Annus horribilis of Spanish developers

With the Spanish property market now in a deep slump, Spain’s biggest developers are having an annus horribilis. Martinsa-Fadesa, Spain’s biggest residential developer, has already collapsed into administration under the weight of its 5-billion Euros of debt, as has Habitat, with more than 2 billion Euros of debt, whilst other developers have watched their share prices and turnover fall off a cliff.

The developer Colonial leads the pack in terms of losses. In the first 9 months of the year Colonial booked losses of 2.5 billion Euros, compared to profits of 357 million Euros in the same period in 2007, and failed to sell a single home, reports the Spanish press. Colonial’s turnover only fell 24% to 473 million Euros, and would have been much worse had it not been for its rental income, down just 3% to 215 million Euros, and sales of assets, up 70% to 148 million Euros.

Colonial’s losses came largely from asset write-downs, shrinking the balance sheet 14% to 9.4 billion Euros. The company closed the 3rd quarter of the year with net debt of just under 9 billion Euros. Colonial has recently admitted that it will be forced to seek protection from its creditors if it is unable to sell some of its key stock holdings.

Martinsa-Fadesa, which was forced to seek protection from its creditors in July, lost 230 million Euros in the first 9 months of the year, with new home sales falling 75% to 855 units, compared to 3,384 in the same period last year. Martinsa-Fadesa’s book of sales contracts not completed stood at 11,231 units at the end of September. Martinsa-Fadesa claims it has recommenced work on various of its projects, and completed on 271 properties in the last quarter.

Metrovacesa, another quoted developer, lost 42 million Euros in the first 9 months of the year, compared to profits of 1 billion last year, with residential home sales down 39%. Metrovacesa is selling back the HSBC building in London for a loss of XXX million Euros, having bought it from HSBC in XX for XXX million Euros. Metrovacesa has net debt of just under 7 billion Euros, 0.6% more than in 2007.

The Spanish constructor FCC delivered profits of 297 million Euros, 52% less than the same period last year, whilst Aisa’s losses increased from 3.3 million Euros last year to 14.5 million Euros this year.

In total, Spain’s largest, quoted developers clocked up combined losses of 3.3 billion Euros in the first 9 months of the year. Their net combined debt was 24.5 billion Euros, down 22% since the start of the year.

2009 might be even worse.


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