Metric Property Investments plc ("Metric" or the "Company"), a newly-incorporated UK specialist retail real estate investment trust ("REIT"), is pleased to announce its first acquisition following its successful £190 million flotation (227 million) on the London Stock Exchange in March 2010.
The retail park comprises 150,000 sq ft (13,935 m²) of retail space arranged across nine units let to a range of high quality tenants including B&Q, Smyths Toys, Carpetright, Next and Currys off a low average rental of £12.70 psf. The park has a restricted Open A1 planning consent and is currently 93% let by income with an average unexpired lease term of 14.3 years. Metric has also acquired an adjoining development site with outline planning consent for a 14,000 sq ft supermarket. Potential further top-up payments of £6.5 million will be due to the vendor once the vacant units have been let.
Newry is located just six miles from the border with the Republic of Ireland. It is a strong city from which retailers trade profitably. The park benefits from a loyal local retail catchment which is further supported by Euro shoppers who are attracted from the Republic.
Andrew Jones, Chief Executive of Metric, commented: "We have been rigorous in our investment strategy for Metric and are very excited to be announcing this as our first transaction. This acquisition satisfies the key investment criteria we set out at the time of the IPO, of acquiring well let retail investments off low rents and where our retail customers trade successfully. High occupier contentment is the key to growing rents and exploiting the arbitrage between current income and sustainable rents.
"The park is let off low rents to a high quality line-up of tenants where we believe that we can extract further value by leveraging our core asset management skills to increase income, develop out the vacant land as well as look to widen the existing planning consent and further improve the tenant mix."
Stephen Kirkpatrick, Chief Executive of Corbo which is the largest property company in Northern Ireland - commented: "We believe that this transaction demonstrates very clearly the high quality nature of Corbo's extensive retail property portfolio, which is supported by the fact that a purchaser of Metric's standing has chosen Damolly as its first investment. The transaction with Metric also further reinforces the increasing institutional nature of the Northern Ireland property market. This disposal forms part of Corbo's strategy of pursing growth opportunities from both within and outside its retail focused property portfolio."
Wilkinson Williams advised Metric Property Investments. Osborne King advised Corbo.
Source: Metric Property Investments plc