Don Piso, until recently the biggest estate agent in Spain, has been forced to seek protection from its creditors, following in the footsteps of its parent company Habitat Inmobiliaria, one of Spain’s biggest developers.
At the height of its expansion in 2006, Don Piso had 260 branch offices around Spain, 140 of which were franchise operations. But as the Spanish property market started to cool, Don Piso quickly ran into trouble. The Spanish daily ‘La Vanguardia’ reports that Don Piso lost 444 million Euros in 2007, and with sales in 2008 down by more than 60%, was forced to close all its own office and move to a franchise-only model.
Don Piso, which used to belong to Grupo Ferrovial, a developer and constructor quoted on the Madrid stock exchange (and also owners of BAA in the UK), passed to Barcelona-based Habitat in 2006, when Habitat bought Ferrovial’s real estate division for 2.2 billion Euros.
Groaning under the weight of its debts, and unable to meet its financial commitments, Habitat filed for administration last week, a request that was granted by the judge yesterday. This forced Don Piso, and 6 other companies belonging to Habitat, to also seek protection from their creditors.