Henderson Global Investors' UK Shopping Centre Fund has completed the acquisition of Australian insurer, AMP Life's £130 million stake in The Bullring, Birmingham. In exchange AMP has taken units in the fund, in order to increase its diversification to the UK shopping center market.
AMP Capital Investors believes there is strong demand from Australian institutional investors for high quality UK shopping centers and intends to use this investment in HSCF create a feeder fund to enable Australian investors to access the UK retail property market. AMP Capital Investors will be raising new equity as the Henderson UK Shopping Centre Fund grows.
This acquisition brings total assets in the fund to £580 million. Launched in July 2004 the Henderson Shopping Centre Fund is a total return driven sector specialist fund with a portfolio made up of participations in large dominant assets in major UK cities. These include a 33.18% stake in the Bullring in Birmingham, a 50% interest in both Buchanan Galleries, Glasgow, and Princes Quay, Hull, and an indirect investment in Bluewater and Touchwood, Solihull.
A development component to the fund, which is a Henderson specialism, seeks to add returns to investors. Earlier in October Henderson and Insight Investment submitted an outline planning application to Hull City Council for a major extension to Princes Quay Shopping Centre. The proposals are for a £300million retail-led development of approximately 550,000 ft², combining retail and leisure facilities with public squares and open spaces.
Myles White, fund manager, comments: "Having raised £270 million of new equity over the year, to establish a diverse investor base of 34 investors from UK and overseas, we are delighted with this transaction which continues the growth of the Fund. We hope soon to invest in further shopping centres in the UK."
"Historically it has been very difficult for investors to buy into this sector due to lack of stock, lot size, and specialist management required. At Henderson we are able to provide the depth of research and analysis, and have the investment process and fund management skills to really deliver value to investors. Bullring has all the attributes we are seeking in an asset, and is in our view the best shopping center in the UK. We are delighted to increase the Fund's share of it, and to have AMP as an investor."