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Real Estate News & Analysis: May Edition


LSR shareholders snub proposed board changes; Tritax forward funds UK warehouse

* Local Shopping REIT Plc shareholders overwhelmingly voted down calls from activist investor Thalassa Holdings Ltd. to shake up the REIT's board of directors. The company held a general meeting Dec. 8 where 98.5% of votes cast rejected proposals to remove board directors Stephen East and Nicholas Vetch.

Resolutions to replace the directors with Thalassa Chairman Duncan Soukup and Toby Burgess were also voted down by 98.5%. Last month, Thalassa refuted a claim that the shareholder was attempting to gain control through the back door with its proposed director choices, according to reports.

The activist investor also offered to withdraw the general meeting requisition, which was rejected by Local Shopping.

* Tritax Big Box REIT Plc said it agreed to forward fund a 562,000-square-foot distribution facility at Prologis Park Fradley in Staffordshire, U.K., which is pre-let to Screwfix Direct Ltd. on a 10-year lease. The development represents an investment of £52.7 million, reflecting a net initial yield of 5.5%.

UK and Ireland

* The launch of a trio of major requirements totaling 240,000 square feet is expected to boost confidence in the Manchester office market in 2017, Property Week reported. Virgin Media and Vodafone are looking for 120,000-square-foot and 70,000-square-foot offices, respectively, in the city.

Law firm Eversheds will also be seeking a new 50,000-square-foot office next year, the report noted.

* Essential Living received a four-year £60 million loan from the Royal Bank of Scotland and HSBC to fund what the company believes to be the U.K.'s first modular build-to-rent scheme, PW reported. The 249-home project will be developed in Greenwich, south London.

A quarter of the apartments will be provided at discount market rent, which is a relatively new type of affordable housing.

* Aerium's £70 million off-market agreement to sell Princes Exchange and an adjoining building in Edinburgh, Scotland, to a Korean investor fell through due to a collapse in post-Brexit negotiations, PW reported. The sale would have been Scotland's second biggest deal in 2016 and the country's first investment agreement with a Korean investor, according to the report.

* Supermarket chain Morrisons is partnering up with Barratt Homes to plan the construction of 700 homes as a part of the redevelopment of its Camden store in north London, The (U.K.) Guardian reported. The supermarket chain is seeking new sources of revenue following pressure from discounter chains Aldi and Lidl, after having been pushed to make price cuts to keep up with the competition.

According to the company, the plans are at an early stage and it would seek further consulting in 2017 before securing planning permission, the report noted.

* Due to a 3% increase in stamp duties, the number of properties sold to buy-to-let investors in England and Wales fell 63.7% in the year to November, The (U.K.) Telegraph reported, citing estate agency Haart. The number of similar properties sold in London declined by 40% over the same period.

* Over in Ireland, residential construction rose 30.8% year over year in November, indicating steadier growth than in 2015, Independent Irish reported, citing the Central Statistics Office. The commercial property sector also grew, improving by 27.8% within the similar period, the report noted.

France and the Netherlands

* Corum Asset Management made its second acquisition in Italy by purchasing automotive company Brembo's headquarters for €54.3 million, representing an acquisition yield of 7.7%, Property Investor Europe reported. The buildings in the Kilometro Rosso business park in Stezzano offer 33,823 square meters of space and are leased until 2025-end.

* KanAm sold four office buildings in Luxembourg from its liquidating German open-end property fund grundinvest, PIE reported. The properties were sold to Deka Immobilien for an undisclosed amount. Anchor tenants in the four office assets are insurers Bâloise Assurance Luxembourg and Zurich Eurolife, glass manufacturer Guardian Europe, and service and software provider KNEIP Communication, according to the report.

Poland

Hungarian developer Futureal sold the Nova Park retail center in Gorzów to a joint venture between Johannesburg-listed MAS Real Estate and Romania-based Prime Kapital, for €88.5 million, PIE reported. The mall in western Poland provides 32,580 square meters of gross leasable area spread over 140 shops and has permission for a 6,800-square-meter expansion plan, the report noted.

Spain

Germany-based Aquila Capital bought a 23,000-square-meter residential scheme in Madrid's La Moraleja district and is planning to build 75 residential units on the site, PIE reported. It is the company's third residential property development project in Spain. The financial details of the deal were not disclosed.

Other Real Estate News

* La Banque Postale Asset Management raised €813 million in the second closing for its two new infrastructure and real estate debt funds, with the final closing scheduled in early 2017, IPE Real Estate reported. The two funds have raised €413 million and €400 million, respectively, since their launch in April, according to the report.

* According to CBRE's new study, U.S. economic growth over the next two years under Donald Trump's presidency could benefit European economies and real estate, PIE reported. Big services exporters such as the U.K., and countries such as Germany and Ireland are expected to receive gains due to trading with the U.S. accounting for a large share of their GDP, the report noted.

Now featured on S&P Global Market Intelligence

The Property Ledger: GPT seeks a slice of Blackstone's A$500M portfolio; Kerry JV seeks 3B yuan buy: The Dec. 9 edition of the Asia-Pacific property news recap also features a Logan Property unit's approximately 494.0 million Chinese yuan purchase of a stake in a Chinese resort project.

Data Dispatch: REIT Q3 common equity sales via ATM programs up over 240% YOY: In the month of November, U.S. equity REITs raised approximately $4.48 billion through capital offerings.

Conference Chatter: Is the traditional full-commission nontraded REIT on the way out?: Many nontraded REITs are exploring conversion to daily NAV REITs, a next-generation nonlisted product that provides improved liquidity, as market demand for deferred-commission products rises, observers said at a recent conference.

The Daily Dose Europe, Real Estate edition, is updated as of 6:30 a.m. London time. Some links require a subscription. Articles and links are correct as of publication time.