Highlighting its commitment and aim to double French property AUM by 2015 Henderson Global Investors' 15 billion property business ('Henderson Property') has acquired Horizon Investment Management France SAS ('Horizon France'), a privately owned French asset management business.
Founded in 1998, Horizon France focuses on asset management in the business sectors of the French real estate market and comprises:
- advisory services for a 250 million Luxembourg closed-ended real estate fund; and
- seven asset management contracts to manage 25 properties.
As part of the acquisition, Henderson Property will take on six employees from Horizon France. Peter Winstanley's company Winstanley & Associes, which acts as President of Horizon France, will take on the role of President for Henderson Global Investors (France) SAS ('Henderson Property France'). Thibault Ancely, Country Head Director of Horizon France, will be appointed Head of Henderson Property France. This will enable the combined business to manage the existing assets and provide the skills and capacity to meet growth expectations.
The combined team of 13 persons at Henderson Property France will manage the transferring mandates. The two businesses complement each other as Horizon France's primary capability is in the business sector and Henderson Property France's primary expertise lies within the retail sector. The combination provides a balanced basis from which to target future growth within the French market.
Mike Sales, Chief Investment Officer and Managing Director of Henderson Property comments: "The acquisition is consistent with our proven strategy of acquiring or co-investing alongside and working with partners who can strengthen our position within a particular sector or geography. We are optimistic about the medium term outlook for the French property market and this acquisition represents a good opportunity to capitalize on the expected value shift in French property in the near term.
"We believe that the extended brand associated with the combined business will improve our ability to access stock, sources of new capital and provide stimulus to grow the Henderson Property business in France."
Commenting on the French real estate market Andy Schofield, Director of Research, Henderson Property, says: "As Europe's second largest economy, France has consistently been a favored destination for core real estate investors, a position exacerbated by the on-going sovereign risks associated with southern Europe.
"In a low growth environment, the defensive qualities of French commercial real estate, namely liquidity and transparency, are underpinned by the dominance of equity strong domestic investors. Demand for quality income from institutional and insurance firms, has further supported core valuations and robust performance forecasts.
"We think the best opportunities are to be found in centrally located offices in Paris where supply and demand is favorable for rental growth and in the retail sector where we would target large dominant assets such as shopping centers."
Peter Winstanley, previous shareholder of Horizon France said: "We are excited to be joining such a strong local team in France and to be part of a well-respected wider pan-European property platform."
Thibault Ancely, also a previous shareholder of Horizon France, added: "We look forward to combining our relationships and capabilities in order to seize market opportunities. Together, we have got the commitment and momentum to develop and drive forward the growth of the French business."
Horizon Investment Management's other European offices, in the UK and the Netherlands as well as its operations in Asia Pacific, are not included in the transaction. These will continue to be independently owned and managed.
Scott Morgan, Chairman of Horizon Investment Management, said: "We wish Peter and his team the very best for their future with Henderson. Horizon Investment Management will now continue to focus on its strengths in attracting and util