Zara founder’s eldest daughter builds her own real estate empire

Sandra Ortega, Spain’s wealthiest woman, controlled assets worth €541 million at the end of 2016

Jesús Sérvulo González

Just like her father Amancio Ortega – whose fashion empire has made him one of the richest men on the planet – Sandra Ortega has a good nose for business. Known for leading a discreet life and rejecting ostentation, she is nevertheless Spain’s wealthiest woman.

Sandra Ortega at her mother's funeral in 2013.
Sandra Ortega at her mother's funeral in 2013.XURXO LOBATO (EL PAÍS)

The eldest child of the founder of the global Inditex clothing empire (whose best-known brands are Zara, Bershka and Pull & Bear) has developed a real estate empire of her own that was worth €541 million at the end of 2016.

Since inheriting her mother Rosalía Mera’s stake in the Inditex business following the latter’s death in 2013, Sandra Ortega has been buying up assets in Stuttgart (Germany); New York, Palo Alto, Miami Beach, Hollywood and Los Angeles in the United States; and Barcelona, Vigo and Madrid in Spain.

This portfolio is managed by a holding company called Rosp. Corunna, whose real estate assets of over €541 million represent a 24% increase from 2015.

Fully 90% of these assets are located outside Spain, and most of them are being rented out

The company also controls private equity investments, including a 30% stake in the Room Mate hotel chain, a 25.99% stake in movie producer Milou Films, and a 45% stake in the engineering firm Inusual Comunicación Innovadora. Rosp Corunna also holds 5.05% of shares in Inditex and a similar stake in the publicly traded Spanish pharmaceutical company Pharma Mar.

Rosp. Corunna announced a net profit of €89.69 million in 2016, against €105.82 million in 2015. But real estate investments represented €541.63 million, a 24% increase from 2015 and a 84% rise from the assets that the company held in 2013. Sandra Ortega has been following in the footsteps of her father, who has accumulated property worth over €8.5 billion through a company called Pontegadea.

Some of the most recent acquisitions include office space in Stuttgart, where rent from tenants is bringing in €2 million a year, and a building in New York that contributes €4.3 million. Most of the properties are hotels (60% of the total) and office buildings (32%), although there are also residential and commercial units, as well as warehouses and parking lots. Fully 90% of these assets are located outside Spain, and most of them are being rented out.

Amancio Ortega, currently ranked by Forbes magazine as the second richest man in the world behind Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, has a son and a daughter from his marriage to Rosalía Mera. The couple split up in 1986 and Ortega remarried. He has another daughter, Marta, from that union.

English version by Susana Urra.

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