Mexican Carlos Slim becomes latest billionaire to invest in Spanish property
April 14, 2016 - Spain
The world’s top billionaires are battling for Spanish property. Bill Gates, George Soros and Amancio Ortega have all taken stakes in real estate companies or bought emblematic buildings in Spain. Now Carlos Slim is building his own Spanish empire on the cheap.
Slim, the world’s fourth-richest person on Bloomberg’s Billionaires Index, made a bid for Barcelona-based Fomento de Construcciones & Contratas last month through his financing vehicle, Inversora Carso.
The move culminated a series of investments by Slim that began in 2014 to shore up the balance sheet of one of Spain’s biggest builders. As part of the deal, Carso also bid for Madrid-based developer Realia Business, of which FCC owns a 37 per cent stake.
Slim, 76, known for taking advantage of depressed prices when investing in companies, sees an opportunity to build as Spain’s economy rebounds from a debt-fuelled property collapse that left the country with a surplus of 1.4 million homes.
Spain grew at its fastest pace in eight years in 2015, outperforming its euro-area peers as the economic turnaround took hold. It maintained the momentum in the first quarter of this year, accelerating 0.7 per cent, with household demand seen as a force of growth.
“When Slim first invested here, construction and real estate were near their lowest; now he’s betting on a recovery,” said Carles Vergara, a professor of financial management at the IESE Business School in Barcelona. “He bought at a good time and a good price, and what he found in FCC was a consolidated company that can grow not only in construction, but in urban services.”
As Spain’s economy picks up, investors are finding opportunities to invest in real estate. Madrid was Europe’s fifth most-active real estate market in the 12 months ending in October, generating more than €5 billion (HK$44.2 billion) in transactions, according to a PwC report published this year.
Via SCMP - Bloomberg
Trends, Investment property, Carlos Slim Helu, foreign investors