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Real Estate News & Analysis: May Edition


Guangzhou R&F to make £158M London buy; IMMOFINANZ to settle lawsuit for €54M

* Guangzhou R&F Properties Co. Ltd. will purchase the planned mixed-use Vauxhall Square development in London from CLS Holdings Plc for a gross total of about £157.8 million, in a deal expected to be completed May 4.

* IMMOFINANZ AG agreed to settle a lawsuit with former IMMOEAST shareholders by holding out-of-court discussions with the claimants and representatives of the shareholder groups to terminate the proceedings through a compensation. As part of the settlement deal, based on a share price of €1.80, IMMOFINANZ will pay a compensation of roughly €54 million through the issue of 30,019,578 additional shares at a ratio of 0.088 shares of the company for each former IMMOEAST share.

UK and Ireland

* GCP Student Living Plc completed its acquisition of a student accommodation property in London, purchasing the Woburn Place asset from Unite Group Plc for roughly £135 million, funded via a combination of available cash resources and new borrowing arrangements.

* A Starwood Capital Group unit purchased the 298-room Holiday Inn Manchester City Centre property from Dominvs Group for an undisclosed price, according to a release. The hotel, which opened its doors in April 2016, is Starwood Capital's third investment in Manchester, U.K.

* Buckingham Group clinched a pre-construction deal for the £94 million Bristol Arena project, setting plans in motion for the company to start preliminary construction and discuss the final price for the 12,000-seat stadium, Construction Enquirer reported. Previously, Bouygues pulled out of the Bristol, U.K., project in January, following months of negotiations over a final construction price.

* Eskmuir Properties bought the Cathedral Retail Park in West Yorkshire, U.K., for a price of €22.7 million from Royal London Asset Management, according to a Property Magazine International report. The retail park is fully leased to eight tenants and is spread over 112,605 square feet of space.

* Stanhope, in a joint venture with Benson Elliot, has appointed CBRE to sell the Station Hill mixed-use development in Reading, U.K., for £70 million, Property Week reported. The duo has received planning approval to construct 930,000 square feet of office space, 150,000 square feet of retail facilities and 300 residential units at the five-acre site.

* Atholl Square Developments has pulled out of a deal to buy a 53,625-square-foot office building in Aberdeen, Scotland, PW reported. The company was planning to raze the Atholl House asset and develop three towers with student accommodation and a hotel. CLS Holdings Plc, owner of the building, is now looking to lease the property.

* JLL and Savills are trying to sell for €32 million two office blocks in Dublin, representing a net initial yield of 6.23%, The Irish Times reported. One and Three Gateway have a combined space of 8,807 square meters that generates an annual rental income of €2.1 million. The agents also are reportedly willing to offload the blocks separately, according to the report.

* Meanwhile, U.K. landlords are expected to raise rents following the introduction of new taxation rules in April, according to London-based independent property specialist Experience Invest. The new mortgage tax relief rules mean landlords will only be able to claim tax relief on up to 20% of their interest payments on residential properties, compared to the previous limit of 45%.

* Great Britain has plans to launch the world's first-ever public foreign owners' property register, in its efforts to ease increasing local discomfort over offshore buyers using obscure legal entities to purchase real estate in the U.K., according to a report by The New York Times. The register will provide information on the beneficial owners of properties owned by non-British companies and other legal entities.

France

* AccorHotels proposed an up to €1.96 billion investment in a buyback program for its shares, subject to approval from shareholders during a scheduled annual general meeting May 5.

Separately, the company also acquired French software provider Availpro, with plans to merge it with Fastbooking, which it purchased in 2015. The combination will create what it called the "leading European digital services provider for independent hotels."

Germany

* Intown purchased the Aachen Arkaden shopping mall in the city of Aachen for an unknown price from Aachen Arkaden Real Estate, Property Investor Europe reported. The mall has a gross leasable area of 21,100 square meters, which includes 6,400 square meters of office space and 330 square meters of storage amenities.

* Commercial real estate transactions in Germany jumped 60% year over year to €12.60 billion in the first quarter, marking the highest first-quarter performance to date, PIE reported, citing JLL. The climb in transactional volumes came on the back of favorable market fundamentals, which set the stage for more sellers to offload their assets.

The Netherlands

* Aedifica SA purchased a 37-unit care residence in Kampen for approximately €7 million and another nine-unit care residence in Driebergen for roughly €1 million, with Het Gouden Hart being the operator of both assets, according to a release.

Spain

* Residential investment in Spain appears to be getting stronger, following improved employment levels, and expected positive credit conditions and firming home values, PIE reported, citing a report by the Bank of Spain. According to the report, the monthly housing transaction level rose to 38,000 in 2016, up about 14% year over year.

Middle East

* Emirates NBD Bank PJSC's Emirates NBD Capital Ltd on April 5 completed its role as adviser to ENBD REIT (CEIC) Ltd.'s IPO. The IPO is the first on a Dubai bourse since December 2014 and is also the first listing on the market year-to-date. The new trust, which raised about US$105 million, is also the second listed REIT in the United Arab Emirates.

* Egypt's Naeem Holding commenced a private placement for a real estate fund worth 1 billion Egyptian pounds, Reuters reported, quoting the company's CEO Yousef Al Far as saying. The placement will run for a month from April 5 and an IPO for the fund has been planned for the end of May.

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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.

Anusha Iyer contributed to this report.