GRI Hub's Real Estate Deals of the Month (Europe) - February

4 MIN READFebruary 28, 2020

The Top Real Estate Deals of the Month for February, quantified by both deal size and influence within its market, feature entries from some of the biggest real estate companies across Europe as they look to expand their portfolios across the region. The United Kingdom especially has seen a lot of activity, perhaps putting to bed some of the post-Brexit rumours that had been holding investors back. 

Here are the GRI Hub’s Real Estate Deals of the Month for February 2020:


5. €400mn Dublin Student Housing Portfolio sale from Harrison Street

Global Student Accommodation Group (GSA) has penned a €400mn deal to buy five student accommodation properties Ireland from JV partner Harrison Street. 

The acquired PBSA properties comprise of Ardcairn House, Kavanagh Court, New Mill, The Tannery, and Broadstone Hill. These contain 1,971 beds, and have an average occupancy rate of 97%. GSA said it will continue to partner with Harrison Street in Ireland and other top-tier European markets to deliver high-grade student accommodation. 

Nicholas Porter, chairman at GSA Group, said “Dublin is one of the world’s most prestigious destinations for academic excellence with increasing demand for outstanding student accommodation, and the transaction positions GSA to benefit from positive economic and demographic trends in the city”.


4. €478mn UK Retail Portfolio acquisition by Orion Capital Managers

A European real estate fund managed by Orion Capital Managers is acquiring a £400m (€478mn) portfolio of UK retail parks from Hammerson - which is currently seeking to reduce its reliance on department stores in its retail portfolio. Hammerson has also sold 14 retail parks in the last 18 months.

The seven asset portfolio purchased by Orion covers 205,000sqm, and included the Central Retail Park in Falkirk, Cleveland Retail Park in Middlesbrough, and the Cyfarthfa Retail Park in Merthyr Tydfil. 

David Atkins, CEO of Hammerson, said “Against a challenged retail and investment backdrop we have exited the retail parks sector. Having achieved disposals of close to £1bn since the beginning of 219, our focus remains on strengthening our balance sheet to create further resilience.”


3. kr3.3bn Solna United divestment by Skanska

Skanska has divested Solna United, an office building in Solna, Sweden, to a fund managed by German DWS for kr3.3bn (€309mn). The office comprises a lettable area of approximately 34,000sqm, meaning this is the most expensive Swedish property per square metre outside of Stockholm. 

Solna United has eleven tenants in its 34,000 sqm, and all office space has been leased. The property is supplied with renewable energy from a photovoltaic panel park harvesting solar energy, formalised by a long term agreement with Kalmar Energi.

Carl Wingmark, Head of Property Advisory at Catella Corporate Finance and advisor to Skanska for this deal, said “It has been a pleasure to work with these two very professional parties, Skanska and DWS, who contributed to a smooth transaction process that lead to a very positive outcome for everyone.”


2. Logistrial Real Estate AG sale by GARBE Industrial Real Estate

Union Investment has acquired Logistrial Real Estate AG from GARBE Industrial Real Estate for €800mn. The purchase of the company and associated portfolio includes 19 logistics properties, with a total area of 580,000sqm. 

Logistrial Real Estate AG was established in 2019 with the intention of creating a logistics property portfolio to sell. GARBE Industrial Real Estate will continue to handle letting and property and asset management.

Martin J. Bruhl, CIO at Union Investment Real Estate, said “The acquisition of the Logistrial portfolio is an important step towards strategically expanding our logistics portfolio and diversifying it across the leading European logistics markets...Thanks to our excellent working relationship with Garbe, we were able to negotiate the portfolio transaction very efficiently and ensure beneficial solutions for both sides.”


1. iQ Student Accommodation acquisition by Blackstone

Goldman Sachs and Wellcome sold iQ Student Accommodation to Blackstone for £4.66bn (€5.44bn). The transaction, which was announced on the 26th of February, is the largest ever private real estate transaction in the UK.

iQ is one of the UK leading providers of Purpose Built Student Accommodation, owning and managing over 28,000 beds with a specific focus on Russell Group cities. 

James Seppala, Head of Real Estate Europe at Blackstone, said “This acquisition is a continuation of our strategy to invest in high-quality assets… British higher education is globally renowned and we are delighted to invest meaningful capital to support iQ’s further growth and continue to deliver the highest quality accommodation for students across the country.”

Article by Matt Harris
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