Och-Ziff Management Europe Ltd. and Moor Park Capital Partners and are the only bidders for 26 buildings that the Spanish region of Catalonia is selling to pay down debt, according to an e-mail obtained by Bloomberg News.
Catalonia, Spain’s largest regional economy and its most indebted, is in talks on a joint offer for the office buildings by the unit of New York-based Och-Ziff Capital Management and Moor Park, based in London, according to the e-mail. The region aims to sell a total of 37 properties for 550 million euros ($716 million).
The minimum bid that will be accepted is 450 million euros, and the deadline for closing was extended to Jan. 31 from Dec. 16, the e-mail showed. A spokeswoman for the Catalan government who declined to be identified confirmed the contents of the e-mail. Jonathan Gasthalter, a spokesman for Och-Ziff, declined to comment. No one at Moor Park was available to comment.
Spanish regions, which control more than a third of public spending, play a pivotal role in the country’s effort to reduce its deficit to 6 percent of gross domestic product this year from 9.3 percent in 2010.
Spain is trying to avoid following Greece, Ireland and Portugal in requiring a bailout. Standard & Poor’s last week put 15 European nations on watch for potential downgrades pending the outcome of a European Union leaders’ summit, saying it may lower Spain’s rating by as much as two levels.
Following local elections last year, the incoming government of Catalonia said the 2010 deficit was 60 percent wider than its predecessors had acknowledged. It plans a deficit equal to 2.7 percent of GDP this year, more than twice the national government goal.
The properties to be sold include the Barcelona Stock Exchange building on Paseo de Gracia, Spain’s fourth-most expensive commercial street, and the Catalan Agriculture Ministry on the city’s Gran Via.
Jones Lang LaSalle Inc., based in Chicago, and Madrid-based real-estate consultant Aguirre Newman are advising the government on the sales.
Catalonia and Andalusia, whose economies match the size of Portugal and Ireland, have 38.5 billion euros and 13.5 billion euros of debt respectively, ranking them the first and fourth-most indebted of Spain’s 17 regions in nominal terms, according to data from the Bank of Spain. Both regions have included the future proceeds from the property sales in their 2011 budgets. Valencia and Madrid are the second- and third-most indebted regions.