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Dutch manager Bouwinvest hails 'breakthrough' with external investors

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Bouwinvest – the real estate investment-management division of BpfBouw, the €53bn pension fund for the Dutch building sector – has made a “breakthrough” in its efforts to attract external investors. 

In its 2014 annual report, it confirmed that four more pension funds had committed a combined €122.5m to its €2.7bn Residential Fund, which focuses on high-end non-regulated rental housing.

Last year, Rabobank’s €20bn scheme invested €50m in the Residential Fund, which reported a 3.9% return on direct investments and a 1.2% return on indirect. 

Dick van Hal, director at Bouwinvest, which also received an AIFMD licence last year, said: “We are now reaping the benefits of our strategy of moving away from development activities and opening up investment to external players.”

Bouwinvest REIM posted an overall return of 8.8%, including currency effects due mainly to the appreciation of the US dollar against the euro.

It said committed investment currently stood at €1.1bn, with more than €600m in its Dutch portfolio and more than €500m in its fund for listed and non-listed international investments.

Over the course of 2014, its international portfolio increased to €2.4bn, returning 12.5%, excluding currency effects.

Investments in North America performed best, with returns of 17.3% and 23% on non-listed and listed real estate, respectively.

Property in Europe and Asia-Pacific returned 9.8% and 9%.

The company’s €565m Office Fund delivered 0.1%, despite a direct return of 5.7%, while its occupancy rate dropped slightly to 89.9%.

It reported a 1.8% profit for its €670m Retail Fund and said the occupancy rate rose to 94.4%.

Bouwinvest said the fund benefited from a “substantial” increase in Amsterdam retail assets’ value, and that it had invested €57m in the sector last year and was planning to upgrade several existing assets.

The €141m Hotel Fund, returning 6.5%, was the best-performing Dutch fund.

The Hotel Fund is exclusively managed for BpfBouw, for reasons of diversification.

The same goes for the new Healthcare Fund, which is expecting returns of approximately 7%, according to Van Hal.

He said the care sector had “enormous” growth potential as a consequence of ageing populations increasing demand for sheltered accommodation and quality care.

Currently, the Healthcare Fund is developing two projects worth €25m in total and preparing four new projects worth as much as €25m each.

BpfBouw has issued a €300m mandate for the care fund.

In its annual report, Bouwinvest said it lost 16.7% on holdings in building plots for 5,000 residential properties following “significant” write-offs.

It also confirmed that it had €700m worth of future deals in the pipeline.

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