018, its largest operation in Spain with the purchase of more than 30,000 million in toxic assets of Banco Popular after its acquisition by Banco Santander.
Of this type of operations comes the bulk of its real estate assets in Spain. The last socimi to go public, Euripo, has homes from BBVA and Banco Popular, as reported in its brochure of incorporation to the MAB. In this case there were 1,600 homes that were directly or indirectly included in the real estate, most of them unoccupied.
The low prices of real estate assets from which the bank has fallen and the increase in rental prices have served as an incentive for Blackstone to create this empire. His main milestone in this regard was the takeover of Testa Residencial, the largest Spanish rental housing company in Spain. This company was owned by BBVA and Santander and was also owned by Acciona and Merlin. He is currently the owner of 80% of this real estate and the rest is in the hands of Santander.