Aberdeen Asset Management, exclusively advised by CBRE, has sold a prime retail portfolio to Belgian retail investor Bermaso, advised by Geproma.
The portfolio consists of two companies, Zilverpand NV and Aberdeen Balanced Belgium 1 BVBA (ABB1 BVBA), who respectively hold the long leasehold rights on the shopping complex Zilverpand in Bruges and the full ownership rights on four high street retail properties as their main asset.
Zilverpand was sold through an asset deal via the transfer of the leasehold on the shopping complex while ABB1 BVBA was sold through a share deal. It is one of the most important and high profile retail investment transactions in the Belgian property market this year.
Zilverpand is a shopping complex of 27 retail units in the center of Bruges, a UNESCO world heritage site. The 4,330 m² retail complex was fully renovated in 2004-2006. It has an occupancy rate of 89 % and counts retailers including Tommy Hilfiger, Bart Smit, McGregor, KBC, Pepe Jeans, Planet Parfum and Ulla Popken as tenants.
The second part of the portfolio consists of four excellent quality and ideally located high street retail properties let to leading Belgian retailers: Grand Optical (Huidevetterstraat, Antwerp), R95th (Groendalstraat, Antwerp), Caroline Biss (Lange Steenstraat, Kortrijk) and River Woods (Antwerpsestraat, Lier).
In recent years, retail investments have become increasingly popular both amongst private and institutional investors in Belgium. Retail outperformed all other property segments in Belgium in terms of investment volume with close to €600 million invested in 2012 whereof EUR 158.5 million invested in high street retail. Qualitative investment products, such as a shopping complex and high street units, remain rare which helped contribute to the fast speed of closing the transaction.