Real Estate News
LaSalle takes 100% ownership of Hercules fund
21 Aug 2012
UK - LaSalle Investment Management has acquired British Land's share in the Hercules Income Fund, giving it 100% ownership of the retail warehouse specialist vehicle.
The 26.1% share of the £72m (€91.5m) fund was acquired on behalf of UK pension fund clients and will also give LaSalle full management control of its seven regional retail warehouses.
All the assets are let on long leases with combined annual rent of £4.7m. Its strategy to date has been to target modestly-sized retail parks worth between £3m and £25m.
Fund manager Chris Fry and his team are aiming to enhance the fund's returns by employing a value-added strategy on on 60% of the assets, which is likely to include diversifying of the tenant base, particularly in the area of non-food retailing for whcih the assets have received specific planning consent.
Tom Hill, who will manage the vehicle alongside Fry, said this would give the fund's assets "inherent value".
In a note to the market, British Land said a series of initiatives already undertaken had already increased annual rent on the assets by £1m.
British Land had not originally intended to sell its interest in the closed-ended fund, which is scheduled to expire in 2014 and could be extended with shareholder approval.
LaSalle, which has been invested in the fund for seven years, approached British Land with an offer after the UK property firm sold three secondary assets from the fund at the end of 2011 in a bid to make the portfolio "more asset-led".
Retail head Charles Maudsley said in a statement the sale would allow British Land to recycle capital "in line with our overall approach". The REIT focuses its portfolio on central London office and prime retail assets, including 89 remaining retail parks.
Author: Shayla Walmsley