Construction companies in Spain could break away from the slowdown of the Spanish property market by making themselves into low-cost energy stocks.
Companies such as, Sacyr Vallehermoso and their competitors have spent around $16 billion in total to buy shares in Spain's largest oil and natural gas producers. This turned out to be a great decision with companies, like Sacyr, doubling the assets on their balance sheet. Half of the Spanish building industry's revenue now comes from dividends. Company filings show that as oil and gas fees increase, those profits will also enlarge.
Robert Crimes, an analyst in London with JPMorgan Chase, says, "Some of these construction companies now have a diversified range of businesses and that's beginning to benefit them.".
The company, Venture Finanzas directs about $200 million, has bought shares in the company, ACS, which has soared 12 percent since Sept. 30. This is more than the 7.8 percent increase of Spain's benchmark index, the IBEX 35.
The reason why these purchases took place was due to the “boom” in the property market and so constructers had accessibility to bank loans and cash, ensuring them to make purchases at a time when power and oil companies were looking for takeovers.
These construction companies have become much more than just building. They are the highest spenders in Europe to change their business. In the past 12 months; seven out of the 10 largest European acquisitions in the building industry are Spanish companies. ACS paid $2.7 billion in 2006 to raise its share in Iberdrola, the Spanish utility to 7.2 percent. It also possesses 40 percent of the natural gas company Unión Fenosa. Sacyr spent $8.6 billion gaining 20 percent of Repsol YPF, Spain's largest oil refiner.
As Spain’s property market undergoes a gradual slowdown (and not the catastrophic boom that was widely expected), certain areas in the country maintain their status as interesting investment opportunities.
Murcia, which has seen nearly an 11 percent annual growth through the third quarter of 2007, is one of these areas. It has shown a much stronger performance, for example, than Alicante; the area in Spain with the lowest growth rate at 2 percent. In the last years, the city has budded with golf courses and luxury resorts, and shows no signs of stalling in this regard.
A major future development for Murcia will be the completion of its new international airport in 2010 that will bring activity and investment to the area. The airport is projected to open with an operating capacity of 1.5 million passengers, a number which will increase up to 5.2 million by 2015.
easyJet, which sees the city as an up and coming holiday hotspot, has already announced a new route from Newcastle to Murcia and expects to carry over 40,000 passengers in the first year of operation.
From an economic perspective, Murcia does more than simply hold its own: it accounted for 80% of the national production of citrus over the last year, exporting over 500 thousand tons of lemons (half of Murcia’s total production) to European, American, and Asian markets.
The good prospects for Murcia’s future along with Spain’s timeless appeal to foreign property buyers (thanks to its cultural appeal, beautiful landscapes, relaxed lifestyle and excellent weather) makes this southern Spanish city a definite winner.
Spaniards Promised Money to Make their Homes Greener
The Spanish government is planning to bring in a policy to give home owners the opportunity to make their homes environmentally-friendly by giving out grants.
Spanish Government Smartens Up the Property Sector
The Spanish Government has launched more than 100 investigations on the issue of corruption in real estate. The civil guard has arrested 57 people and charged 126 others. These investigations seem to circle public officials and developers only six months after special police units were erected to challenge this corruption in the property market. These officials who accepted bribes from construction companies, in order to break building permits and zoning laws allowed companies to build on protected areas such as beaches.
A Work of Art for Madrid’s Civil Courts
“Transparency” and “democracy” are the values meant to be transmitted by the new courthouse of Madrid’s Civil Justice Campus.
The building, designed by the Iraqi architectural firm Zaha Hadid, will hold 118 courtrooms and will be the largest judicial complex in the world. The design of the courthouse will also include projects by renowned architects such as Norman Foster.
“By my heel I care not” – Spain holds its chin up in the face of the Eurostar
Eurostar has done it again; impressed us even more with a faster train. It now only takes an astonishing 20 minutes to get from central London to the city of Lille in northern France. It is likely to mean an improvement to France’s tourist industry and perhaps an increase in people wanting to buy a property there. However the question has been raised whether this high speed train will have a bad effect on the Spanish property market?
Experts believe that despite all the hype, Spain’s property market still remains one of the most affluent in Europe. Property companies such as Propertyabroad.com believe Spain attracts a “very different market” than France, making the Eurostar a very minor variable in the percentage of future foreigners purchasing Property in Spain.
Spain's 2010 World Expo Pavilion a Giant Basket
Spain was the fourth country – after the UK, Switzerland and Luxembourg – to unveil the design for its pavilion at the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai as it signed a contract with event organizers earlier this week. The design will emulate a giant wicker basket.
Various patterns made out of wicker will be hand-weaved and applied to a steel frame, then protected with a waterproof seal. 8,500 square meters of floor space will allow for exhibition areas, cafeteria space and areas devoted to live cultural performances, and will include both open and covered areas.
The design was selected to highlight Spain and China’s shared tradition in wicker-weaving. A total of 1.8 million euros will be invested in the construction of the pavilion.
Spanish Pigs Considered Delicacy
Tomorrow, for the first time Ibérico hams from Spain are to be sold in the United States in Jaelo, Washington, after being approved by government assessments.
Various restaurants and shops will be serving this product from their share of the preliminary shipment of 300 hams from Embutidos Fermín, in La Alberca, Spain. They are the only manufacturer that is authorized by the United States Department of Agriculture to export the hams here.
These high-quality hams, which take more than two years to cure, have an intense flavour, marbled with smooth fat from the renowned black-footed (pata negra) pigs of western Spain. However sumptuousness can be expensive and these hams are not an exception, weighing in at a hefty $50 a pound.
And if you think that is on the top end of the scale, think again! Next summer they are bringing to U.S another ham, jamón Ibérico de bellota, from pigs that feed on acorns. This requires even longer curing and the cost will be around double that of jamón Ibérico.
Zaragoza the Next Orlando
According to recent figures, 322 Irish people have died in Spain since 2002, making the country the holiday destination where most Irish die abroad.
Surprisingly, this number accounts for more than half of the 571 deaths abroad in European countries in the last five years.
Labor Party Deputy Joe Costello warned that Irish people, especially the youth, visiting foreign countries are not taking the appropriate precautions: “They are going out to enjoy themselves and they are likely to engage in greater consumption of alcohol."