DOZENS of foreign property buyers are feared to have lost their investments as a major construction firm fell into financial difficulties in Malaga.
All projects of the firm Otero have ground to a halt on the Costa del Sol, the Olive Press can reveal.
Countless firms and hundreds of workers have pulled off the sites from Marbella to Manilva over the last week, we have learnt.
This afternoon, at least three companies were removing their materials from one site, called Oceanic, in the so-called Duquesa Valley.
Angry and accusatory, the workers told the Olive Press that at this construction site alone, ‘well over a million euros’ are owed.
It’s understood that the company, Fartech, based in Cadiz, is owed ‘at least’ €150,000 for the provision of security equipment for the 24 homes, 20 of which have been sold at between €1.3 and €1.8 million.
“It’s a massive hit for us,” explained Argentinian foreman, Mario, who asked not to give his surname. “But there are loads more suppliers and firms who have lost more.
“Some are owed €500,000, others up to a million.”
He added: “It’s a total joke that they flattened the area, put up a few shells and then it all collapsed on January 20 when cheques stopped cashing.
“We’ve heard rumours that the owners have fled to Venezuela, but nobody knows.”
An employee working in the company’s head office in Marbella confirmed that ‘all projects were stopped around 10 days ago’.
“It’s a real shame and we are trying hard to solve the problems, which are tough,” she said, passing over an email for the company lawyer.
The agent for the Oceanic development, Mario Ballesteros, was a bit more forthcoming.
“I’m also in limbo and have only just found out myself having been on holiday,” he told the Olive Press.
“While I’m not responsible I feel sad for all the buyers, but I may be out of a job too.”
He continued: “I don’t know exactly what happened but I have not seen the owner Ruben for months. I don’t know what will happen next.”
He confirmed that of the 20 buyers at the development, all of them were foreign, believed to be a mixture of British, Dutch, Belgian and Scandinavian. “Only four had not been sold.”
The scheme had been launched in 2021 in a big fanfare with Manilva town hall and mayor.
It was expected to have been completed by last summer and bring an investment of €42m to the resort.
Otero alone boasted it would be investing €35m into the area, using their own separate construction company OBC de Otero.
However, this week, all that was left was four giant cranes and the concrete shells of up to a dozen villas.
The sales office with its giant photo montages of dreamy finished villas was shut and two giant Otero flags were ripped or fluttering at half mast.
A lawyer representing the company, David Sanchez, said: “At this moment we cannot comment on the matter, however, we will be making an official statement next week.”
Meanwhile it was claimed that various materials had already been stolen.
Material and equipment have vanished and office modules have been taken away from four different sites including the flagship Oceanic project.
Companies supplying Otero have also been seen removing their equipment over non-payments.
Under threat are 25 luxury villas covering 800,000 square metres, boasting panoramic views of the sea and price tags ranging from €1.3 million to €1.8 million.
Hundreds of investors, almost half coming from the UK, as well as Germany, Poland and Belgium, could be affected by the shutdown.
Spanish media report that suppliers and small companies are suddenly struggling, workmen and bosses are uncertain about the future and some construction sites are ghost towns without workers or foremen.
Manilva City Council had hailed the project at the outset of the development in 2021 for the outstanding economic impact they would have for the town.
They boasted it would bring in 100 new jobs to the area and double that number through jobs created down the supply chain.