Citicourt reveils plans to build £500-million portfolio (UK)

Citicourt Investment Partners this week unveiled an impressive acquisition strategy and revealed plans to build a £500-million (approx. €687m) portfolio by the end of 2008.

Citicourt is the low-key co-investment vehicle of seasoned investors Anthony Browne and John English and a network of wealthy Indian investors. It has returned to the market after disposing of more than £170 million (approx. €233m) of property between December 2005 and October 2006.

Browne, who is Chief Executive, said that Citicourt already has a pipeline of more than £180 million (approx. €247m) of deals either under contract or in solicitor's hands which it expects to complete by the end of June. This will bring its UK and European portfolio to around £350 million (approx. €480m).

The portfolio is roughly apportioned between UK and Europe on a 70/30 split in favour of the UK. Regional offices and retail predominate in the UK. In Europe, Citicourt is looking primarily for retail buys with the main thrust of its efforts concentrated in western Germany.

Recent UK acquisitions include the £27.3-million (approx. €37m) Admiral portfolio of five multilet offices which it bought from Greenhills at a net initial yield of 6.25%. It has also bought the £23.6-million (approx. €32m) St George portfolio of five industrial properties from Legal & General at a net initial yield of 6.1%.

Browne said: "The company has re-positioned itself for a period of aggressive growth – the management team is strengthened by the appointment of three new directors. In the UK, Neil Crockett has taken total responsibility for asset management and Joe Reidy has full control of UK sales and joint responsibility with me for UK acquisitions. Citicourt's German investment operation is headed by Mark Aylmer – we are in the process of recruiting additional asset managers."

Browne added: "We still have a strong belief in the UK market although this is underpinned by careful stock selection. We believe we can rapidly hit our growth targets because we have a reputation to perform to our word - this is being born out by present deal flow and the amount of repeat business we are being offered by agents."

Browne said that he had significant equity to deploy, in part supplied by his Indian Investors, but also from a newly built European Investor base operated out of Switzerland. "I now have more substantial equity capability than at any time in Citicourt's history" he said. His firepower is further enhanced by access to mezzanine finance supplied by Rothschild and DD2 Group.

Tudor Toone acted for the vendor on the Admiral portfolio and David Baroukh Associates advised Citicourt. DTZ advised on the sale of the St George portfolio and Barrs Freer-Smith acted for Citicourt.

Source: Citicourt

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