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Santander completes sale and leaseback series

Banco Santander has completed the sale of its Spanish corporate property portfolio through a series of sale-and-leaseback transactions. The deals, executed over seven months, brought more than €4.3 billion into the bank’s coffers, €1.681 billion of which was a capital gain. The sale of the bank’s Madrid headquarters, Boadilla del Monte, to Propinvest was worth €1.9 billion on its own, making it one of the largest deals to be done in Spain.

Originally, the idea was to use some of the cash raised as part of Santander’s war chest as it pursued ABN Amro. Santander bought the Latin America assets of the Dutch bank. Its 1,156 Spanish properties were divided up into five lots and sold to investors. The first sale closed in October 2007 and the last was wrapped up at the end of January with the sale of the Madrid headquarters. The lots were made up of the retail branch network, 11 regional headquarters across Spain as well as the Boadilla del Monte campus.

"They got the best out of the market – if you look at the terms on the transaction I think it reflects a yield in the region of 4.4%. That’s incredible taking into consideration that it’s an out-of-town location," says Javier Kindelan, national director of institutional investments at CB Richard Ellis, of the Boadilla del Monte sale. CBRE advised Santander on all the sale-and-leaseback transactions.

Overall, Kindelan attributes the bank’s successful disposals to the fact that investors would have Santander as a long-term tenant. "It was more like a financial transaction in that sense," he says. "They managed to close the deal at the top end of the market.

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