AXA Real Estate completes £20 million of sales on behalf of Friends Life (UK)

AXA Real Estate Investment Managers ("AXA Real Estate"), the leading real estate portfolio and asset manager in Europe*, with over €40 billion of assets under management as at June 2011, acting on behalf of its client, Friends Life Assurance Society Limited, has disposed of two properties with a total value of over £20 million (approx. €23 mln.). AXA Real Estate has sold 1-3 Sussex Place in Hammersmith, London, to The Notting Hill Housing Trust for £8.14 million as well as the De Vere Village hotel and health club in Walsall, Birmingham, to Earlsky Limited for £12.25 million, which reflects a net initial yield of 7%.

1-3 Sussex Place comprises Queen Caroline House, a prominent 28,000 ft² (2,600 m²)office property fronting the A4 Hammersmith Flyover. It also includes a redundant industrial property, as well as an advertising hoarding which delivers significant income, given its position on the main route from central London to Heathrow Airport and the M4 corridor.

The De Vere Village hotel and health club in Walsall is leased to the De Vere Group until November 2039 and the current rent is £910,867 per annum. The asset comprises a modern hotel of 125 rooms, totalling 67,360 ft² and a 30,000 ft² health and fitness center. It is well located, just nine miles from Birmingham and is in close proximity to a number of motorways.

James Owen, Senior Fund Manager at AXA Real Estate said: "The sale at Hammersmith enables us to take advantage of the current attractive market pricing for well located west London assets. We were also able to crystallise the value from our hotel investment which benefits from a strong covenant on a long lease. We will use the proceeds from the sale to help fund a programme of value adding refurbishment opportunities we have identified within the rest of the portfolio."

Capita Symonds and Colliers International acted for AXA Real Estate on Hammersmith and Knight Frank for the hotel disposal.

Source: FTI

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