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Real Estate News & Analysis: May Edition


Blackstone affiliate makes Sponda takeover bid; HNA Tourism trims Rezidor offer

* Blackstone affiliate Polar Bidco Sarl launched a voluntary recommended public tender bid priced at €5.19 apiece for all shares in Sponda Plc. The purchase offer amounts to approximately €1.76 billion. Sponda’s board of directors unanimously decided to recommend its shareholders to accept the tender offer, with the offer period expected to begin on or around June 13 and expire July 14.

* A subsidiary of HNA Group unit HNA Tourism Group Co. Ltd. announced that it is lowering its offer price for all of Rezidor Hotel Group AB's shares by 48 Swedish öre to 34.38 kronor per share, taking into account a 5 euro cent per-share dividend that Rezidor's board paid out May 8. HNA Sweden Hospitality Management AB also pushed back the settlement date for shareholder acceptance a fourth time to on or around Sept. 29.

* Quinlan Real Estate is leading a group of interested European investors with an estimated €1.3 billion bid for the Finance Tower in Brussels. The property, which houses the Belgian Finance Ministry, spans floor space in excess of 2.4 million square feet.

* U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May vowed June 4 to step up the fight against terrorism after an attack June 3 that left seven people dead and 48 injured, and said the general election scheduled for June 8 will go on as planned.

UK and Ireland

* Brexit has made the future of the U.K. as an "investment hub" for sovereign wealth funds much more uncertain, Invesco found in a report. However, the firm also found that sovereigns were "unlikely to cancel real estate assets in the near future." Several have also reaffirmed their commitment to infrastructure projects, including Heathrow Airport and Thames Water.

* University Partnerships Programme awarded Vinci the contract to build a new £155 million student accommodation scheme for the University of Hull in the U.K., Construction Enquirer reported. The project includes nine accommodation blocks offering 1,750 rooms, among other facilities, with the construction value of the deal established at £97 million.

* Westfield Corp. is building on its digital strategy through a partnership with Uber, and establishing designated pick-up and drop-off points to reduce waiting times for passengers at its Westfield London and Westfield Stratford City shopping centers.

* Real estate developer Christian Candy's CPC Group is offloading a development site in London as the prime property market in the British capital loses momentum, London's Financial Times reported. CPC appointed Knight Frank and Savills to seek bids higher than £75 million for the Duke's Lodge site, which was earmarked for high-end homes, the report noted.

* Business activity in the U.K. construction sector sharply rebounded in May, growing at its fastest pace since December 2015, according to a new purchasing managers' index, or PMI, released June 2. Seasonally adjusted construction PMI, compiled by IHS Markit/Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply, climbed to a 17-month high reading of 56.0 in May from 53.1 in April.

* IRES REIT PLC CEO David Ehrlich told the Irish Independent that residential development land in Dublin and surrounding suburbs is being "locked up" by private equity firms and private owners, hindering the real estate investment trust's efforts to acquire land in the Irish capital.

Germany and Czech Republic

* VGP NV closed the sale of six industrial parks in Germany and the Czech Republic for more than €173 million, yielding net proceeds from the transaction of over €125 million. The company sold the assets to VGP European Logistics, its 50/50 partnership with Allianz Real Estate.

* SG Development received a construction permit to develop a €70 million scheme featuring the No. 1 office and retail building in Mannheim, Germany, Property Investor Europe reported. The 22,000-square-meter development includes a 15-story tower and a six-floor base building, which are scheduled for delivery in mid-2019.

The Netherlands

* NSI NV nominated Alianne de Jong as its CFO. De Jong was most recently the head of portfolio management at Schiphol Group.

Greece

* A consortium led by LAMDA Development SA is poised to break ground on a seaside resort at the former site of Athens' airport complex in the next six months, following a bureaucratic-related delay. The consortium, comprising Abu Dhabi and Chinese investors backed by Fosun, had intended to kick off the $7.9 billion project by June.

Middle East

* Dubai-based wasl Asset Management Group is planning to build 26 residential buildings for hospitality workers ahead of the Expo 2020 event in Dubai, Arabian Business reported. The development in Warsan, Dubai, aims to deliver 3,866 residential units across a built-up area of 2.6 million square feet. The project is scheduled to be completed in October 2020.

Other Real Estate news

* BUWOG AG raised €305.6 million in gross proceeds from its offering of 12,471,685 new shares priced at €24.50 apiece. The new shares will be traded on the official market of the Vienna Stock Exchange, the regulated market of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange and the main market of the Warsaw bourse.

* Blackstone Group LP-managed real estate funds struck a €12.25 billion deal to sell their pan-European logistics company, Logicor, to China Investment Corp., or CIC, affiliates, confirming an earlier report.

* Transaction volumes in the European logistics real estate market for the three months ended March 31 rose 18% year over year, marking the highest ever first-quarter figure, PIE reported, citing JLL.

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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.

Celestyn Wong contributed to this report.