ING Retail Property Fund Britannica, the UK shopping center fund managed by ING Real Estate Investment Management, has acquired Church Square Shopping Centre, St Helens from Analytical Properties Limited, a 50:50 joint venture between London & Associated Properties PLC and Bank of Scotland. The purchase price of approximately €103 million (£75 million) reflects an initial yield of 5.18% and an equivalent yield of 5.56% and takes the value of the Fund to over €830 million (£600 million). The transaction represents the Fund's first acquisition since launch in March 2005.
Church Square, which was originally developed in 1972 and most recently refurbished in 1991, is located 11 miles east of Liverpool and forms the dominant part of St Helen's prime retail core. The center is divided into two phases and comprises a total of 317,318 m² of retail space, including two multi-story car parks providing over 600 spaces. The center is anchored by Bhs and Boots and its tenant line up includes B&M Household, HMV, TopShop and River Island.
The center currently generates a net rental income of approximately €5.5 million (£4 million) per annum and offers good reversionary potential with a number of opportunities for ING Real Estate to apply its asset management skill to enhance the tenant mix. New equity for the acquisition has been raised from ING Britannica's existing investors, which include ABP, clients of Cushman & Wakefield Investors, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and KP.
ING Britannica was created to provide investors with exposure to a portfolio of town center shopping centers which offer opportunities for active asset management. The regionally diverse portfolio currently comprises the following assets: County Square, Ashford; The Strand, Bootle; The Gates, Durham; Rivergate, Irvine; Haymarket, Leicester; Town Square & The Spindles, Oldham; and the Swansgate, Wellingborough.
Aleks Hughes, Fund Manager, ING Retail Property Fund Britannica, commented: "The investment reinforces our existing portfolio and demonstrates further good progress for the Fund. ING Britannica has outperformed our expectations. It has produced a return of 31.7% in the 12 months to 30 June 2006. We are confident that this asset will enable us to build on these results as we move forward to deliver further growth for our investors."
CB Richard Ellis acted on behalf of ING Britannica and Donaldsons and Gooch Cunliffe Whale acted on behalf of Analytical Properties Ltd.
Source: ING Real Estate