Helical plc has sold its retirement villages portfolio to Legal & General for €114.4m (£102m). As part of the transaction, Helical has transferred the €51.6m (£46m) of debt secured against the portfolio to the purchaser and will receive 50% of the total net sale proceeds of €57.2m (£51m) on completion, with the remainder deferred for 12 months.
The portfolio comprises four retirement villages located at Liphook in Hampshire, Faygate in West Sussex, Exeter in Devon and Great Alne in Warwickshire. The villages are at varying stages of development but on completion, the four schemes will deliver 694 units in total.
The disposal represents the largest element of the Company’s non-core disposal programme and its sale will see a reduction in Helical’s overall level of Group debt with the net cash proceeds received used to repay borrowings and a reduction in LTV of circa 5%. The sale, at a discount of 13% to its book value of €131.3m (£117m), enables Helical to substantially complete its disposal strategy for non-core assets and will be reflected in the half year results for the period to 30 September 2017 to be announced tomorrow, the 15th November 2017. In the year to 31 March 2017, the retirement village portfolio generated pre-tax profits of €2.02m (£1.8m) before provisions against the stock of €5.9m (£5.3m), a net loss before tax of €3.9m (£3.5m).
Following this sale, non-core assets comprise just 4% of the Group’s total portfolio. The Group’s core focus remains on high-quality London and Manchester offices and the logistics sector.
Gerald Kaye, CEO of Helical, commented: “Whilst we have generated good profits in the past from our retirement village portfolio we firmly believe that now is the right time to sell our interests, reduce our gearing and focus solely on our core sectors where we expect to be able to generate stronger Shareholder returns in the future.”