July 25, 2021

Habitat seeks to return to the league of the big real estate promoters | Economy

Habitat seeks to return to the league of the big real estate promoters | Economy



Habitat Real Estate wants to return to the big league. The historic Catalan firm, founded in 1953 by the Figueras family, was acquired at the end of 2017 by the US fund Bain Capital Credit. The operation ended the company's debt – which in 2008 presented the second largest bankruptcy of the history of Spain with 2,300 million debts – and now it is promoting an ambitious business plan for the coming years that was presented on Tuesday at its new headquarters in Madrid. The plan includes an investment in land worth 500 million euros until 2021. "Bain Capital has bought the company and provided it with sufficient capital to buy land," said Juan María Nin, former director of Sabadell and CaixaBank and now president non-executive of Habitat.

According to José Carlos Saz, CEO of Habitat, of the 500 million for the acquisition of land, this year 70 have already been allocated to the purchase of some 160,000 square meters of land and in the coming months they hope to invest another 50 more. The developer has around 1,400 homes in commercialization phase and will exceed 2,000 before the end of the year. Saz has also indicated that his plans contemplate delivering 2018 between 200 and 250 homes, next year about 350 and in 2020 more than 500. Although the big jump will come in 2021. "Our goal is to reach a cruising speed of 2,000 homes annual, "said Saz. For this, Habitat will have a ground bag of 800,000 square meters with capacity to build 9,000 homes.

Saz has stressed that most of the land purchased will be a finalist, although he added that "the plan also includes land under management." From the acquisition of land, Habitat plans to finance the construction of their homes through "developer loans through financial institutions." The new promotions will be located in traditional markets of the company: Madrid, Catalonia, Valencia, Canary Islands, Seville and Malaga. "We do not rule out other areas where we see a clear demand for housing," added the chief executive. In that sense, he has cited a promotion recently launched in Santander.

On the economic forecasts – the IMF recently warned of global risks that can upset the situation in the coming years – both executives have been optimistic to questions from journalists. "For the coming months, stable demand is expected," Nin said, although he also admitted that growth could slow down and "stabilize" in two or three years. "We are going to go to moderation," Saz estimated.

Brad Palmer, head of the European division of Bain Capital Credit, has also been present at the press. Palmer has specified that the current participation of the fund in Habitat is 51% but has avoided talking about IPO or divestment plans. "Our main objective is to build a great company," he said. "If we do that, the market will reward us, but right now we are focused on that."

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