(Adds details on number of votes, quotes, background)
BARCELONA Jan 21 Shareholders of Spanish
property company Colonial backed a restructuring plan
from major investor Villar Mir on Tuesday which will see the
family-owned conglomerate take a stake of up to 30 percent stake
in the indebted developer.
Villar Mir group, controlled by the chairman of Spanish
builder OHL, and two other investment groups from South
America and Andorra will invest 500 million euros in the
That will leave Villar Mir with up to 30 percent of
Colonial. Any stake above that level would force it to make a
takeover offer for the whole group.
The restructuring marks a tentative comeback for one of the
early casualties of Spain's 2008 real estate market crash.
Colonial, which owns landmark office blocks in Madrid and
Barcelona, was taken over by its bank creditors that year, and
dozens of property firms have collapsed since then.
It also adds to signs that the country's ailing real estate
market may be close to hitting bottom, after house prices
dropped close to 40 percent in the past five years.
Colonial Chairman Juan Jose Bruguera said that the company's
"DNA is alive" and added its three new major investors "see
their investment as long-term, not speculative."
"They want to maintain the conservative approach we have
pursued so far," he told reporters after the shareholder
Colonial has a loan of about 1.8 billion euros maturing in
December this year that will also be refinanced, and it will
sell up to 20 percent of its French business Societe Fonciere
Lyonnaise (SFL), in which it has a 53 percent stake.
In total, it is planning a capital raising of up to 1
billion euros, with Villar Mir and other anchor investors
providing half the funds.
A competing restructuring offer from creditor Brookfield
Asset Management was not directly put to shareholders
to vote on.
Canada's Brookfield, which owns 46 percent of the Colonial
loan maturing in December, had tabled a rival offer to inject
capital in the group. But it wanted Colonial to sell all of SFL.
(Reporting by Braden Phillips, Writing by Sarah White, Editing
by Louise Heavens)