Deal on Liverpool ONE
Grosvenor Fund Management has completed the refinancing of Grosvenor Liverpool Fund, which owns the 223,000-sq-m Liverpool ONE shopping center. The bank debt for the Fund has been refinanced with a €535 million facility on a seven year term with a club of banks comprising BNP Paribas, Crédit Agricole CIB, The Royal Bank of Scotland plc, Societe Generale, and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, on terms that represent a significant improvement compared to the previous 2010 facility. Commenting on the refinancing, Chief Executive James Raynor of Grosvenor Liverpool Fund, said: “We are delighted with the pricing and terms achieved on the facility and are very pleased with the composition of the club of lenders. We would not have been able to achieve such a positive outcome without their support.” Miles Dunnett, Portfolio Director for the Grosvenor Liverpool Fund, added: “It has been another successful year for Liverpool ONE. Occupiers have seen sales growth of 9% and footfall is up 2.5%, both of which are ahead of the UK average. As a result, there has been unprecedented occupier demand and more than 25 new stores opened in 2015, with many brands choosing Liverpool ONE for their regional debuts, or first stores outside London. New arrivals include Ugg, Wahaca, and the White Company. Momentum is already building for 2016, Living Ventures opened a bar and restaurant in January and Victoria’s Secret will open a flagship store before the summer.”
Sonae Sierra responsible for center management
91% of Loop5 sold
Sonae Sierra and its investment partners Foncière Euris and Rallye sold 91% of their shares in the shopping center Loop5 to Deutsche Asset Management. The parties have decided to remain mum on the purchase price. Sonae Sierra will continue to be responsible for the center’s management services and will remain involved in Loop5 with a share of 9%. The sellers were advised by JLL, Berwin Leighton Paisner, and Hogan Lovells. “This transaction demonstrates the quality of our assets. It also proves that we are able actively to implement our strategy of capital recovery and so to invest in new projects. The future quality of the assets is also ensured by the fact that we remain responsible for the management of Loop5. We’re also maintaining a strong presence in Germany with seven managed shopping centers, three of them for our own portfolio and four for other owners,” said Fernando Guedes Oliveira, CEO of Sonae Sierra. Loop5 in Weiterstadt in southern Hesse is known for its top-quality shopping and leisure offer. The center presents itself on more than 56,500 sq m of GLA with 175 stores and provides more than 3,000 free parking spaces. It is distinguished by its innovative design, inspired by the motto “Aviation.” The mall provides shopping, service, and leisure activities that are unique in the region and relies on the most modern and environmentally friendly solutions in the field of building energy efficiency.
High-quality high-street portfolio
Dutch retail property transaction
Deutsche Hypothekenbank (German Mortgage Bank) and ING Commercial Banking Germany are financing the acquisition of a property portfolio in the Netherlands that consists largely of retail properties. The borrower is an institutional real estate fund managed by Patrizia Group. The financing volume amounts to €160 million, of which the funding partners are each providing half. Deutsche Hypo takes over the function of the lead arranger, agent, and bookrunner, while ING Commercial Banking acts as the mandated lead arranger. The portfolio comprises 145 properties, including 107 retail, 35 residential, and three office properties. The regional focus is on Randstad. Nearly 90% of the retail properties are located in the 40 most desirable retail locations in the Netherlands, including Kalverstraat in Amsterdam and Spuistraat in The Hague. “Having financed a large residential property portfolio for Patrizia Group already at the beginning of this year—together with, among others, ING Commercial Banking—we are pleased to have been awarded the contract for this high-quality high-street portfolio” said Andreas Pohl, CEO of Deutsche Hypo. “The Dutch retail market in medium and large city centers benefits from the fact that the population continues to rise in the Netherlands and that shopping centers in the periphery are approved only with extreme caution. Against this background, it can be assumed that the current trend of rising consumer spending will continue.”
Due to a lack of expansion opportunities,
ECE says “Goodbye!” to Greece
ECE is no longer active in Greece. For 10 years, the German company looked after two Athenian centers “The Mall” and “Golden Hall” (photo) as part of a joint venture with Lamda Development. Lamda Development has bought a two-third majority in the ECE Lamda Hellas AE company from ECE and the company will continue to operate with all its employees under a different name. ECE has decided to end its exposure to Greece due to the lack of expansion opportunities in this difficult market. The decision is part of the company’s strategy to engage only in countries that are promising over the long term. For that reason, the company has already withdrawn from countries like Ukraine, Romania, Croatia, and, not long ago, Switzerland in recent years, while greatly expanding activities in Turkey, Russia, or the ECE’s latest market, Italy.
BVK commissions Hines
€1.3 billion pan-European Investment
Hines has been engaged by Bayerische Versorgungskammer (BVK) to execute a €1.3-billion separate account program. BVK, Germany’s largest pension scheme group, with approximately €62 billion of assets under management, has awarded Hines the mandate to focus on identifying, acquiring, and managing core-plus, value-add, and re-/development retail assets in prime locations on high streets in major markets across 20 countries in Europe. The majority of investments are intended for a long-term hold. Hines will be pursuing a range of value-added measures, including rental reviews, repositioning and re-leasing of units, store reconfiguration, and light refurbishments. In addition, major redevelopments, including conversions and ground-up developments, will be part of the investment strategy. Hines already acquired the first asset at the end of last year, with the purchase of an iconic building on Oslo’s Karl Johans gate (photo), the city’s premier high street and one of the most-sought after retail precincts in Norway. The 5,100-sq-m building has been secured as a sale and leaseback from Landkreditt Bank for €52 million. Norman Fackelmann, Department Head of Real Estate Investment Management at BVK, said, “As a business, we are committed to growing our exposure to the high-street retail market. It is a sector that offers attractive fundamentals and there are good opportunities to source value-add assets in strategic locations for long-term investing. Hines represents the perfect fit for executing this strategy, given its strong track record in asset-level value creation across a broad range of markets.” Lars Huber, senior managing director and co-CEO for Hines Europe, added: “This is a significant mandate for our European business from one of the world’s leading investors in real estate. It enables us to capitalize on our integrated business model and leverage our Pan-European platform to focus on value creation through active asset management, refurbishments, and redevelopment. As a business, Hines continues to evolve and diversify, and this instruction from BVK demonstrates our capabilities and strengths in the retail sector. We are delighted to have been awarded such a prestigious and significant mandate, and we look forward to building the portfolio for our client.”