July 24, 2019 / 8:27 PM / 24 days ago

Zara founder's real estate assets near 10 billion euros in 2018

FILE PHOTO: Inditex founder Amancio Ortega attends the C.S.I Casas Novas international show jumping contest in the Spanish northwestern town of A Coruna July 30, 2017. REUTERS/Miguel Vidal

MADRID (Reuters) - Amancio Ortega, Europe’s richest man and founder of retailer Inditex (ITX.MC), had commercial property assets worth nearly 10 billion euros ($11 billion) at the end of 2018, up 11.5 percent from the previous year according to his investment firm on Wednesday.

Using the huge dividend payouts from Inditex, octogenarian Ortega has made largely debt-free purchases of buildings ranging from prime shopping real estate in London and New York to office buildings in central Madrid.

Most of Ortega’s commercial holdings have been consolidated into a company called Pontegadea Inversiones which owns a 50.01 percent stake in Inditex alongside billions of euros in real estate investments.

Pontegadea’s annual results showed real estate assets of 9.767 billion euros at the end of 2018.

Earlier this year, Pontegadea completed the purchase of two Seattle office blocks, currently leased to Amazon, in the Spanish fund’s biggest ever deal in the United States.

Pontegadea carried out real estate investments to the tune of 416 million euros during 2018 in addition to the purchase of 9.99 percent of Spanish telecommunications infrastructure company Telxius for 378 million euros, Pontegadea said.

Stripping out the Inditex shareholding, Pontegadea’s revenues, mostly related to real estate activity, increased 5.2 percent on year in 2018 to 405 million euros.

Inditex announced a 17 percent dividend increase in March.

Reporting By Sonya Dowsett; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle

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